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Enactment and effective date. The ADA is a civil rights law that was enacted on July 26, 1990. Why was the ADA needed?. Think back to the year 1990. What was life like for people with disabilities? Hint- Think about the following areas: transportation? employment? discrimination?

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enactment and effective date

Enactment and effective date

The ADA is a civil rights law that was enacted on July 26, 1990.

Why was the ADA needed?
  • Think back to the year 1990. What was life like for people with disabilities?
  • Hint- Think about the following areas:
    • transportation?
    • employment?
    • discrimination?
    • access?
    • communication?
the americans with disabilities act
The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Title I: Employment
  • Title II: Public Services
  • Title III: Public Accommodations
  • Title IV: Telecommunications
  • Title V: Miscellaneous
Key Disability Legislation
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act of 1975
  • Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
disability rights law an overview
Disability Rights Law An Overview

Legal and Political roots of the ADA are deep in the Civil Rights era of the 1960s

architectural barriers act of 1968
Architectural Barriers Act of 1968
  • Requires certain federally financed buildings be designed and constructed to be accessible
  • This is the cornerstone of later efforts to guarantee access in federally funded facilities
ada fact
ADA Fact

In 1990, Congress estimated 43 million Americans had one or more physical or mental disabilities.

In the mid-90s that figure was revised to 49 million Americans.

Today the estimate is in excess of 51 million

scope of the ada
Scope of the ADA
  • The scope is broad. The rights that are protected are parallel to those protected for women and racial, ethnic and religious minorities.
scope of ada
Scope of ADA

In employment, the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in public and private sector employment.

This includes a requirement that those employers covered under the Act make “reasonable accommodations.”

title i employment

Title I- Employment

Title I of the ADA prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment by businesses having 15 or more employees, or by State and local governments.

ada fact iowa

ADA Fact - Iowa

Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment by businesses having 4 or more employees, not 15

title i

Title I

Title I, with respect to private employers, is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

definition of disability
Definition of Disability
  • Is based on the definition under the Rehabilitation Act. It reflects the specific type of discrimination experienced by people with disabilities.
definition of disability14
Definition of Disability
  • It is not the same as the definition in other laws such as:
    • Worker’s Compensation
    • Social Security
    • Disabled Veterans
three prongs of the definition
Three Prongs of the Definition
  • Person with a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities
  • Person with a record of such a physical or mental impairment
  • Person who is regarded as having such an impairment
  • An entity may not discriminate against individual or entities because of their relationship with a person with a disability
retaliation or coercion
Retaliation or Coercion
  • Retaliation or coercion is prohibited under the ADA
physical impairments
Physical Impairments

Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin and endocrine. (This list is non-exhaustive)

mental impairment
Mental Impairment

Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. (This list is non-exhaustive)

first prong

First prong:

Having a disability that substantially limits a major life activity

substantially limits
Substantially Limits
  • Means the major life activity is restricted as to the conditions, manner or duration under which it can be performed in comparison to most people.
three factors to consider
Three factors to consider
  • The nature and severity of the condition;
  • How long it will last or is expected to last; and
  • Its permanent or long term impact, or expected impact.
combination of impairments
Combination of Impairments
  • An individual may have two or more impairments, neither of which alone constitute a disability, but taken together may be considered disabling.
temporary impairments
Temporary Impairments
  • May or may not be disabilities.
  • The question is answered by looking at the extent, duration, and impact of the impairment.
major life activities include
Caring for oneself

Performing manual tasks








Major life activities include:
case law around the country has included the following in the list of major life activities





Using stairs


Attending school

Sexual activities



Interacting with others




Case law around the country has included the following in the list of major life activities:
sutton v united airlines
Sutton v. United Airlines
  • Court considered whether impairment should be evaluated with regard to mitigating measures or treatment.
  • Twin female regional airline pilots with myopia sued UAL for not hiring them for their uncorrected vision.
sutton v united airlines cont
Sutton v. United Airlines (cont.)
  • Court ruled that ADA requires a present substantial limitation. If corrected, no substantial limitation of major life activity.
  • Individualized inquiry. Look at the effect of the impairment.
  • Also look at the negative as well as the positive effects from treatments or mitigating measures.
ada fact30

ADA Fact

Substantial limitation is assessed with regard to mitigating measures.

second prong

Second prong:

A record of having a disability

for example
For example
  • A history of mental illness
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • An incorrect classification such as mental retardation
third prong

Third prong

Regarded as having a disability

in other words
In other words
  • A person who is not substantially limited but is treated as such
  • A person whose substantial limitation is only the result of the attitudes of others
  • Someone who has no impairment but is treated as such
what does substantial limitation mean
What does substantial limitation mean?
  • A person with a substantial limitation is unable to perform a major life activity that a person in the general population could perform
  • A person is restricted in the condition, manner or duration that the average person can perform the same major life activity
  • A person who currently illegally uses drugs is not protected by the ADA when the covered entity acts on the basis of such use alone.
  • However, an individual who is engaged in or has completed drug rehabilitation and is no longer using drugs is protected under the ADA.
some important distinctions
Some important distinctions
  • The use of a drug must be illegal to be exempt from the definition of disability not the substance itself.
  • Addiction is covered under the definition of disability but not current illegal use.
  • If a person was addicted in the past or is perceived as addicted they would be covered.
  • Casual users in the past are not covered.
what about alcoholism

What about alcoholism?

People who abuse alcohol are considered disabled even if they are currently using. A person who is an alcoholic is considered a person with a disability under the ADA.

  • Homosexuality and Bisexuality;
  • Transvestitism, transsexuals, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physician impairments, or other sexual behavioral disorders;
  • Compulsive gambling, kleptomania, or pyromania; or
  • Psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from current illegal use of drugs.
title i of the ada
Title I of the ADA
  • Employment Issues
qualified individual
Qualified Individual
  • Individual who satisfies the requisite work, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the employment position such individual holds or desires, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation can perform the essential functions of such position.
steps to determine whether an individual is qualified
Steps to Determine Whether an Individual is Qualified
  • Determine if the individual meets the necessary prerequisites for the job; and
  • Determine if the individual can perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation.
essential functions
Essential Functions
  • The ADA requires that the employer focus on the essential functions of a job to determine whether a person with a disability is qualified.
reasonable accommodations

Reasonable accommodations

Employers must make reasonable accommodations to known physical or mental limitations of a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would be an undue hardship

definition of reasonable accommodation
Definition of Reasonable Accommodation
  • Any modification or adjustment to a job, an employment practice, or the work environment that makes it possible for an individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity.
required in three areas
Required in three areas
  • Ensure equal opportunity in application process;
  • Enable qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of a job; and
  • To enable an employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.
prohibits discrimination in any other terms conditions and privileges of employment including

Prohibits discrimination in any other terms, conditions and privileges of employment including:


Hiring, promotion, tenure;

Rates of pay;

Job assignments;


Training and development;

social activities or any other term privilege or condition of employment

Social activities; or

Any other term, privilege or condition of employment.

reasonable accommodation
Reasonable Accommodation
  • Required in three areas
    • To ensure equal opportunity in the application process;
    • To enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of a job; and
    • To enable an employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment
what are some forms of reasonable accommodation

What are some forms of reasonable accommodation?

Job restructuring

Modifying work schedules

Making facilities accessible

Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices

Hiring readers, interpreters and assistants

Reassignment to a vacant position

do i have to hire an applicant with a disability even if they are not qualified

Do I have to hire an applicant with a disability even if they are not qualified?

No. A qualified individual with a disability is one who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position and can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

ada fact52

ADA Fact

Personal items are generally not required as forms of reasonable accommodation.

let s talk about undue hardship

Let’s talk about undue hardship.

It is the responsibility of the employer to provide a reasonable accommodation unless it would be an undue hardship.

Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense, extensive, substantial disruption or something that would fundamentally alter the nature of employment.

essential job functions
Essential Job Functions
  • These are the fundamental job duties of the employment position. They do not include marginal functions.
essential job functions questions to ask
Essential Job FunctionsQuestions to Ask
  • Are other employees in the position actually required to perform the function?
  • Would removing that function fundamentally change the job?
  • Does the position exist to perform the function?
questions con t
Questions – Con’t
  • What is the number of other employees available to perform the function, or among whom the function can be distributed?
  • What is the degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function?
evidence to look for
Evidence to look for:
  • Employer’s judgment as to what is essential
  • Written job description
  • Amount of time spent on the task
  • Terms of a bargaining agreement
  • Consequences of not performing the task
  • Work experience of current or former incumbents
determining essential function
Determining Essential Function
  • Focus on the purpose of the function and the result to be accomplished rather than on the manner in which the function presently is performed
recruitment and hiring
Recruitment and Hiring
  • ADA does not require employers to undertake special activities to recruit people with disabilities
  • However, recruitment activities that tend to “screen” out individuals with disabilities may violate the ADA
recruitment and hiring60
Recruitment and Hiring
  • Pre-offer inquiries about a disability, or about the nature of severity of a disability on an application, forms in a job interview, or in background or reference checks are a problem under the ADA.
pre employment testing
Pre-Employment Testing
  • ADA has two requirements in relation to tests:

1. If a test screens out or tends to screen out an individual with a disability or a class of such individuals on the basis of a disability, it must be job-related and consistent with a business necessity; and

2. There must be accommodations in administering testing.

This applies to all kinds of tests, including but not limited to: aptitude tests, tests of knowledge and skill, intelligence tests, agility tests, and job demonstrations.

medical examinations
Medical Examinations
  • An employer may not make medical inquiries or conduct a medical examination until after a job offer has been made.
  • A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical exam or inquiry only if it is required for all entering employees in similar positions.
medical examinations63
Medical Examinations
  • The employer may make a job offer conditional on the satisfactory outcome of a medical exam or inquiry providing that the employer requires such exam for all entering employees in a particular job category, not just the individual with the disability, or those whom the employer believes may have a disability.
what about safety issues

What about safety issues?

An employer may require that an individual not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others.

conditional job offer
Conditional Job Offer
  • If a conditional offer is withdrawn, employer must show:

1.Reasons for the exclusion are job-related and consistent with business necessity, or that the person is being excluded to avoid a “direct threat;” and that

2. No reasonable accommodation was available that would enable this person to perform the essential job functions without significant risk to health or safety, or that such an accommodation would cause undue hardship.

post employment medical exams
Post-employment Medical Exams
  • Must be job-related and justified by business necessity.
  • May be conducted when there is evidence of a job performance or safety problem.
  • May conduct to determine “fitness” to perform a particular job.
  • May perform voluntary exams that are part of employee health programs.
results of medical exams
Results of Medical Exams
  • All information gathered must be collected and maintained on separate forms, in separate medical files and must be treated as a confidential medical record, not put in the employee’s personal file.
enforcement of title i

Enforcement of Title I

File a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

File a private lawsuit

Take the complaint to dispute resolution

  • An employer or other covered entity may not limit, segregate or classify an individual with a disability, on the basis of the disability, in a manner that adversely affects the individual’s employment.
ada on the web
ADA on the Web
  • DOJ
    • www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahome1.htm
  • EEOC
    • www.eeoc.gov
  • Access Board
    • www.access-board.gov
  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
    • www.jan.wvu.edu
ada technical assistance
ADA Technical Assistance

Access Board

  • Technical Assistance 800-872-2253

Department of Justice

  • Technical Assistance 800-514-0301

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

  • Technical Assistance 800-669-4000
  • Publications 800-669-3362
iowa civil rights commission
Iowa Civil Rights Commission

Grimes State Office Building

400 E. 14th Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50319



FAX 515-242-5840