[Home]Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

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The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 is the short title of [U.S. Public Law 101-336], signed into law on July 26, 1990. It is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability?. It affords similar protections against discrimination to the disabled as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics illegal.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, commonly referred to as the ADA, consists of three introductory sections and five titles:

Some complain that the ADA has made little progress in eliminating such discrimination because it is primarily complaint-driven. That is, individuals must make complaints of discrimination under the act to the person or agency charged with handling such complaints, only after which the agency may take action. Each title of the act created an agency to handle such complaints, ranging from bodies of the federal executive branch to local civil rights enforcement agencies. Further, individuals under each title have the "private right of action"; that is, the right to privately sue the alleged discriminating person or body. Many of these lawsuits have helped to clarify provisions of the act by forcing courts to interpret the law for specific cases, creating a body of legal precedent.

(Link to some of the big legal cases would be good here).

I fully intend to summarize each section and provide a number of cases that are important to the implementation of this act. For this reason, I removed the remarks about public accommodations, which are only a small part of this act, but the most visible. Further, public accomodation has to be defined and this is not that simple. I ask that everyone be patient, or base their entries on the act itself and other "ADA" documents. The most important recent case, here, is one decided this year, that, incredibly enough, the Supreme Court, by one vote, found that the states immune from lawsuits against them under the ADA. This means that if a state facility is inaccessible to a job applicant and he cannot work there, he cannot sue on the grounds of discrimination. If the same thing happened at a city faility, or even, your public library, that would be grounds for a suit. That was one step backward, that was provided by the courts. They may be forced to act, but not necessarily in everyone's best interest.

I added the link to the law itself, but if you intend (as seems apparent) to wikify the whole text of the law that would of course be much better. The public accommodations part may be a "small part" (by some measure) of the law, but it is indeed very visible and often talked about, and should be prominently mentioned in the article for precisely that reason; perhaps saying exactly that would be best, e.g., "a small but controversial part of the law..." etc. I will "be patient" as you suggest and let you finish before commenting further.

I share your revulsion at the very concept of "sovereign immunity" on which the decision you mention was based. It has led to many greater injustices than discrimination as well.

I am not entering the entire law here. It is available on line. I am trying rather to summarzie the 5 titles and later offer the most important or controversial decsions that have resulted from lawsuits, orders by the doj, eeoc, etc., under each title. Also, I intend to put up a page on how to make an ADA complaint, which is much easier than most people think. I am actually working from paper copies of all relevant laws which I have had for, well, 10 years, including The Fair Housing Act, the Rehabilitation Act, etc. Since 1990, bodies like the Architextural Guidelines Board have been established. Their regulations take up many books, are quite technical, and probably not of interest to the average reader. They can simply be linked to, as I believe they are online too.

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Last edited December 1, 2001 12:59 am by 200.191.188.xxx (diff)