What are the disability laws in the United States

US Embassy and Consulates in

WASHINGTON - (AD) - We are publishing below an information sheet from the Office of International Information Programs on the Equality Act for Americans with Disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act - ADA) dated June 28, 2012.

Equal access and opportunities

The Disability Equality Act was passed by Congress in 1990 and signed by President George W. Bush to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities, just as existing civil rights laws prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, or gender.

The ADA prohibits corporate and government discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, in the workplace, in the supply of goods and services, including transportation, public housing, and telecommunications.

"The ADA guarantees that all Americans have equal access and opportunities, including Americans with disabilities," said President Obama. "The ADA was about independence and the freedom to live our lives as we want."


Which employers are covered by the ADA?

Private companies, government agencies, employment agencies and trade unions with 15 or more employees.

What employment practices are covered by the law?

All employment practices, including hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, training, recruiting, posting, permanent employment, time off, and vacation and benefit entitlements.

Who is protected from employment discrimination?

The ADA is applicable to persons whose disabilities “severely limit central activities of daily living” such as the ability to take care of themselves, perform manual tasks, see, hear, eat, sleep, walk, too stand, sit, grasp, lift, bend, speak, breathe, learn, read, concentrate, think, communicate, interact with others, and work.

These include people who have lost limbs, paralyzed people, people infected with HIV, epileptics, people with AIDS, significant auditory or visual impairments, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, severe depression, bipolar disorders or specific learning disabilities. People who suffer from the effects of a past disability, such as former cancer patients, are also protected.

What obligations do employers have under the ADA?

Employers can choose the most qualified applicant for a job regardless of disability. If the most qualified applicant has a disability, the employer must consider whether that person can do the job after “reasonable adjustment”.

What are reasonable adaptation measures?

These are changes in the work environment or work tasks that enable a disabled person to do the job and enjoy the same rights and privileges as other employees. Some examples:

Removal of barriers created by stairs and narrow doors, inaccessible parking spaces or toilets.

  • Provision of transportation
  • Restructuring of jobs
  • Redistribution of tasks
  • Redesign of work plans
  • Change of workplace guidelines
  • Acquisition or modification of equipment
  • Provision of qualified interpreters or readers

What happens if an employer cannot implement reasonable adaptation measures?

An employee is not obliged to take special adjustment measures if these would mean “undue hardship” for the company. Undue hardship means "serious difficulty or expense" with the size, resources, nature and structure of the business. A large business may be required to make arrangements that require greater effort or expense than a small business requires.

What is the cost of such arrangements?

More than half of the usual adaptation measures do not result in any costs for the employer. For example, a typical one-time expense for an adjustment would be $ 600.

What do shops, hotels, restaurants, educational and care institutions have to do according to the ADA?

New buildings for public accommodation and commercial facilities must be made accessible to people with disabilities. Similar requirements apply to renovations. Whether it is necessary to remove architectural obstacles from existing buildings depends on whether the changes can be “easily implemented and implemented without great difficulty or cost”. A large company might be expected to make some structural adjustments, while small companies could be expected to do so. Here are some examples of inexpensive, simple steps:

  • Installation of a ramp for wheelchair users
  • Attachment of grab bars on the toilets
  • Lower attachment of towel dispensers
  • Moving furniture
  • Widening of doors
  • Creation of more accessible parking spaces

What are the requirements of the ADA for buses in local transport?

Guidelines stipulate that new public local public transport buses with a fixed route must be easily accessible, for example by a wheelchair lift. Additional services such as specially equipped minibuses must be made available for people with disabilities who cannot use the public bus routes.

How are telecommunications services made accessible through the ADA?

The ADA requires users of various telecommunication devices, such as the deaf, to have relay services.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was the first human rights treaty to be adopted in the 21st century. It uniquely recognizes the dignity of people with disabilities and aims to ensure that they enjoy the same rights and opportunities as all people.

The UN General Assembly adopted the convention in December 2006. It entered into force in May 2008 after 20 countries had ratified it. The Convention provides that the states that ratify it enact laws and other measures that guarantee the rights of people with disabilities and abolish discriminatory laws, customs and practices. It also recognizes the additional challenges faced by women and children with disabilities.

The convention describes the rights of people with disabilities to education, health, employment, adequate living conditions, freedom of movement, freedom from exploitation and exploitation, and equality before the law.

A guiding principle is “full and effective participation and inclusion in society.” People with disabilities should have equal access to transport, information and communication technology, their environment and other facilities and services available to the general public . You have the right to lead an independent life, to choose and to participate in other ways in public and political life, as well as in culture, sport and recreation.

As of June 22, 2012, 153 states have signed the convention. 115 countries have ratified it. An optional protocol to the convention has been signed by 90 states and ratified by 65. For the most current information and the convention, see: http://www.un.org/disabilities

People with disabilities in the workplace

Walgreens, a US drugstore chain, plans to fill 20 percent of the jobs in its delivery centers with people with disabilities, including people who have autism, Down syndrome, or are deaf or blind. In sales, the target is ten percent of newly hired employees.

In 2007, the company began equipping its delivery centers with new technologies, including flexible workstations with touchscreens. They make work easier for employees with and without disabilities. The company soon realized that many people with disabilities didn't need simpler technology. Since then, Walgreens has applied these recruitment goals in all distribution centers and, more recently, in its 7,700 stores.

Walgreens works with professional reintegration institutions, nonprofits, and schools that train people with disabilities so that they can succeed in working life and be placed in good jobs.

Walgreens trains managers and non-disabled workers to work with people with disabilities. The company respects the dignity of all employees by insisting that everyone do the same work for the same pay, regardless of disability.

Randy Lewis, a vice president at Walgreens, said all of the company's distribution centers employ people with disabilities and all centers are exceeding productivity targets that are set for them.

“A lot of people don't believe that workers with disabilities can do quality work under pressure,” says Lewis. "At Walgreens we have clear evidence to the contrary."

Original text: Americans with Disabilities Act


Of America Service | February 6, 2013 | Categories: America Service

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