When people talk about ADA, they often think that this particular act only covers signs and accessibility issues. While a lot of what this act states does indeed provide for these issues, the Americans with Disabilities Act actually does more than that. It helps make sure that the civil rights of people with disabilities are protected and that they are given equal opportunities as with people who do not have disabilities.

In a nutshell, the ADA is an act that actually prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities. It is similar to the 1964 Civil Rights Act since it gives people with disabilities a similar kind of protection. While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a law that prohibits discrimination based on a person’s race, age, sex, religion and many more, the ADA is a law that prohibits discrimination against anyone who is disabled.

To define disabled, the ADA states that it is “a mental or physical impairment that considerably restricts major life activity”. Determining whether a person has a disability or not, is often done with the help of assessments that are done individually or on a case to case basis. There are conditions that are not considered disabilities that can be covered by this act, like vision impairments that can be corrected with prescription lens or substance abuse problems.

This law is divided into 5 major titles. The first title covers employment and helps ensure that people who have disabilities shall and will be given the same rights as every other American when it comes to work offered by covered entities. This means that they shall not be discriminated against when it comes to job application procedures, promotions, hiring, worker’s compensation, training and other privileges of employment.

Other titles in this act cover the following:

  • Title II – Prohibits discrimination by public entities as well as public transportation. This includes schools, public housing, housing assistance and municipal/city/county entities.
  • Title III – Prohibits discrimination of people with disabilities when it comes to commercial facilities and public accommodations. This includes lodging places like hotels and inns, recreational facilities, educational institutions, stores, restaurants and more.
  • Title IV – Telecommunications companies are required to provide functionally equivalent services to those who have disabilities, particularly those who have hearing and speech impairments.

Title V – This particular title, or the miscellaneous provisions title, helps protect those who try to exercise their rights under this particular law from coercion or retaliation.