If you are a person with a disability, you have likely experienced some form of discrimination in your life. Oftentimes, this discrimination stems from other people’s misunderstanding of a mental or physical disability. In addition, they might assume that you have certain limitations, some of which might not even be true.
Disability discrimination can occur in many different forms. It can be obvious, for example in many workplace or education situations. Or, it can be more subtle, such as entities not being equipped with proper handicap resources for you.
So, if you are a person with a disability and you have experienced discrimination, that discrimination might be the result of a law violation. You can learn more about common disability discrimination situations here.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
In 1990, the United States passed an act meant to protect citizens with disabilities from discrimination. This was the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). This act offered similar protection to those with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did for other minorities. In addition, this act has five titles that protect those with disabilities from different types of discrimination. I will discuss these titles in more detail here.
The first title relates to employment discrimination for those with disabilities. The ADA claims that if a person with a disability is qualified, they should not be discriminated against in the workplace. This applies to things such as:
- The hiring process.
- The procedure for job application.
- Advancement to a better position in the company.
- Dismissal from job.
- Job training.
- Employment privileges.
This applies to “covered entities,” which includes all companies with 15 or more employees, labor organizations, labor management committees, and employment agencies.
If you have faced discrimination at work and your company is a covered entity, seek protection under the ADA.
Title II applies to public entities, including public transportation. This includes local level public entities, such as:
- School districts.
- Local and state public housing.
- Housing referrals.
- Housing assistance.
All of these places have to provide the physical access set out in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. This might include handicap ramps, handrails, handicap bathrooms, etc. You can reference the Standards for Accessible Design for more information.
Title III refers to your rights as a consumer. This title claims that a person can’t face discrimination because of their disability in certain situations. Included are that person’s right to enjoyment of facilities, goods, services, and accommodations without discrimination by another person who leases, owns, or operates that place. This includes places such as:
- Places of recreation.
- Dining places.
- Care providers.
In addition, under Title III, any new construction has to comply with ADA Accessibility Guidelines. Old buildings also need to fulfill certain requirements outlined by the ADA.
Title III also protects service animals. Under this title, businesses can’t bar service animals from their establishments. A person with a disability can’t be removed from a business because of their service dog except in two situations. The first is if the owner of the animal can’t get control of it. The other is if the animal is a threat to other people in the establishment.
Titles IV and V
Title IV acts as an amendment to the Communications Act of 1934. In addition, this amendment states that telecommunications companies have to allow functionality for people with disabilities. This is especially pertinent for people with hearing or vision disabilities.
Title V applies to various miscellaneous necessities to prevent disability discrimination.