News You Can Use – Understanding the American Disabilities Act
Understanding ADA Rights
by: McKenzie Hamby
What is the ADA?
The ADA stands for The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and it became law in 1990. This is a civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities against discrimination in public areas, including schools, jobs and transportation.
The United Spinal Organization defines someone with a disability as:
“…disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, such as walking, seeing, hearing, learning, breathing, caring for oneself, or working.”
The main goal of this law is to make sure that disabled adults have equal opportunities as other citizens. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities, which is similar to the rights given to people of a different race or religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public settings such as employment, transportation and state and local government.
Around 54 million Americans are protected by these rights. Even though the ADA does not supply a list of disabilities that they cover, here are some examples of which ones they do:
Spinal cord injury
HIV infection and AIDS
Organic brain disorder
Business must comply with these laws by providing more accessible ways around the workplace that make people with disabilities more comfortable. Some ways they do this is by building ramps, widening doorway and making places more wheelchair accessible. Public transportation systems also must make their vehicles accessible to people with disabilities by providing complementary paratransit, which is a special transportation service for disabled Americans.
Understanding ADA rights can help you or your loved ones if they are affected by public discrimination. Knowing your rights can make every day life much easier to navigate.