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Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990

The ADA recognizes and protects the civil rights of people with disabilities and is modeled after earlier landmark laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race and gender. It was signed into law by George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The ADA covers a wide range of disability, from physical conditions affecting mobility, stamina, sight, hearing, and speech to conditions such as emotional illness and learning disorders. The ADA addresses access to:

  • the workplace (title I)

  • state and local government services (title II)

  • places of public accommodation and commercial facilities (title III)

  • telecommunications for people who have hearing or speech impairments through telecommunications relay services (title IV)

It also includes miscellaneous instructions to Federal agencies that enforce the law (title V). Regulations issued under the different titles by various Federal agencies set requirements and establish enforcement procedures. To understand and comply with the ADA, it is important to follow the appropriate regulations.

Under titles II and III of the ADA, the U.S. Access Board develops and maintains accessibility guidelines for buildings, facilities, and transit vehicles and provides technical assistance and training on these guidelines. The ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) serve as the basis of standards issued by the departments of Justice (DOJ) and Transportation (DOT) to enforce the law. The building guidelines cover places of public accommodation, commercial facilities, and State and local government facilities. The vehicle guidelines address buses, vans, a variety of rail vehicles, trams, and other modes of public transportation. Regulations issued by DOJ and DOT contain standards based on ADAAG and also provide important information on which buildings and facilities are subject to the standards. It is important that the regulations be used along with the design standards they contain or reference.

Click here to read the ADA to include the ADA Amendments Act of 2008

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