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Disability Laws

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is the most important of the various disability laws in the US. It safeguards the rights of individuals with disabilities and prohibits discrimination against them when seeking employment, housing, education or public services. The ADA defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual; a record of such impairment; being regarded as having such an impairment.” Though the ADA does not list all the impairments it covers, alcoholism is included under disability.

As per the ADA, certain moderate accommodations should be made to ensure equal opportunities to individuals with disabilities. There are separate sections of the ADA to address private employment and state and local government employment. The ADA also requires public transportation services to comply with accessibility specifications in its vehicles. They are also required to provide paratransit on fixed route bus or rail systems. The section of this disability law which deals with public accommodations applies to those who own, lease, lease to or operate facilities including restaurants, retail stores, hotels, transportation depots and recreation facilities. This also goes for the venues which offer courses or examinations.

The telecommunications segment of the ADA requires telephone carriers to enable callers with hearing and speech disabilities to communicate efficiently and effectively. Other statutes that serve a similar purpose under disability laws include the Fair Housing Act, Rehabilitation Act, Air Carrier Access Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Another legislation, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act authorizes the US Attorney General to investigate the conditions at State and local government institutions such as prisons, jails, publicly operated nursing homes and mental health institutions. If you have a disability and feel that you have been discriminated against due to that then remember that there are all these disability laws and more that protect your rights and assure you of justice should any injustice occur.

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