Methuen Access

Methuen Access

On July 26, 1990, George W. Bush signed into law The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law is far-reaching and prohibits those with disabilities to be discriminated against.

The Act is divided into four main sections, called Titles. Each Title addresses specific instances of how the law applies.

Title I – Employment
  • Helps people with disabilities access the same employment opportunities and benefits available to people without disabilities.
  • Applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
  • Requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees. A “reasonable accommodation” is a change that accommodates employees with disabilities so they can do the job without causing the employer “undue hardship” (too much difficulty or expense).
  • Defines disability, establishes guidelines for the reasonable accommodation process, and addresses medical examinations and inquiries.
  • Regulated and enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(link is external)

Title II – Public Services: State and Local Government

  • Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by “public entities” such as state and local government agencies. .
  • Requires public entities to make their programs, services, and activities accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • Outlines requirements for self-evaluation and planning; making reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures where necessary to avoid discrimination; identifying architectural barriers; and communicating effectively with people with hearing, vision and speech disabilities.
  • Regulated and enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice(link is external).

Title III – Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities

  • Prohibits places of public accommodation from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Public accommodations include privately owned, leased or operated facilities like hotels, restaurants, retail merchants, doctor’s offices, golf courses, private schools, daycare centers, health clubs, sports stadiums, movie theaters, and so on.
  • Sets the minimum standards for accessibility for alterations and new construction of commercial facilities and privately owned public accommodations. It also requires public accommodations to remove barriers in existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense.
  • Directs businesses to make “reasonable modifications” to their usual ways of doing things when serving people with disabilities.
  • Requires that businesses take steps necessary to communicate effectively with customers with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities.
  • Regulated and enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice(link is external).

Title IV – Telecommunications

  • Requires telephone and Internet companies to provide a nationwide system of interstate and intrastate telecommunications relay services that allows individuals with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate over the telephone.
  • Requires closed captioning of federally funded public service announcements.
  • Regulated by the Federal Communication Commission(link is external).

Title V – Miscellaneous Provisions

  • Contains a variety of provisions relating to the ADA as a whole, including its relationship to other laws, state immunity, its impact on insurance providers and benefits, the prohibition against retaliation and coercion, illegal use of drugs, and attorney’s fees.
  • Provides a list of certain conditions that are not considered disabilities.
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