Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law, signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush, that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. This law is part of labor law and more precisely disability law. The ADA is divided in three titles: the first one concerns employment, the second one concerns state and local government, and the third one refers to public accommodations and commercial facilities. More generally, the ADA sets out rules that prohibits discrimination in all areas of public life. The aim of the ADA is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

The ADA was established after people with disabilities began to challenge the societal barriers that lead them to be excluded from society because of their disabilities, and when parents of children with disabilities started fighting against the exclusion of their children. The ADA sets rules to guarantee that people with disabilities enjoy the same guarantees as everyone else in terms of employee rights, but also establish rules regarding employer’s responsibilities. The ADA also includes rules protecting job seekers who are disabled by setting rules relating to the hiring of people with disabilities and to their job search process. Moreover, the ADA addresses job accommodations for people with disabilities.

[Last updated in November of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]