Americans With Disabilities Act
This is information on the Americans with Disabilities Act which is
referred to as "the ADA". The ADA was passed by Congress in 1990, but
most of its provisions did not go into effect until 1992. It provides
legal protection for persons with disabilities. The ADA guarantees equal
opportunity and requires reasonable accommodations for individuals with
disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state
and local government services, and telecommunications. There is also a
state law, called the Illinois Human Rights Act, and a city law, called
the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance, which provide legal protection for
people with disabilities in employment and public accommodations. To
learn how to file a charge under the Illinois Human Rights Act, you can
call the Illinois Department of Human Rights at 312-814-6200. For
information about filing a complaint under the Chicago Human Rights
Ordinance, you can call the Chicago Commission on Human Relations at
312-744-4111. Unless otherwise specified, the nformation which follows
is about the ADA.
Under the ADA, employers must reasonably accommodate the disabilities
of qualified applicants or employees, unless the employer can show that
it would cause undue hardship or present a direct threat to the health
or safety of the disabled employee or co-workers. Employers may not
discriminate against an individual with a disability in hiring or
promotion if the person can perform the essential functions of the job
with or without reasonable accommodation by the employer. After July 26,
1992, employers with 25 or more employees are covered by the ADA; and
after July 26, 1994, employers with 15 or more employees.
Public Accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors'
and lawyers' offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries,
parks, private schools, and day care centers may not discriminate on the
basis of disability, effective January 26, 1992. The ADA requires
physical and communication barriers to be removed if readily achievable
and not an undue hardship. All new construction of public accommodations
must be made accessible with a few narrow exceptions. One exception
allows some newly constructed facilities, if they are less than three
stories, not to have elevators.
All new rapid transit buses and new bus stations must be accessible
to disabled people. Transit authorities must provide an alternative
transportation service to individuals who cannot use fixed route bus
services, unless an undue burden would result. The ADA also requires
existing rail systems and key rapid transit stations to be made
accessible within specified periods. New and existing rail systems and
rail stations must be accessible within future specified dates.
State or local governments may not discriminate against qualified
individuals with disabilities. All government facilities, services, and
communications must be accessible according to the requirements of
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Companies offering telephone services to the general public must
offer telephone relay services to individuals who use telecommunications
devices for the deaf (TDD's) or similar devices.