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History of The Americans with Disabilities Act

History and information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

America is a country which boasts of its freedom and equality for all.  We are a people, accepting of people of all races, nationalities and abilities.  Proof of American’s good will towards all, without equivocation is provided by the 31st president who was elected to office, Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Roosevelt suffered from paralysis due to poliomyelitis, which left him wheelchair bound in 1921.  Despite the inability to use his legs, Roosevelt was elected President and holds a high historical reputation.  America, in attempts to continue leading the country in a gesture of acceptance of all who are disabled, particularly in respect to their vocation, created the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. 

The ADA is a federal law that prohibits businesses to discriminate against employees on the basis of their own disability or the disability of someone with whom they have a close association.  “The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination in employment, in places of public accommodation, including all hotels, restaurants, retail stores, theaters, health care facilities, convention centers, parks, and places of recreation, in transportation services, and in all activities of state and local governments because a person has a disability.” (Americans With Disabilities) The goal of ADA is to decrease cases of discrimination by making it unlawful employers with 15 or more employees to begrudge any qualified applicant or employee due to of a disability held by them, someone in their care, or someone with whom they have any other sort of close personal relationship.

Employees who feel as if they have had their rights violated due to their employer’s intolerance of their own disability or the disability of someone they have an association must file a “charge of discrimination” with the EEOC.  The EEOC will then notify the employer of the charges, noting their responses as well as perform an investigation that will help provide any supporting information.  Both the employee and the employer are provided the additional option of free and confidential mediation if they so choose. 

If mediation is not acceptable or is unsuccessful the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will use the information from their investigation to attempt to determine if this is a case of discrimination.  If they are unable to resolve the situation, it is sometimes forwarded to a court of law.

The ADA allows employees with disabilities an equal opportunity for employment as well as to receive benefits for themselves or for family members with disabilities.  The ADA does not enforce that benefits should be changed or altered in any way to suit the needs of the disabled individual, only that they cannot undergo any discrimination due to the disability.  The ADA also provides employees the opportunity to file an additional complaint against employers if they feel that there has been retaliation in response to their initial charge.

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