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American Disabilities Act

Below is a sample introduction for a paper on the American with Disabilities Act:

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a federal law, passed by Congress and signed by President George H.W. Bush that protects the civil rights of disabled Americans, and mandates certain accommodations in society. Senator Tom Harkin who was the writer and sponsor of the bill presented the bill to congress. Harkin decided to introduce the bill by communicating in sign language so that his deaf brother could understand what he was saying. On July 26, 1990, George H. W. Bush signed the bill into a law. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability, including in the hiring process. These disabilities include but are not limited to:

  • Physical Disability
  • Hearing Impaired
  • Mental Disability

American Disabilities ActThe American with Disabilities Act of 1990 is comparative to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibited discrimination based on race, sex, and religion. The ADA goes one step further and prohibits discrimination based on a disability. According to the ADA discrimination is defined as "...a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity."

According to the ADA Title I, employers can’t discriminate against applicants because of a disability. Employers are also unable to discriminate against disabled workers by denying them the opportunity to advance within the company.

ADA Title II requires all public entities to provide access to all public services including public schools and housing. Title III requires all public places to be accessible by people with disabilities. This means that public places had to construct new entrances, elevators, and ramps to allow easy access for all individuals. Title IV required telecommunication companies to provide consumers with disabilities equal services.

American Disabilities Act and Public Transportation

A second aspect of the ADA mandates access to public transportation for individuals with disabilities. It also requires that new construction must include modifications that are in compliance with federal guidelines. The proliferation of ramps on buildings and sidewalks across America is a manifestation of ADA accessibility. The ADA also required that telecommunications companies ensure equivalent-level services for disabled individuals, including Teletypewriter (TTY) machines and other Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDD).

Consequence of American Disabilities Act

One unfortunate consequence of the ADA was an eight percent drop in employment levels among disabled men between 1991, when the law was signed, and 1995, when it went into effect. Another criticism is that many individuals with “lesser disabilities” have taken advantage of the system in order to gain an unfair advantage. Under the ADA, an individual must be diagnosed with a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one’s ability to participate in one or more major life activities. In 2009, the federal government published clearer guidelines on what constitutes a major life activity.

Some religious organizations were disgruntled by the ADA. They were upset because under the original provisions churches fell under “public accommodations” hence requiring them to make building modifications to make their buildings more accessible. In response, religious organizations were removed from the list of “public accommodations.” On September 25, 2008, George H.W. Bush signed an amendment to the original law. This amendment is known as the ADA Amendments Act. This amendment provided more protection for workers.

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