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Chapter 3. Accessibility in Law and Poli... > The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act

On July 26, 1990, Congress passed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act “to establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability.” [3] This comprehensive legislation extended the promise of equal treatment for people with disabilities into the private arena. Whereas the Rehabilitation Act applies to federal government agencies and those that receive federal funds, the ADA applies to all places of public accommodation, to most employers, and to all Title II entities that deliver government services.

[3] From the text of the ADA legislation, accessed May 17, 2002, at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/pubs/ada.txt.

Among the findings that Congress cited in passing the ADA were the historical isolation and segregation of people with disabilities and the fact that, unlike other victims of discrimination, they “have often had no legal recourse to redress such discrimination.” [4] The ADA was intended and has become the basis for such legal recourse. It has had profound results in promoting the concepts of greater equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. We will see that once again, however, the promise of equality contained in this historic Act is still in the process of being fully realized.

[4] From the text of the ADA legislation, accessed May 17, 2002, at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/pubs/ada.txt.


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