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Sections of ADA

From: Times Record News, TX - Jul 25, 2004

The Americans with Disabilities Act contains five sections - called "titles" - that outline the rights of people with disabilities.

Title I: Employment.

The purpose of this section is to protect people with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of their disability. As long as the individual is qualified for an employment opportunity, that opportunity may not be denied because of the person's disability.

This title, as well as the rest of the ADA, applies to all public sector employers and private employers with more than 15 employees

Title I is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which resolves complaints through education, arbitration and, if necessary, litigation. From July 1992, the month the ADA became law, though the end of 2003, the EEOC filed or participated in 618 direct lawsuits. Over that same period, EEOC actions resulted in almost $31 million in civil penalties and benefits to plaintiffs.

Title II: Public Services

The purpose of Title II is to prohibit discrimination on the basis of handicap in all services, programs, and activities provided or made available by local or state governments and their affiliate agencies.

Examples of programs and services covered under this section are public buses, government meetings, public schools and universities and recreation areas and parks.

The title applies regardless of whether the entity receives federal funding. Complaints under this section are filed with the Department of Justice.

Title III: Public Accommodation

All public accommodations - restaurants, bars, theaters, hotels, stores, social service centers - even if privately owned, must be designed and constructed so as to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

This title requires operators to make "reasonable modifications" to policies, practices and procedures, unless such modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the services provided. (For example, the owners of a dimly lit "romantic" restaurant would not have to add lighting to accommodate persons with visual impairment. Rather, their staff could read the menu to the person.)

Owners must remove physical barriers when it is "readily achievable" - when the changes can be accomplished easily without much expense.

ADA statistics show that most accommodations cost less than $500, with more than 30 percent costing nothing at all.

This title is enforced by the Department of Justice.

Title IV: Telecommunications

This title requires telephone companies provide relay services for hearing- and speech-impaired people. This title also requires manufacturers of televisions that are 13 inches or larger to have closed captioning capabilities.

This section is enforced by the Federal Communications Commission.

Title V: Miscellaneous.

The title addresses governmental immunity (states are not immune to lawsuits), retaliation provisions, awarding of attorney's fees and other issues.

Compiled by staff writer Lee B. Weaver. Sources: Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, Department of Justice,, and the University of Kentucky Center for Developmental Disabilities Education.

Copyright 2004, Times Record News. All Rights Reserved.



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