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History of the Ada

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Joey Lahman
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History of the americans with disabilities act
Joey Lahman
[Company name] [Company address]
History of the americans with disabilities act


For years, individuals with uncontrollable disabilities have been discriminated against in education, employment, and public services. I have gathered information pertaining to the Americans with Disabilities Act to better educate those with disabilities and employers alike. I have found that even with the Act in place the number of discriminatory complaints regarding disabled people continues to rise each year. I recommend that employers make a better, conscious effort to employ and accommodate those who are disabled.

Joey Lahman
MGMT 339 – Cross Cultural Management
Research Paper

History of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act was first introduced to Congress in 1988 and was officially signed into law at the White House, during a signing ceremony on July 26, 1990 ( However, the need for the Americans with Disabilities Act began long before that in cities all over the country. When individuals with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities began to fight for equality in their communities. The first step towards the Americans with Disabilities Act was the establishment of small groups that would advocate for the rights of the disabled and the Independent Living Movement, which “challenged the notion that people with disabilities needed to be institutionalized, and which fought for and provided services for people with disabilities to live in the community.” ( The Americans with Disabilities Act owes its birthright to no one person. It was a collective effort of thousands who stood up and fought for the rights of their disabled children, friends, and loved ones.
For the Americans with Disabilities Act to gain awareness, thousands and thousands of people spent years organizing and attending protests, drafting legislation, lobbying, negotiating, filing lawsuits, and even going as far as getting arrested for the cause that they believed in so whole heartedly ( This collective effort became known as the disability rights movement. Since so many people were involved in the disability rights movement it would be difficult to give credit by name to every single person. So the disability rights movement is given credit as a whole to the development and birth of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 guarantees certain rights to those with disabilities. This was the first United States federal civil rights protection for people with disabilities ( The document was developed by the Chicago Office of the Office for Civil Rights in the United States Department of Education. It would later be revised to include information in the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the first real foothold gained and allowed the Americans with Disabilities Act to eventually be created. For the first time, people that had disabilities were viewed as a minority group or a class. Before this each individual disability were seen as separate with differing needs. Section 504 recognized that all people with disabilities faced similar barriers to employment, access to society, and education. When the individuals with disabilities were seen as a group or a minority, they were seen as deserving of basic civil rights protection.
No one individual was the first to need civil rights protection from being disabled. As society progressed, those with disabilities were left behind. They had to fight for their rights to be a part of society and this took place in countless towns all over the country, for years, before anything was done about it on a governmental level. The first barriers faced by Americans with disabilities included access to transportation, employment opportunities, and access to numerous public services. “Passed by Congress in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the nation's first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications” ( Title I of the act is the provisions for employment discrimination. Title I did not go into effect for two years so that the commission had time to develop regulations regarding Title I, to conduct public education programs to inform employers of the disability law, and to allow employers time to adjust for the new regulations. Title II prohibits discrimination based on disability in public services and activities provided by state and local government to exclude local transportation. The Department of Transportation issued its own requirements for facilities that are used by state and local government for the purposes of public transportation to include bus and train stations. Title III prohibits discrimination based on disability in places that are generally open to the public such as restaurants, movie theaters, grocery stores, and other such places.
Employment discrimination is prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act against “qualified individuals with disabilities” ( “An individual is considered to have a "disability" if s/he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Persons discriminated against because they have a known association or relationship with an individual with a disability also are protected” ( Disabilities include but are not limited to; “epilepsy, paralysis, HIV infection, AIDS, a substantial hearing or visual impairment, mental retardation, or a specific learning disability” ( A particular disability can be considered on an individual basis when it comes to hiring a qualified individual. A disability can prohibit work at one job but may not be an issue at another. Each individual case should be handled accordingly.
A violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act can require any of the following; “Hiring, reinstatement, promotion, back pay, front pay, restored benefits, reasonable accommodation, attorneys' fees, expert-witness fees, court costs, court orders and civil penalties” ( Civil penalties for the first violation can be up to $55,000 and up to $110,000 for each subsequent violation. Additional punitive and compensatory damages may be assessed for any company who intentionally discriminates against an individual. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission who was tasked with the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act, received over 90,000 complaints regarding discrimination against a disabled person from 1992 to 1997. Of these complaints ten percent were for hiring violations, twenty-nine percent pertained to failure to provide adequate accommodations, and almost sixty-three percent involved wrongful terminations ( Since the act went into effect in 1992 employers have paid over 174 million dollars in settlements to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission from ADA complaints. That is an average of $7,250,000 every single year for the last twenty-four years. It has been almost a quarter of a century since the act was put into effect and the number of complaints for the Americans with Disabilities Act is still rising each year. It is unacceptable for any agency to deny an American the right to work when they are qualified, no matter their disability, religion, race, or sex.
In closing, for any American with a disability, educate yourself on your basic civil rights that are protected by the ADA. Many times an employer will make accommodations for a disabled individual but be aware that if the accommodation is not reasonable, then they are not required by law to make said accommodations. In addition, proper education will allow you to know exactly what you should be provided with as well as the limits to what you can request. From a personal perspective and not a legal, try to find employment in a place that doesn’t have a problem with making accommodations. Larger companies are more likely to be able to make accommodations, with access to more resources and the funds to absorb the costs, where small to mid-size companies cannot easily make them. This will make it more likely to find enjoyable employment. For employers, my recommendation is simple. Since 1992 over $174 million dollars have been paid by employers to cover the costs of complaints made by disabled Americans. If you want to avoid contributing to this staggering number, then I suggest you also educate yourself on what is required from you as an employer. Know what a “reasonable accommodation” is and no what would be considered unreasonable. You should be making every effort possible to accommodate disabled individuals who are qualified to work in their position. Discrimination is unacceptable on any basis, but to deny a qualified individual employment due to a physical or mental disability is not only morally and ethically wrong, it is illegal thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the subsequent Americans with Disabilities Act Ammendments Act of 2008.


The History of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (2012). Retrieved January 21, 2016, from

Questions and Answers. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2016, from

Consequences of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2016, from

Protecting Students with Disabilities. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2016, from

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2016, from

Legal Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2016, from…...

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