ADAA Handbook (USU)

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This was a document that I developed for Utah State University on behalf of the DRC. There was some information that was written for the Americans with Disabilities Act that implemented changes in the act earlier this year. I was requested to write some of the text and organize what was applicable to USU. This docuement was for the faculty and staff of USU.

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ADAA Handbook (USU)

  1. 1. Americans with Disabilities ActThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. Thepurpose of the Act is to:· Provide clear and comprehensive national mandate to end discrimination againstindividuals with disabilities.· Provide enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals withdisabilities.· Ensure that the federal government plays a central role in enforcing these standards onbehalf of individuals with disabilities.An individual is considered to have a "disability" if s/he has a physical or mentalimpairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of suchimpairment, or is regarded as having such impairment. Individuals discriminated againstbecause they have a known association or relationship with a with a disabled individualalso are protected.The first part of the definition makes clear that the ADA applies to persons who haveimpairments and that these must substantially limit major life activities such as seeing,hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring foroneself, and working. An individual with epilepsy, paralysis, HIV infection, AIDS, asubstantial hearing or visual impairment, mental retardation, or a specific learningdisability is covered, but an individual with a minor, non-chronic condition of shortduration, such as a sprain, broken limb, or the flu, generally would not be covered.The second part of the definition protecting individuals with a record of a disability wouldcover, for example, a person who has recovered from cancer or mental illness.The third part of the definition protects individuals who are regarded as having asubstantially limiting impairment, even though they may not have such impairment. Forexample, this provision would protect a qualified individual with a severe facialdisfigurement from being denied employment because an employer feared the "negativereactions" of customers or co-workers.For more information, go to the Department of Justice (DOJ) website:http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/q%26aeng02.htmThe ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered. This is thesame definition used in Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair HousingAmendments Act.
  2. 2. The ADA gives people with disabilities civil rights protection that is like that provided toindividuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin and religion. It guarantees equalopportunity for individuals with disabilities in:· employment· public accommodations· transportation· state and local government services· telecommunicationsTitle I: EMPLOYMENTEmployers with 15 or more employees are covered under the ADA.Employers must reasonably accommodate the disabilities of qualified applicants oremployees, unless an undue hardship would result.Employers may reject applicants or fire employees who pose a direct threat to the health orsafety of other individuals in the workplace.Applicants and employees are not protected from personnel actions based on their currentillegal use of drugs. Drug testing is not affected.Employers may not discriminate against a qualified applicant or employee because of theknown disability of an individual with whom the applicant or employee is known to have arelationship or association.Title II: STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONSState and local governments may not discriminate against qualified individuals withdisabilities. All government facilities, services, and communications must be accessibleconsistent with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.Title III: PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS· Public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors offices, pharmacies,retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care centers may notdiscriminate on the basis of disabilities, effective January 26, 1992.· Reasonable changes in policies, practices, and procedures must be made to avoiddiscrimination.
  3. 3. · Auxiliary aids and services must be provided to individuals with vision or hearingimpairments or other individuals with disabilities so that they can have an equalopportunity to participate or benefit, unless an undue burden would result.· Physical barriers in existing facilities must be removed if removal is readily achievable (i.e.easily accomplished and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.) If not,alternative methods of providing the services must be offered, if those methods are readilyachievable.· All new construction in public accommodations as well as in "commercial facilities" suchas office buildings must be accessible. If such facilities are located in multilevel buildings,accessible elevators are generally required to serve all floors. Exemptions may be grantedunder certain conditions outlined in ADA Access Design Standards and/or The TexasAccessibility Standards.· Alterations must be accessible. When alterations to primary function areas are made, anaccessible path of travel to the altered area (and the bathrooms, telephones, and drinkingfountains serving that area) must be provided to the extent that added accessibility costsare not disproportionate to the overall cost of the alterations. Elevators are required asdescribed above.· Entities such as hotels that also offer transportation generally must provide equivalenttransportation service to individuals with disabilities. New fixed- route vehicles ordered onor after August 26, 1990, and capable of carrying more than 16 passengers, must beaccessible.· Public accommodations may not discriminate against an individual or entity because ofthe known disability of an individual with whom the individual or entity is known to have arelationship or association.

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