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Essay on Americans With Disability Act 1990

3 pages
576 words
George Washington University
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President George W Bush signed into law The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990. Among the existing pieces of legislation regarding civil rights in America, this is the most comprehensive. The ADA ensures that people with disabilities are guaranteed that they will enjoy the same opportunities and privileges as the able Americans (Blanck, 2000). The ADA also prohibits discrimination that often hinders people with disability from participating in the mainstream of American life.

The mainstream American life includes the participation in the local and state government services and programs, enjoyment of employment opportunities as well as the ability to purchase goods and services. The introduction of the ADA brought to provide people with disabilities equal opportunities, borrowed its module from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973, which prohibits any form of discrimination of persons based on their religion, race, sex, national origin or color.

The ADA does not cover all the Americans, however; it protects people who have disabilities. The ADA defines disability as an impairment that can either be mental or physical that limits a persons normal life-activities substantially in more than one way. As Blanck (2000) explains, the ADA does not mention all the impairments specifically but if a person has a record or is perceived by others as having an impairment, he or she is covered.

The ADA covers employers in the local and state governments, private employers, labor unions and employment agencies with 15 or more employees by providing nondiscrimination standards and procedures when it comes to employment of people with disabilities. Historically, people with disability are not offered the same opportunities when it comes to job search and application. They are usually discriminated even when they are qualified to do the job.

The society views people with disability as inadequate, incomplete and unable to perform standard procedures that an able-bodied person would do. People with disability often need to be supervised when doing their duties and in some instances, even adjustments around the workplace are required to accommodate them. They include construction of ramps for people with wheelchairs and provision of car parking space among others. It requires patience since it is time-consuming and it is usually costly to provide resources for the people with disability, funds that would have normally been utilized elsewhere.

The Act provides for employees with disabilities that are qualified and can perform functions required by the job with or without reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodation includes modifying work schedules, equipment, policies, existing facilities used by employees usable and accessible to persons with disability. However, the provision of a reasonable accommodation should not impose undue hardship according to the Act. The Internal Revenue Code provides for funds that employers can take in order to make businesses and offices more accessible to people with disability.

I believe that the ADA has made some positive impact on people of the society who viewed people with disability and chronic illness as inadequate people. It has led to more disabled people getting work and maintaining jobs like the rest of the able people. However, I believe that the disabled are still faced with some challenges, most of them mental and psychological. Disability can happen to anyone even our loved ones and I believe that this Act had led to the economic empowerment of this vulnerable group.


Blanck, P. D. (2000). Employment, disability, and the Americans with Disabilities Act: Issues in law, public policy, and research. Evanston, Ill: Northwestern University Press.

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