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An Overview of Disability Discrimination ADA



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The disability Equality Act was passed by Congress in 1990 and signed by President George W. Bush to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities, just as existing civil rights laws prohibit discrimination based on ethnic origin, religion, or gender.

The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by companies and government institutions when it comes to hiring, at work, in the supply of goods and services, including means of transport, public accommodation, and telecommunications.

“The ADA guarantees that all Americans have equal access and opportunities, including Americans with disabilities,” said President Obama. “ADA was about independence and the freedom to live our life the way we want to.”

Disability Discrimination

Who is in the group of people with disabilities? According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this includes “people who have long-term physical, mental, mental or sensory impairments, which can interact with various barriers to prevent them from participating fully, effectively and equally in society.”

This definition makes clear the multitude of different disabilities, which can also lead to different barriers and exclusions in everyday life. The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) prohibits discrimination based on disability. Nevertheless, people with disabilities are often affected by discrimination. In everyday life, there are a variety of barriers that make it difficult for you to participate in social life. In addition, it is often particularly difficult for people with disabilities to find a job.

Discrimination has very different faces – it is, therefore, helpful to take the following distinctions into account:

  • Discrimination can occur in completely different areas of life – for example when looking for accommodation, in a discotheque, at work, on the train or at the authorities.
  • There are different reasons why people are discriminated against – especially based on their gender, religion, origin, language, appearance, sexual orientation, disability, age, or residence status.
  • Sometimes people are discriminated against for several reasons at the same time – for example, women with a headscarf are not only discriminated against because of their religion but often their migrant background also plays a role. In such a case, counseling centers speak of multiple discrimination.
  • Discrimination takes place explicitly only in exceptional cases, for example when an employer openly states that he would never employ deaf people or women with a headscarf. Most of the time, however, discrimination is hidden or subtle, which makes the situation even more complicated for those affected.


Let’s have a look at frequently asked questions on Disability Discrimination ADA.

Which employers are covered by the ADA?

Private companies, government agencies, employment agencies, and unions with 15 or more employees.

Who is protected against employment discrimination?

The ADA is applicable to people whose disabilities “significantly limit the central activities of daily life”, such as the ability to take care of themselves, perform manual tasks, see, hear, eat, sleep, sitting, gripping, speaking, breathing, walk, to standing, lifting, bending, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting and working with others.

These include people who have lost limbs, paralyzed people, people infected with HIV, epileptics, people with AIDS, significant auditory or visual restrictions, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, severe depression, bipolar disorders, or specific learning disabilities. It also protects people who suffer from the effects of a past disability, such as former cancer patients.

What obligations do employers have under the ADA?

Employers can choose the most qualified applicant for a job regardless of disability. If the most qualified applicant has a disability, the employer must consider whether this person can do the work after “reasonable adjustment measures”.

What are the requirements of the ADA for local buses?

Guidelines stipulate that new public buses with fixed routes must be easily accessible, for example by means of a wheelchair lift. Additional services such as specially equipped minibusses must be made available for people with disabilities who cannot use the bus routes of public bus transport.