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     OVERVIEW OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990

                         JULY 26, 1990







   The purpose of the ADA is to provide a clear and comprehensive national

   mandate to end discrimination against individuals with disabilities and to

   bring persons with disabilities into the economic and social mainstream of

   American life; to provide enforceable standards addressing discrimination

   against individuals with disabilities, and to ensure that the federal

   government plays a central role in enforcing these standards on behalf of

   individuals with disabilities.



Definition of the term "disability."



   The ADA defines "disability" to mean, with respect to an individual: a

   physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the

   major life activities of such individual, a record of such an impairment,

   or being regarded has having such an impairment.  This is the same

   definition included in section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the

   Fair Housing Act Amendments, and the Air Carriers Access Act.



Employment



   Title I of the ADA specifies that an employer, employment agency, labor

   organization, or joint labor-management committee may not discriminate

   against any qualified individual with a disability in regard to any term,

   condition or privilege of employment.  The ADA incorporates many of the

   standards of discrimination set out in regulations implementing section 504

   of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, including the obligation to provide

   reasonable accommodations unless it would result in an undue hardship on

   the operation of the business.



   The ADA incorporates by reference the enforcement provisions under title

   VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Currently, remedies available under

   Title VII include injunctive relief and back pay.



   Title I goes into effect two years after the date of enactment.  For the

   first two years after the effective date, employers with 25 or more

   employees are covered.  Thereafter, employers with 15 or more employees are

   covered.



Public services, including public transportation services provided by

	public entities



   Title II of the ADA specifies that no qualified individual with a

   disability may be discriminated against by a public entity, i.e., a state

   and local government or a department, agency, special purpose district or

   other instrumentality of a state or a local government, or by AMTRAK or a

   commuter rail authority.



   In addition to a general prohibition against discrimination, Title II

   includes specific requirements applicable to public transit authority,

   commuter rail authorities, and AMTRAK.



   With respect to public transportation provided by public transit

   authorities, all new fixed route buses must be made accessible unless a

   transit authority can demonstrate to the Secretary of Transportation that

   no lifts are available from qualified manufacturers, despite the fact that

   good faith efforts have been made to locate such lifts, and that a further

   delay in purchasing new buses would significantly impair transportation

   services in the community served.  A public transit authority must also

   provide paratransit for those individuals who cannot otherwise use mainline

   accessible transportation (and to one person associated with an individual

   with a disability or additional persons associated with the individual with

   the disability if the additional persons do not displace other individuals

   with disabilities) up to the point where the provisions of such

   supplementary services would pose an undue financial burden on the transit

   authority.



   With respect to AMTRAK, all new intercity vehicles must be readily

   accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  Special rules

   are included specifying the standards of accessibility for people using

   wheelchairs for each category of passenger car.  With respect to new cars

   used by commuter rail authorities, such cars must be accessible.  However,

   special rules are delineated explaining the meaning of "accessibility" for

   people who use wheelchairs.



   New stations must be designed and constructed in an accessible manner.  Key

   existing stations serving rapid rail and light rail systems must be made

   accessible as soon as practicable not in no more than 30 years where

   modifications are extraordinarily expensive (with two-thirds of the

   stations to be made accessible within 20 years).  For key existing stations

   serving commuter rail, the time frame is 20 years as it is for all stations

   serving AMTRAK.



   Title II incorporates by reference the enforcement provisions in section

   505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.



   Title II takes effect 18 months after the date of enactment, with the

   exception of the obligation to ensure that new public buses are accessible,

   which takes effect for solicitations made 30 days after the date of

   enactment.



Public accommodations and services provided by private entities



   Title II of the ADA specifies that no individual shall be discriminated

   against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the

   goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations by

   any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public

   accommodation.  Public accommodations include: restaurants, hotels,

   doctor's offices, pharmacies, grocery stores, shopping centers, and other

   similar establishments.



   Existing facilities must be made accessible if the changes are "readily

   achievable" i.e., easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense.

   Auxiliary aids and services must be provided unless such provisions would

   fundamentally alter the nature of the program or cause an undue burden.

   New construction and major renovations must be designed and constructed to

   be readily accessible to an usable by people with disabilities.  Elevators

   need not be installed if the building has lees than three stories or has

   less than 3,000 square feet per floor except if the building is a shopping

   center, shopping mall, or offices for health care providers or if the

   Attorney General decides that other categories of buildings require the

   installation of elevators.



   Title III also includes specific prohibitions on discrimination in public

   transportation services provided by private entities, including the failure

   to make new over-the-road buses accessible six years from the date of

   enactment for large providers and seven years for small providers.

   "Accessibility" will be defined in regulations issued by the Secretary of

   Transportation and reflect the results of a 3-year study conducted by the

   Office of Technology Assessment.  Lifts are not necessarily required on all

   new buses.



   Title III incorporates enforcement provisions in private actions

   comparable to the applicable enforcement provisions in Title II of the

   Civil Rights Act of 1964 (injunctive relief) and provides for pattern

   and practice cases by the Attorney General.  The Attorney General may

   also seek monetary (not punitive) damages on behalf of an aggrieved

   individual and civil penalties.





   The provisions of Title III become effective 18 months after the date of

   enactment.  However, except for actions relating to the failure to make

   alterations and new construction readily accessible to an usable by

   individuals with disabilities, no civil action may be brought for any act

   or omission considered discriminatory under the Act against businesses that

   employ 25 or fewer employees and have gross receipts of $1,000,000 or less


   during the first six months after the effective date and no civil actions

   may be brought for any act or omission considered discriminatory under the

   Act against business that employ 10 or fewer employees and have gross

   receipts of $500,00 or less during the first year after the effective date.



Telecommunication relay services



   Title IV of the ADA specifies that telephone services offered to the

   general public must include interstate and intrastate telecommunication

   relay services so that such services provide individuals who use non-voice

   terminal devices because of disabilities (such as deaf persons) with

   opportunities for communications that are equivalent to those provided to

   individuals able to use voice telephone services.



Miscellaneous provisions



   Title V of the ADA includes miscellaneous provisions, including coverage of

   Congress, a construction clause explaining the relationship between the

   provisions in the ADA and the provisions in other Federal and State laws; a

   construction clause explaining that the ADA does not disrupt the current

   nature of insurance underwriting; a prohibition against retaliation; a

   clear statement that States are not immune from actions in courts of

   competent jurisdiction for a violation of the ADA; a directive to the

   Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board to issue

   guidelines; and authority to award attorney's fees.

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