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Highlighting the Americans with Disabilities Act

By Patrick S. Costello, Esq

On July 26, 1990 President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (“The ADA”) the most sweeping civil rights law since the Civil Right Act of 1964. Passage of The ADA was the culmination of disability rights advocates and political leadership both Democrats and Republicans which ensure the civil rights of over 43,000,000 American citizens with disabilities.  At the signing ceremony President Bush stated “[l]et the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”

The ADA ensures public and private transportation are made accessible to individuals with disabilities. For example building ramps and or elevators at rail and subway stations, as well as wheelchair lifts on buses. The ADA also extends accessibility in the private sector ensuring restaurants, retail stores, hotels and movie theaters are made accessible to individuals with disabilities by providing ramps, elevators, wide doors, accessible bathrooms and signage for visually impaired individuals.  

Equal access to employment is the cornerstone of the ADA. Here, the ADA ensures both the public and the private sector guarantee individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to employment . The standard is for a business to provide reasonable accommodation as long as the accommodation does not cause an undue hardship on a business. The ADA balances the rights of individuals with disabilities to needs of business.  The flexibility of the law is a win-win by introducing a workforce of many talented people to American businesses and allowing persons with disabilities to contribute to American entrepreneurship.

Photo credit: ADA website

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