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  • The ADA and Employers
    This article explains essential employment-related terms and concepts in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act.
  • What Is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
    The ADA defines disability and has five titles (sections) that forbid a wide range of discrimination.
  • A History of Discrimination and the ADA
    Find out why civil rights laws are important for protecting people with disabilities from discrimination, and get an overview of key US civil right laws that protect people with disabilities—including...
  • Disability-Related Inquiries
    Find out what (and when) an employer can ask a job applicant or employee about disability.
  • Who Is Protected by the ADA?
    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects the civil rights of people with disabilities, but who is disabled under the ADA?

Fact Sheets

Ask About the ADA

  • Is there a list of disabilities that are covered under the ADA?
    It is important to remember that in the context of the ADA, “disability” is a legal term rather than a medical one. Because it has a legal definition, the ADA’s definition of disabil...
  • Voluntary Disclosure of Disability
    Q: I am a cancer patient in remission for Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. I have been applying to jobs (post cancer diagnosis) and am confused what I should answer regarding the voluntary disclosure of...
  • Federal Contractors and Self-Disclosure of a Disability
    Q: I am applying for a job with a company that is a federal contractor. The application asks if I want to self-identify as having a disability. Is this illegal? A: Federal contractors and subcontract...
  • Telling an Employer about a Disability
    Q: If I have a disability does the ADA make it so I have to tell my employer? A: No. Disclosure of a disability is not a requirement. If a job applicant or employee does not need a reasonable accommo...
  • What about COVID-19?
    Q: What COVID-19 resources do you recommend? A: First, let’s acknowledge that coping with COVID-19 can be very difficult, and we hope you’re doing okay with whatever challenges brought yo...


Top Five Historic Moments in Disability Rights

Infographic that says: Top Five Historic Moments in Disability Rights
* 1968, Architectural Barriers Act passed
* 1972, Ed Roberts and others establish the first Center for Independent Living
* 1973, Rehabilitation Act Section 504 passed
* 1988, Dr. I. King Jordan named first Deaf President of Gallaudet University
* 1990, Americans with Disabilities Act passed, amended 2008 Share on Facebook

Because of the ADA

Infographic titled 'Because of the ADA.'

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law on July 26, 1990. The ADA is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including access to jobs, schools, transportation, and public and private places that are open to the general public. The law is divided into five titles (or areas) where the various protections for people with disabilities are spelled out. The goal of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Here are just a few of the positive effects that can be observed today, all because of the ADA.

Are you going out into the community? You can park in an accessible parking space. You can take an accessible bus. You can easily enter stores because of a curb ramp and doors that are accessible. You can navigate through stores along a clear path of travel. Signage at areas like bathrooms is clear and concise with raised characters and Braille. Drinking fountains are accessible. The checkout counter and service counters you encounter are lower and more accessible. You can bring your service animal with you.

Are you going to the movies? theaters offer assisted listening devices to help you hear better.

Are you making a phone call? You can use a relay service to assist you with communication.

Are you going to a concert or sporting event? You have access to wheelchair accessible seats alongside your friends and family.

Are you going to work? You can request a change in how things are typically done from your employer, called a reasonable accommodation, to assist you with work tasks.

Are you going to vote or to a town meeting? Your polling place and municipal programs, offices and meetings must be accessible to you.

Are you going to the Doctor? You can request an interpreter to communicate more efficiently. You can request medical information in a manner that works for you.

Nearly 37 million people in our country have a disability and nearly 25% of today's 20 year olds will experience disability in their lifetime. (ADA National Network, ADA Anniversary Toolkit)

'This Act is powerful in its simplicity. it will ensure that people with disabilities are given the basic guarantees for which they have worked so long and hard. Independence, freedom of choice, control of their own lives, the opportunity to blend fully and equally into the rich mosaic of the American mainstream.' -President George H.W. Bush, ADA Signing Ceremony, July 26, 1990 Share on Facebook

Student Rights in Postsecondary Education

Infographic titled 'Student Rights in Postsecondary Education' featuring several text boxes.
In order to get an academic adjustment in college, you must identify yourself as having a disability.
Examples of adjustments include providing note takers, recording devices, sign language interpreters, and extended time for testing.
The school is not required to lower or waive essential course requirements.
A school cannot charge you for providing an academic adjustment.
If you have any questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact us at 1-800-949-4232 Share on Facebook

Important ADA Activists: Ed Roberts

Infographic titled 'Important ADA Activists: Ed Roberts’.
 Father of the Independent Living Movement. Pioneer in Disability Rights Movement.
 Quote: ‘The greatest lesson of the civil rights movement is that the moment you let others speak for you, you lose’
 Image source:
 Quote source:
 If you have questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact us at 1-800-949-4232 Share on Facebook

Important ADA Activists: Judith Heumann

Infographic titled 'Important ADA Activists: Judith Heumann'
Disability rights leader. Founder of Disabled in Action (1970). Led a sit-in to pass the regulations to implement Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Quote: 'Disability only becomes a tragedy for me when society fails to provide the things we need to lead our lives-job opportunities or barrier-free buildings, for example. It is not a tragedy to me that I'm living in a wheelchair.'
Quote source: Joseph S. P. Shapiro, No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement, page 20, (New York: Times Books, 1993).
If you have questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact us at 1-800-949-4232. Share on Facebook

Rights of Parents with Disabilities in the Child Welfare System

Infographic titled 'Rights of Parents with Disabilities in the Child Welfare System' featuring several text boxes.
Child welfare agencies cannot exclude parents with disabilities from the services offered in child welfare agencies or court systems.
Assumptions, generalizations, or stereotypes about disability should not affect assessments, services, and decisions.
Reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures for parents with disabilities are required for all services and hearings.
Modifications include ensuring physical or programmatic accessibility, or providing auxiliary aids and services to ensure adequate communication and participation. Share on Facebook

Blog Posts


  • Introduction to the Service Animal Toolkit
    July 27, 2022
    Do customers bring dogs into your business claiming they are service animals, emotional support animals, comfort dogs, or therapy dogs? Join Chris Sweet, technical assistant for the Northeast ADA Cent...
  • ADA 101.1 Defining Disability
    March 26, 2021
    This presentation builds on the introduction to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) given in the webinar ADA 101. Intended for those new to the ADA or for those wanting a refresher, this webinar...
  • Service Animal Scenarios
    March 27, 2019
    Chris Sweet, Northeast ADA Technical Assistance and Outreach Specialist, will present Service Animal Scenarios. Service animals often appear in popular media as a topic of contention as airlines, sto...
  • Accommodations for Healthcare in the Workplace
    September 26, 2018
     When people think of accommodations in a health care environment, they often think of patients and visitors. However, health care professionals also have disabilities and may require a reasonabl...
  • Small Employer Webinar
    July 25, 2018
     How much do small businesses know about disability, the ADA, and their responsibilities related to reasonable accommodation? In the Northeast ADA Center, we are conducting a study to better unde...