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What is ADA Compliance? - Definition & Guidelines

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  • 0:03 What Is The ADA?
  • 1:25 Disability Guidelines
  • 1:53 Reasonable Accomodations
  • 2:55 Application Of The ADA
  • 3:27 Enforcement of ADA Guidelines
  • 4:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

This lesson will provide you with a definition of the ADA and ADA compliance. Guidelines for being in compliance with the ADA and some examples will also be provided.

What Is the ADA?

After being in a horrible car accident, John could no longer walk and was confined to a wheelchair. He decides to use a service dog to help him get around. When John attends his cousin's wedding out of town, the dog goes with him. However, there is a problem when he tries to check into the hotel, as the receptionist firmly tells John that no animals are allowed on the premises. John wonders if this is a violation of his rights under the ADA.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an act that was signed into law in 1990 by President Bush and has been amended since to extend the rights of the disabled. It's intended to afford equal rights to people with disabilities and protect them from discriminatory practices. There are five specific areas in which the ADA affords protection of rights:

  1. The first is employment. It applies to private employers of 15 individuals or more as well as all government employers.

  2. Next is local and state government services. Examples are city and state buildings and services.

  3. Then there's public accommodations. Examples are libraries, movie theaters, and schools.

  4. There's also commercial facilities. Examples are restaurants, retail establishments, and hotels.

  5. Finally, there's transportation. Examples are airlines and public transit.

Disability Guidelines

Under the ADA, a disability is defined as a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Examples of a major life activity include (but are not limited to) eating, dressing oneself, walking, standing, lifting, and concentrating. In order to receive legal protection under the ADA, a person who has this type of limitation has to be regarded to have such a disability by others or have a documented record of the disability.

Reasonable Accommodations

One of the major provisions under the Americans with Disabilities Act is that employers need to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is a change to the job environment or position that would allow an employee or applicant to successfully be able to perform the essential functions of a position or complete the application process for a position. Some examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Providing alternative work schedules
  • Supplying a computer screen magnifier
  • Providing an ergonomic office space
  • Providing interpreters
  • Making the workplace accessible to wheelchairs

Accommodations are considered reasonable when they do not cause an undue hardship on the employer. When making an accommodation becomes extremely costly, or becomes disruptive to work processes and conducting business, the accommodation would no longer be reasonable. In making this determination, the employer's size and financial viability are factors that would be considered.

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