Handicap Law & Legal Definition


A handicap is a physical or mental disability. The primary law dealing with discrimination based on a handicap is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The ADA was enacted to protect these individuals from discrimination. It prohibits places of public accommodation - such as hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, gas stations, grocery stores, offices, sports stadiums and even the PGA Tour, to name a few examples - from discriminating against individuals with one or more disabilities.

More specifically, Title III of the ADA provides 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 or accommodations of any person who owns, leases or leases to, or operates a place of public accommodation."

The following is an example of a state statute dealing with the employment of hancapped persons:

"It is the policy of this state that the blind, the visually handicapped and the otherwise physically disabled shall be employed in the state service, the service of the political subdivisions of the state, in the public schools and in all other employment supported in whole or in part by public funds on the same terms and conditions as the able-bodied, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the performance of the work involved."