Disability Law Law and Legal Definition

Disability law is mainly governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Justice administer the ADA.This Act prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment, housing, education, and access to public services. The ADA defines a disability as any of the following: 1. "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual." 2. "a record of such impairment." or 3. "being regarded as having such an impairment." While alcoholism is included as a disability, other socially undesirable behaviors such as pedophilia, or transvestism, compulsive gambling, and pyromania are excluded from the Act. The ADA further requires that reasonable accomodation be made so as to provide individuals with disabilities equal opportunities. States also  have disability statutes, which vary by state, and are required to be consistent with the ADA.

Other statutes prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities include the Fair Housing Act, Rehabilitation Act, Air Carrier Access Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. For example, under the Fair Housing Act, it is unlawful to discriminate in any aspect of selling, renting, or denying housing because of an individual's disability. Owners are further required make some exceptions to their housing policies to enable equal housing opportunities to those with disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires public schools to make available a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to all eligible children with disabilities, according to their needs.