Federal Law American with Disabilities Act Law and Legal Definition

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is one of the most significant federal laws governing discrimination against persons with disabilities. 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 requires that reasonable accommodation be made so as to provide individuals with disabilities equal opportunities. Barriers to employment, transportation, public accommodations, public services, and telecommunications for persons with disabilities are prohibited. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Justice are charged with enforcement of the ADA.

States may pass disability statutes so long as they do not conflict with the ADA.