Title I - Employment

  • Requirements: Employers with 15 or more employees may not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities. Employers must reasonably accommodate the disabilities of qualified applicants or employees, including modifying work stations and equipment, unless undue hardship would result.
  • Enforcement: Complaints may be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Private lawsuits may be filed after exhausting administrative remedies. Remedies are the same as under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Courts may order employers to hire or promote qualified individuals, reasonably accommodate their disabilities and pay back wages and attorney fees.

Title II - Public Services

  • Requirements: State and local governments may not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities. Newly constructed state and local government buildings, including transit facilities, must be accessible.  Alterations to existing state and local government buildings must be done in an accessible manner.

    When alterations could affect accessibility to "primary function" areas of a transit facility, an accessible path of travel must be provided to the altered areas. The restrooms, drinking fountains and telephones serving the altered areas must also be accessible to the extent that the additional accessibility costs are not disproportionate to the overall alterations costs.

    New buses and rail vehicles for fixed-route systems must be accessible. New vehicles for demand-responsive systems must be accessible unless the system provides people with disabilities services equivalent to those provided to the general public. Comparable Para-transit must be provided to individuals who cannot use fixed-route bus services to the extent that an undue financial burden is not imposed.

    One car per train must be accessible. Existing "key stations" in rapid rail, commuter rail and light rail systems must be accessible. All existing Amtrak stations must be accessible by July 26, 2010. Amtrak trains must have as many seating spaces for individuals who use wheelchairs as would be available if every car in the train were accessible to such individuals by July 26, 2000.

  • Enforcement: Complaints may be filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation concerning public transportation. Individuals may also file a private lawsuit. Remedies are the same as under Section 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Courts may order entities to make facilities accessible, provide auxiliary aids or services, modify policies and pay attorney fees.

Title III - Public Accommodations

  • Requirements: Restaurants, hotels, theaters, shopping centers and malls, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, day care centers and other similar places of public accommodation may not discriminate on the basis of disability.

    Physical barriers in existing public accommodations must be removed if readily achievable. If not, alternative methods of providing services must be offered, if those methods are readily achievable. New construction in public accommodations and commercial facilities must be accessible.

    Alterations to existing public accommodations and commercial facilities must be accessible. When alterations could affect accessibility to "primary function" areas of a facility, an accessible path of travel must be provided to the altered areas. The rest rooms, telephones and drinking fountains serving the altered areas must also be accessible, to the extent that the additional accessibility costs are not disproportionate to the overall alterations costs.

    Elevators are not required in newly constructed or altered buildings under three stories or with less than 3,000 square feet per floor unless the building is a shopping center, mall or health provider's office.

    New buses and other vehicles (except automobiles) operated by private entities must be accessible, or the entity must provide individuals with disabilities services equivalent to those provided to the general public.

    The requirements differ depending on whether the system is fixed-route or demand-responsive and on the vehicle seating capacity for entities not primarily engaged in the business of transporting people.

    New over-the-road buses (buses with an elevated passenger deck located over a baggage compartment) must be accessible.

  • Enforcement: Complaints may be filed with the U.S. Department of Justice. Individuals may also file a private lawsuit. Remedies are the same as under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Courts may order any entity to make facilities accessible, provide auxiliary aids or services, modify policies and pay attorney fees. Courts may award monetary damages and impose civil penalties in lawsuits filed by the Justice Department but not in private lawsuits by individuals.

Title IV - Telecommunications

  • Requirements: Telephone companies must provide telecommunications relay services 24 hours a day for individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired.
  • Enforcement: Complaints may be filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

DBTAC National Network of ADA Centers: The Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC) is a national network of 10 regional DBTAC: ADA Centers that provide the most complete and experienced services for up-to-date information, referrals, resources, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to businesses, employers, government entities, and individuals with disabilities, as well as media and news reporters.

Questions About the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Call Office of the Inspector General (OIG):  (800) 949-4232 (V/TTY)