SPECIAL ISSUE: 25th ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
By Karen V. Clopton
2015 marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most sweeping civil rights laws in the United States. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and its state counterparts prohibit discrimination in employment against qualified individuals with disabilities. The ADA covers private employers, governmental entities, employment agencies, unions, and labor-management committees. It encompasses a broad panoply of employment practices, such as recruitment, hiring, firing, promotions, training, job assignments, transfers, demotions, medical and retirement benefits, compensation, and all other employment-related actions. In addition, it prohibits retaliation by employers against employees who assert ADA rights, as well as discrimination based on a relationship with an individual with a disability.
This is the one law that may impact every single one of us. We are all temporarily abled: a slip and fall in the bath or shower, a car accident, a sports injury, exposure to toxic chemicals, a medical or surgical mistake, even normal aging all affect our physical and mental capabilities. Indeed, we are all potentially covered by the ADA.