What is the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into effect by Congress on July 26, 1990. The ADA is intended to “provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against persons with disabilities.”
The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and provides the first comprehensive civil rights to people with disabilities in the areas of employment; public accommodations; state and local government programs, services and activities; and communications. This includes not just architectural accessibility, but also program accessibility.
The goal of the ADA is to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, equivalent service, and economic self-sufficiency. The ADA prohibits all state and local governments from discriminating on the basis of disability.
What is a disability?
A person described as having a disability is a person with a physical, emotional or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities OR a person with a record of such impairment OR a person who is perceived as having such an impairment. “Major life activities” include: thinking, processing information, listening, seeing, hearing, breathing, walking, taking care of personal needs, working, interaction with others, concentrating, sitting, standing, and reading.
What is Salt Lake City’s Responsibility to the ADA?
The ADA is divided into five sections, or titles. Title II applies to city government, and the programs and services provided: No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by such entity. To achieve this, Salt Lake City is required to assess its accessibility as a city government, have a plan for removing barriers to people with disabilities, have a policy regarding the ADA, designate an ADA Coordinator, and communicate effectively with people with disabilities and about the accessibility of services.