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ADA@30: The Americans with Disabilities Act 1990-2020

ADA@30

July 26, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, this landmark civil rights legislation increases access and opportunity for people with disabilities across community life, including employment.  By ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to work, the ADA is an affirmation of our nation’s founding ideals and a cornerstone of our efforts to ensure a fully inclusive American workforce and economy. 

The EEOC is proud to be a leader in opening doors for people with disabilities.  To honor the ADA's 30th anniversary, we have pulled together a variety of resources to provide helpful information about disability rights and responsibilities and how the EEOC is helping people with disabilities in the workplace.  We hope you will use this website as your guide to learning more about the ADA and EEOC's important work, as well as celebrating the progress that has been made to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Chair's Message

Those who work at the EEOC bring President Bush’s words to life each day as they carry out EEOC’s mission to “prevent and remedy unlawful employment discrimination and advance equal opportunity for all in the workplace.”

Read more from EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon

Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, or the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because she has a disability. Disability discrimination also occurs if an employer fails to provide reasonable accommodations to job applicants and employees who need them to apply for a job, do a job, or enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer; when an employer discriminates against an employee due to an association with an individual with a disability; and when an employer harasses or fails to stop the harassment of an employee on the basis of a disability.

The development of disability discrimination laws signified the adoption of a public policy committed to the removal of a broad range of impediments to the integration of people with disabilities into society.  Learn more about the development of the ADA.

Disability Resources

In addition to a variety of guidance documents, the EEOC has developed fact sheets, question and answer documents, and other publications to help employees and employers understand the issues surrounding disability discrimination.

Small Business

Small business owners have a lot on their plates.  The EEOC Small Business Resource Center is where small business owners can find answers to common questions about their responsibilities under the ADA and other federal employment discrimination laws.  Can you ask applicants whether they have a disability?  Are you required to provide medical leave?  Are tax benefits available for hiring  and making your business accessible to people with disabilities?  Learn about your responsibilities under the federal law that prohibits disability discrimination.

Veterans

Caring for our veterans is not only an expression of gratitude but a moral obligation.  This includes a responsibility to ensure that veterans with disabilities have opportunities to participate in the workforce. The EEOC has created resources for employers and veteran employees that explain their respective workplace rights and responsibilities.

Youth@Work

Information about the ADA for young workers is available at Youth@Work.  The EEOC developed this resource to educate young workers about their workplace rights and responsibilities and to help employers create positive work experiences for young adults.

How EEOC Can Help

When a charge of discrimination is filed, EEOC has a variety of tools available as we work to reach a successful resolution.  One of the most effective is mediation, which can lead to a mutually beneficial, voluntary agreement between the parties. Here are some examples of successful mediations.