The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE              CONTACT:   Claire Gonzales
Thursday, July 25, 1996                       Reginald Welch
                                              (202) 663-4900
                                              TDD:   (202) 663-4494



WASHINGTON -- On July 26, 1996, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will mark the fourth full year of enforcing the employment provisions (Title I) of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). During that time, the Commission has developed policy guidance to aid and ensure compliance, resolved over 52,400 disability charges, recovered nearly $105 million in backpay and benefits for charging parties through the administrative enforcement process, and informed millions about their rights and responsibilities under the law.

Title I of the ADA prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and in state and local governments. Under Title I, qualified individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination in the job application process, in hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and in other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The law also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, provided that the accommodation does not impose an "undue hardship" on the employer's business.

In noting the significance of this important legislation, EEOC Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas, said, "The ADA is a law that every American may ultimately need to turn to for protection because none of us are immune from disabilities that can stem from accidents, strokes or other of life's offerings."

Although the ADA was enacted July 26, 1990, EEOC enforcement of Title I of the law did not take effect until July 26, 1992. The Commission has since released significant policy guidance to further clarify particular aspects of the law. Issuances include an EEOC Compliance Manual Section on the Definition of the Term "Disability," providing guidance and instructions for determining whether an individual has a "disability" as defined by the ADA; Interim Enforcement Guidance on the Application of the ADA to Disability-Based Distinctions in Employer Provided Health Insurance; Enforcement Guidance on Preemployment Disability Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations Under the ADA; and Questions and Answers About Disability and Service Retirement Plans Under the ADA.

From the inception of EEOC's enforcement through the end of the third quarter of fiscal year 1996 (June 30, 1996), EEOC had received 68,203 charges alleging employment discrimination based on disability. Disability-based charges have become the third most cited basis of charges filed with the Commission, preceded only by charges filed on the basis of race and sex, respectively. In addition to resolving more than 52,400 disability charges and recovering almost $105 million for affected individuals through the administrative enforcement process, the agency obtained over $3 million in backpay and other relief through litigation.

Commission outreach efforts provide people with disabilities and employers information about their rights and responsibilities under the law. Thousands of employers, particularly small businesses, have learned about the ADA through direct training by EEOC personnel or through training funded jointly by EEOC and other federal agencies. Publications on the laws enforced by EEOC are available to the public by calling toll free 800-669-EEOC (TDD: 800-800-3302). Since 1992, millions of ADA-related publications, including the ADA Technical Assistance Manual and ADA policy guidances have been disseminated to the public free of charge. The public may also obtain general information about the ADA and other EEOC-enforced laws by calling the EEOC office that serves your area on 800-669-4000 (each EEOC field office has its own TDD number for individuals with hearing and speech impairments).

The Regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTAC) are another federal initiative that is providing answers to businesses, state and local agencies, and the public with questions about the ADA. Calls to DBTAC's toll free number, 800-949-4ADA (TDD callers use the same number), have averaged about 6,000 a month since the program began in October 1991.

Other laws enforced by EEOC are: Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Equal Pay Act; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

This page was last modified on January 15, 1997.

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