The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
In addition, the employment practices of State and local governments of any size are covered by title II of the ADA, which goes into effect on January 26, 1992. The standards to be used under title II for determining whether employment discrimination has occurred depend on whether the public entity at issue is also covered by title I. Beginning July 26, 1992, if the public entity is covered by title I, then title I standards will apply. If not, the standards of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act will apply. From January 26, 1992, when title II went into effect, until July 26, 1992, when title I went into effect, public entities were subject to the section 504 standards.
The first part of the definition makes clear that the ADA applies to persons who have substantial, as distinct from minor, impairments, and that these must be impairments that limit major life activities such as seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself, and working. An individual with epilepsy, paralysis, a substantial hearing or visual impairment, mental retardation, or a learning disability would be covered, but an individual with a minor, nonchronic condition of short duration, such as a sprain, infection, or broken limb, generally would not be covered.
The second part of the definition would include, for example, a person with a history of cancer that is currently in remission or a person with a history of mental illness.
The third part of the definition protects individuals who are regarded and treated as though they have a substantially limiting disability, even though they may not have such an impairment. For example, this provision would protect a severely disfigured qualified individual from being denied employment because an employer feared the "negative reactions" of others.
The decision as to the appropriate accommodation must be based on the particular facts of each case. In selecting the particular type of reasonable accommodation to provide, the principal test is that of effectiveness, i.e., whether the accommodation will enable the person with a disability to do the job in question.
This page was last modified on January 15, 1997.
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