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Disability Laws: Protecting the Rights of People with Impairment

There are federal and state laws which have been created to protect the rights of people with disability; allowing them to become productive individuals in a society free from discrimination.

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) is the most referred federal civil rights law that aims to protect the rights of disabled individuals including the right to access to commercial facilities, transportation, public accommodations, and telecommunications.

This Act also prohibits employment discrimination based on disability (mental or physical) while giving qualified workers with impairments the equal chance to have a decent work.

ADA, which applies to employers and companies with 15 workers or more, provides disabled individuals with the same employment benefits and compensation able-bodied co-workers are regularly receiving.

The Act prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires companies to adopt fair labor practices in these employment aspects:

  • Pays
  • Hiring
  • Promotion
  • Training
  • Use of facilities
  • Recruitment
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Benefits
  • Termination
  • Layoff
Special Accommodations for Disabled Individuals

To further uphold the rights and give special consideration to disabled people, ADA also requires state and local government to provide programs and social services that will be helpful to its constituents with disability. These programs include heath care, transportation, recreations, and sports events.

Another special accommodation for disabled individuals is the architectural standard specifically designed for them. According to ADA, government buildings and commercial facilities (e.g. warehouse and factories) should have wheelchair ramps, wheelchair lift, and parking areas for disabled.

If a building lacks special accommodations, the Act requires alterations of the design and re-construction that will cater to the disabled people.

In terms of transportation, ADA requires all public carriers including buses, commuter rails, and subways to provide special accommodation to disabled individuals; this includes a designated area for them and their companions.

State law for People with Disability

In California disability rights law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requires companies to provide the same employment opportunity for disabled people and to prevent all forms of discrimination and harassment.

FEHA is broader than the federal law since it also covers the housing rights of individuals with impairment.

Filing Disability Claims

If disabled individuals have been subjected to discrimination and other unfair labor practices, they can file a complaint before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The complaint should be filed within 180 days after the alleged discrimination happened. This deadline can be extended to 300 days when the violation falls under the state law.

In case that the EEOC has failed to resolve the dispute between the complainant and the company, or when the two parties did not come with a settlement, the aggrieved party can file a lawsuit before a federal court.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Disability Laws also requires public accommodations in places such as restaurants, theater houses, schools, retail stores, malls, markets, clinics, convention centers, zoos, recreation areas, gym, sports stadium, and day care centers to adopt non-discriminatory policies while prohibiting segregation, unequal treatment, and exclusion of disabled people.

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