Individuals Protected by the Employment Provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Charlie C. Jones

DOI: 10.2190/C829-BB0G-LPPG-0LPB


On July 26,1990, President George Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The main purpose of the Act is "to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities" and "to provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities." Like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex, Title I of the ADA seeks to ensure access for the disabled to equal employment opportunities based on merit. However, it does not guarantee equal results, establish quotas, or require preferences favoring individuals with disabilities over those without disabilities. Therefore, in order to be covered by Title I of the Act, a person must be a qualified individual with a disability. However, the determination as to who is a "qualified individual with a disability" is difficult under the ADA since it does not provide a list of specific conditions constituting a covered disability. This article examines the Act's definition of disability and what it takes to be a "qualified individual with a disability."

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