equality and human rights commission

A Beginner’s Guide To The Disability Discrimination Act

5 Mins Read December, 12 2023 Posted by Debkanya Bhattacharya

Every now and then, we hear about the breakthroughs of a racial discrimination attorney or a gender discrimination attorney. They work their magic and help victims out. 

  • However, what do we really know about Disability Discrimination? 
  • Is there any legislation by the name of the Disability Discrimination Act? 

Luckily, there is. In the United Kingdom, there is a piece of legislation by the name of the Disability Discrimination Act. As the name suggests, it caters to the rights and duties of the Disabled citizens.  In this article, we will talk about the Disability Legislation in the US. 

Additionally, we will shed light on the Disability Discrimination Act, the ADA, and the US Constitution. 

Disability Discrimination

Did you know that disability discrimination is one of the most common types of discrimination in the world? Therefore, Disability discrimination laws don’t just make up a part of the UK legislation. Unfortunately, a sizeable part of the population in the US suffers from certain disabilities. 

They may be physically disabled or lack the gift of eyesight, hearing, or mobility. 

Additionally, let us not forget about mental disabilities. The American version of the Disability Discrimination Act is the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

What Is The Disability Discrimination Act?

The Disability Discrimination Act is an extremely important piece of legislation in the United Kingdom. Much like the Americans with Disabilities Act, it protects citizens from facing discrimination due to their disabilities. 

It regulates public life aspects like employment, education, or transportation or in the private sector. This Act takes all paths of life into consideration. Moreover, it also vows to protect disabled individual’s right to goods and services.

Therefore, the importance of the DDA is that it protects equal opportunities in the system. After all, law is meant to promote equality and justice for all. Additionally, the disability discrimination act requires all public and private bodies to make accommodations for people with disabilities. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act

There is no doubt that the Disability Discrimination Act has the sole objective of preventing discrimination on the basis of disability. The federal laws in the United States do not have any laws under that name. 

However, there is a similar law that serves as the primary legislation to curb disability discrimination in the US. Yes, it is none other than the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

It is a piece of legislation that guarantees the civil rights of people with disabilities. The lawmakers brought it into force in 1990. The Act prohibits discrimination against all citizens with disabilities.

So, let us go through the main features of this Act.

Main Features Of ADA

This Act has five main sections. Let us call them titles. Remember, each title brings into it a different aspect of discrimination Therefore, together, they cover all aspects of civilian life in the United States. 

Employment Under Title I Of The Act.

Title I strictly prohibits discrimination against all citizens with disabilities. This prohibition extends to all aspects of employment. Therefore, the acts of hiring, promotion, job assignments, and termination fall under it.

Title II Takes Into Account Government Services.

This is an extremely important title of the US version of the disability discrimination act. It covers programs and activities that the state and local governments carry out. Thus, it prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public enterprises. 

Title III Governs Public Accommodations.

Yes, you read that right. Not even public accommodations like transport, goods, services, or eateries can discriminate on the basis of disabilities. They have equal access to goods, services, facilities, etc. All places that are open to the public are open to disabled individuals. 

Telecommunications Sector Under Title IV.

Under this Title, telecommunications companies should provide equal services to disabled individuals. Moreover, the Act talks about individuals with hearing and speech disabilities.  

Title V Talks About Miscellaneous Provisions.

This part establishes the ADA’s relationship to other laws. Moreover, it also talks about certain exemptions. 

Who Is A Disabled Person?

To understand the workings of the Disability Discrimination Act, we must find out what the term means. Under the ADA, the term “disability” includes physical or mental impairment.

Here is a list of conditions that fit the category.

a.     Physiological disorder,

b.     A cosmetic disfigurement,

c.      Anatomical loss, or

d.     Lastly, a mental or psychological disorder.

The Disability Discrimination Act And The ADA

By now, we clearly understand that both the laws have the common goal of anti-discrimination policies. They ensure equal opportunities and access to disabled citizens in all walks of life. 

What Makes The ADA As Important As The Disability Discrimination Act?

The Americans With Disabilities Act defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment.” The severity of the disability under the act should be such that it limits one or more major life activities. 

Moreover, there should be an official record of this impairment. Thus, this provision keeps fraud at bay by proper authorization. 

This Act Keeps A Check On Employers And Supports Anti-Retaliation

All service providers and employers will have to make reasonable accommodations to ensure equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Moreover, there has to be accessible design and facilities so that disabled people can participate equally. 

The ADA protects all people who raise their voices against discrimination. It prohibits retaliation against all such disabled people who are fighting for equal rights under the law.

To Conclude

Now that we have come to the very end of this article let us have a quick recap. Under the disability discrimination act of the US, the ADA, any impairment that limits major life activities is a disability. 

Major life activities can include hearing, speaking, walking, seeing, working, caring for oneself, breathing, learning, etc. 

Through the act, disability discrimination protection ensures equal opportunities for all disabled citizens. If their rights are denied, they can go to court. 

Be it in employment, education, public services, and other areas of life, discrimination is illegal in the US.  

Thus, the protection of individuals with disabilities is an important tenet in the protection of human rights. It protects equal access to individuals, with different abilities, to the same rights and freedoms.

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