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Americans with Disability Act

Americans with Disability Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination and ensure equal access to employment, public accommodations, and government services. The ADA has been instrumental in improving the lives of millions of Americans with disabilities, but there is still work to be done to ensure full compliance and inclusion for all individuals. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of the ADA, its impact, and changes that have been made in recent years.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including employment, transportation, and public accommodations. The ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities to perform essential job functions.

The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, or hearing. The ADA also protects individuals who have a history of disability or who are perceived to have a disability.

Title I: Employment

Title I of the ADA prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities. This can include modifications to the work environment, job duties, or work schedule to allow an individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of their job.

Title II: State and Local Government Services

Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local government entities. This includes public transportation, public schools, and other government services. State and local governments must provide equal access to programs and services for individuals with disabilities.

Title III: Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities

Title III of the ADA requires businesses that are open to the public to provide equal access to individuals with disabilities. This includes access to buildings, goods, and services. Businesses are required to remove physical barriers, such as stairs and narrow doorways, and make reasonable modifications to policies and procedures to provide equal access to individuals with disabilities.

Impact of the ADA

The ADA has had a profound impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities. Prior to the passage of the ADA, individuals with disabilities faced significant barriers to access and participation in everyday life. The law has ensured that individuals with disabilities are able to obtain and maintain employment, access public transportation and government services, and participate in social and recreational activities.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities has decreased significantly since the passage of the ADA in 1990. In 2019, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities was 7.3%, down from 14.3% in 1988.

The ADA has also had a positive impact on the accessibility of public and private spaces. Buildings and facilities are now required to be designed and built with accessibility in mind, and businesses have made accommodations to make their goods and services accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Changes to the ADA

While the ADA has brought significant improvements in the lives of individuals with disabilities, there have been changes in recent years that have sparked controversy and debate around the law.

In September 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a statement indicating that it intends to amend the ADA regulations to clarify website accessibility requirements for businesses. This has been an ongoing issue, with many businesses facing lawsuits claiming that their website is not accessible for individuals with disabilities.

The ADA also faces criticism for not doing enough to address economic disparity among individuals with disabilities. According to a report by the National Council on Disabilities, individuals with disabilities experience poverty rates twice as high as those without disabilities, and face additional barriers to accessing education and employment opportunities.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for the ADA to address the unique challenges faced by individuals with disabilities in times of crisis. Individuals with disabilities may require additional accommodations and resources during emergencies, and the ADA may need to be amended to provide additional protections and support.

Resources for Understanding the ADA

There are several resources available for individuals with disabilities and businesses to better understand the ADA and their responsibilities under the law.

1. ADA National Network

The ADA National Network provides information, guidance, and technical assistance on the ADA. The network includes 10 regional centers and a national center, and provides training and resources for individuals with disabilities, businesses, and state and local governments.

2. Department of Justice ADA Homepage

The Department of Justice ADA Homepage provides information on the ADA, including regulations, enforcement activities, and guidance on compliance. The website also includes information on filing complaints and provides resources for individuals with disabilities and businesses.

3. Job Accommodation Network

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a resource for employers and employees to provide information and guidance on workplace accommodations. JAN provides free, confidential consultations to help employers identify and implement accommodations for employees with disabilities.

4. National Council on Disability

The National Council on Disability is an independent federal agency that provides advice and recommendations to the president, Congress, and federal agencies on policies and programs that affect individuals with disabilities. The council conducts research, provides guidance on disability policy, and raises awareness on disability issues.


The Americans with Disabilities Act has been instrumental in improving the lives of individuals with disabilities, but there is still work to be done to ensure full compliance and inclusion. Individuals with disabilities continue to face challenges in accessing employment, education, and other opportunities, and businesses must work to ensure accessibility and accommodations for all individuals. By utilizing resources such as the ADA National Network and the Job Accommodation Network, businesses can ensure compliance with the law and ensure equal access for all.

What is the Americans with Disability Act of 1990?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 extended the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to all persons with disabilities. It provides for the “reasonable accommodation” of individuals with disabilities and bans discrimination against these individuals by employers and business owners.

What constitutes a disability under the Americans with Disability Act?

Disabilities under the ADA must impair “major life activities” due to either physical or mental limitations. Therefore, impairments from asthma and cancer to the loss of a limb are considered disabilities under the Americans with Disability Act guidelines. Mental retardation and learning disabilities are considered mental impairments and are also considered disabilities. This does not include character flaws and personality traits such as an inability to work with others, poor time management or irresponsibility.

Drug addiction is also considered impairment but most provisions of the ADA will not apply to current users that the employer or business owner has a reasonable belief that there is an addiction and that it will be a problem in the present or near future.

An impairment implies that the limitation prevents the individual from functioning like a normal individual and is subject to reasonable limitations. The inability to stand for more than 30 minutes due to a leg injury is an impairment as most will be able to stand for much longer without trouble. A football kicker that cannot kick a football more than 50 yards is not impaired as most individuals cannot kick a football that far. That inability will however affect his job performance. Not all limitations experienced by employees are impairments.

Impairments can be temporary conditions and are also covered under the Americans with Disability Act of 1990.

Summary of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990

Title 1 – Employment

One of the key provisions of the Americans with Disability Act is the restrictions placed against discrimination in the workplace. Prior to this act, job applicants could be rejected on the sole basis of a disability and employees could be fired for developing a disability.

Under the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, employers must provide qualified employees and applicants with “reasonable accommodation” for employees with disabilities. They may not:

– Force disabled job applicants to take medical examinations prior to a job offer and may only require an examination if all applicants undergo the same confidential examination.

– Disqualify an applicant on the sole basis of disability

– Disqualify a employee for a promotion on the sole basis of disability

– Fail to provide an employee with adequate training that does not take his disability into account.

Almost all organizations that employ more than fifteen workers and engage in business across state lines are “covered entities” under the Americans with Disability Act of 1990. Interstate commerce falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government where the authority to enforce the ADA is derived.

A provision in Title 1 that allowed states to be sued for damages in disability discrimination cases was stuck down by the US Supreme Court in the case of Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett (see below)

Title 2 – Public Entities

The next provision of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 bans discrimination of all persons with disabilities by “public entities” including public transportation. The Americans with Disability act defines a public entity as:

– Any State or local government

– Any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or local government

– Certain commuter authorities as well as AMTRAK.

More broadly, a public entity is an enterprise that is operated with public funds, receives significant assistance by the federal government or has management appointed by elected officials. Libraries, subsidized commuter rail and businesses on public land are examples of public entities that must abide by the provisions of Title 2.

Public-private partnerships such as museums must abide by both Title 2 and Title 3 (see below)

Title 3 – Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities

The next provision of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 bans discrimination by private entities against all persons with disabilities when they attempt to enjoy a public good or service that is normally available to the public. The provisions include ensuring that all establishments where compliance is “readily achievable” will rectify any issues with their facility. Any new construction must abide by the provisions set by the Americans with Disability Act guidelines.

Title 3 covers:

– Places of public accommodation

– Commercial facilities

– Examinations and courses related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary or postsecondary education, professional, or trade purposes.

The scope of enterprises covered by this provision is very broad and covers all establishments that lease, rent, provide services or sell goods. Additionally if the establishment is public gathering place, educational institution, park or lodging enterprise with more than six rooms, they must also follow reasonable accommodation rules. The provisions do not cover all establishments owned by an individual, only the ones that provide public accommodations.

Goods and services, such as swimming pools and meeting rooms in residential facilities are not places of public accommodation if they are closed to external membership or the general public. Therefore, these facilities do not need to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act under this specific guideline.
Many religious and private organizations are exempt from these provisions due to financial burdens or the level of public accommodations they provide, if any. Private organizations that lease or operate a space that provides public accommodations would have to abide by Title 2 and 3 provisions.

Title 4 – Telecommunications

The Americans with Disabilities Act also requires telecommunications companies to provide disability accommodations for the hearing impaired including relay services that provide for text-based phone calls.

Title 5 – Misc

The most important provision in Title 5 protects individuals from retaliation and coercion for exercising the rights granted by the Americans with Disability Act.

Opposition to the Americans with Disability Act

Private business owners and religious groups alike opposed the ADA for provisions that required the accommodation of individuals with disabilities at the expense of the establishment. These opponents charged that their legal liabilities had jumped significantly and represented an undue burden on small businesses. Provisions such as “readily achievable” modifications and “reasonable accommodation” ameliorated most of these concerns. Most churches were able to retain their status as non-provider of public accommodations, thus allowing them to remain outside of the enforcement of this law.

Critics also charged that the potential liabilities that arise from the ADA could lead employers to discriminate subtly against disabled job applicants owing to an increased risk of lawsuits by disabled employees that perceive that their needs are not adequately provided. The employer would rather search for a reason to not hire the disabled worker and face a potential lawsuit for non-compliance under the provisions of this law.

Important court cases related to the Americans with Disabilities Act

(2001) Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett

Two employees of the University of Alabama sued the organization for failing to provide reasonable accommodation and reassigning workers with disabilities. By the time this case arrived in the Supreme Court, a provision in Title 1 that allowed states to be sued for violation of the ADA was challenged. The challenge was upheld as a violation of the eleventh amendment that guarantees the sovereign immunity of states from litigation.

(2004) Barden v. Sacramento

The City of Sacramento was sued successfully for failing to provide sidewalks that were easily accessible for the impaired. Sidewalks were ruled public accommodations and municipalities were required to move sidewalk obstacles, ensure that there were “curb cuts” and maintained a reasonable slope and even level.

(2005) Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Lines

A foreign company was found to be in violation of Title III of the ADA for selling tickets that were marked as handicap friendly but failing to provide reasonable accommodation. The cruise ships were based in American waters, despite their foreign registry and were required to abide by American law in American waters.

(2006) National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corporation

This case related to the accessibility to the Target Corporation’s website for the vision impaired persons attempting to access it. Target argued that only their physical locations were bound by the ADA and not their website. The court disagreed and Target was forced to comply and pay the costs of the plaintiff’s fees as well as a class action settlement. Certain electronic retailers must now comply by standards to make their website accessible.

Source: ada.gov

What you should know about the Fair Labor Standards Act

What you should know about the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards for employees in the United States. The law applies to businesses that have at least $500,000 in annual gross receipts, or engage in interstate commerce.

The FLSA helps to ensure that workers are fairly compensated for their time and labor, and protects them from being exploited by employers. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of the FLSA, including its history, provisions, and recent changes.

History of the Fair Labor Standards Act

The FLSA was signed into law in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in response to widespread worker exploitation during the Great Depression. The law established a minimum wage, maximum workweek, and outlawed child labor in most industries.

Over the years, the FLSA has been amended and expanded to cover more workers and provide additional protections. In 1949, the law was extended to cover all workers engaged in interstate commerce, and in 1974, it was expanded to cover state and local government employees.

Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act

1. Minimum Wage

The FLSA establishes a federal minimum wage that employers are required to pay to employees. As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Some states have established a higher minimum wage, which employers in those states must comply with.

2. Overtime Pay

The FLSA requires employers to pay overtime to non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Overtime pay must be one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. Exempt employees, such as executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are not eligible for overtime pay.

3. Child Labor Standards

The FLSA sets restrictions on the hours and types of work that minors are allowed to perform. For example, 14 and 15-year-old employees are generally restricted from working more than 3 hours on a school day, or more than 8 hours on a non-school day. Minors are also prohibited from performing hazardous work, such as operating heavy machinery or working with toxic substances.

4. Recordkeeping

Under the FLSA, employers are required to keep accurate records of hours worked, wages paid, and other employment-related information. This helps to ensure that employees are being fairly compensated, and provides a record of employment for legal or tax purposes.

Recent Changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act

In recent years, the FLSA has undergone several changes and updates to reflect the evolving nature of the workforce. Here are a few of the most notable updates:

1. Changes to Overtime Pay Rules

In 2016, the Department of Labor issued a rule change that would have increased the salary threshold for exempt employees from $23,660 to $47,476 per year. This would have made an estimated 4.2 million additional workers eligible for overtime pay. However, the rule change was ultimately struck down by a federal judge in 2017, and the salary threshold remains at $23,660.

2. Joint Employer Rule

In 2020, the Department of Labor issued a new rule that clarified the definition of “joint employment” under the FLSA. Joint employment refers to situations where an employee has two or more employers, or where one employer is deemed to be jointly liable for violations committed by another employer. The new rule provided a four-factor test to help determine when joint employment exists.

3. Independent Contractor Rule

In 2021, the Department of Labor withdrew a rule that would have made it easier for employers to classify workers as independent contractors, rather than employees. The rule would have allowed employers to use a simpler test to determine whether a worker was an independent contractor, which could have resulted in fewer protections and benefits for workers.

Enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for enforcing the provisions of the FLSA. The WHD investigates complaints and conducts audits of employers to ensure compliance with the law. Employers found to be in violation of the FLSA may be required to pay back wages and face civil or criminal penalties.

Employees who believe their rights under the FLSA have been violated can file a complaint with the WHD. Complaints may be filed anonymously and there are protections against retaliation by employers.


The Fair Labor Standards Act is a critical law that protects workers and ensures that they are fairly compensated for their time and labor. By establishing minimum wage, overtime pay, child labor standards, and recordkeeping requirements, the FLSA helps to prevent worker exploitation and promote fair employment practices.

Recent changes to the FLSA, such as the joint employer and independent contractor rules, have sparked debate and controversy. However, the fundamental goal of the law remains unchanged: to protect the rights and interests of workers in the United States. Employers must comply with the provisions of the FLSA to avoid legal consequences and ensure a fair and ethical workplace for their employees.

What is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act is a fundamental piece of legislation passed by the United States Federal Government and enforced by the Department of Labor. The Fair Labor Standards Act is responsible for establishing minimum wage, recordkeeping regulations, overtime pay rates and youth employment standards, which affect employees in both the private sector and in Federal, State and local governments. The Fair Labor Standards Act affirmed, for covered nonexempt workers, a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and overtime pay at a rate no less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for a normal 40 hour work week.

Specifics associated with the Fair Labor Standards Act:

The Fair Labor Standards Act Minimum Wage laws:

o The Fair Labor Standards Act Minimum Wage law, as of July 24, 2009, is $7.25 per hour. Although the Fair Labor Standards Act institutes federal mandates, each individual state has the ability to raise the minimum wage scale. In cases where an individual employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the individual will be entitled to the higher minimum wage rate.

The Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Laws:

o The Fair Labor Standards Act states that all covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek at a rate no less than one and one-half times their regular pay rate. The Fair Labor Standards Act offer no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in a given work week.

Furthermore, the Fair Labor Standards Act does not require overtime pay for work on weekends or holidays, unless overtime is worked on such days.

The Fair Labor Standards Act Hours Worked Laws:

o The Fair Labor Standards Act states that all hours worked ordinarily, including all the time during which the employee is required to be on the employer’s premises or on duty must be kept and displayed in accordance with the United States Federal Government. Through these laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act aims to protect the educational opportunities of minors by prohibiting employers from exploiting children.

What you should know about the Labor Board:

What you should know about the Labor Board:


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is an independent federal agency that serves to enforce and interpret the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in order to protect the rights of employees to organize and collectively bargain with employers. They are a vital resource for workers who feel like they are being treated unfairly by their employers. This article aims to explain the functions of the NLRB, including their role in resolving workplace disputes, and how they help ensure fair and just working conditions for employees.

Origin of the NLRB

The NLRB was created in 1935 as part of the NLRA, which was designed to prevent employers from interfering with workers’ right to organize unions and engage in collective bargaining. The NLRB is responsible for conducting representation elections, investigating unfair labor practices, and promoting collective bargaining between employers and employees.

The NLRB consists of five members appointed by the president of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. Their term is five years, and the board’s makeup must include no more than three members of the same political party. This structure ensures that the NLRB operates in a nonpartisan manner.

Roles and Responsibilities of the NLRB

The NLRB is charged with two primary responsibilities: (1) promoting and protecting the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively, and (2) preventing and remedying unfair labor practices committed by employers and unions.

Representation Elections

One of the primary functions of the NLRB is to oversee representation elections, which determine whether a group of workers will be represented by a union. For workers to hold an election, they must first file a petition with the NLRB, which then verifies that the workers are covered by the NLRA and have enough support from their colleagues to proceed with an election. Once the election is authorized, the NLRB conducts the election and certifies the results.

Investigation of Unfair Labor Practices

The NLRB also investigates and adjudicates claims of unfair labor practices committed by unions and employers. Unfair labor practices include things like intimidating or retaliating against workers who seek to organize a union, discriminating against employees who support a union, and refusing to bargain in good faith with employees or their union representatives.

The NLRB investigates complaints of unfair labor practices by conducting investigations and holding hearings to determine whether there has been a violation of the NLRA. If the NLRB finds that an employer or union has committed an unfair labor practice, it may issue an order requiring the party to cease and desist from the unlawful activity and to take certain corrective actions.

Enforcement and Remedies

The NLRB has the power to enforce its orders and seek remedies for unfair labor practices. Remedies may include back pay, reinstatement of fired workers, and requiring employers or unions to post a notice admitting to the unlawful conduct and promising not to engage in similar activity in the future. If a party fails to comply with an NLRB order, the NLRB may seek an order from a federal court to enforce the order.

The NLRB’s Jurisdiction

The NLRB has jurisdiction over most private sector employers, with the exception of agricultural, domestic, and some small businesses. The NLRB has jurisdiction over employees who engage in interstate commerce, which includes nearly all employees who work for an employer that engages in interstate commerce. The NLRB does not, however, have jurisdiction over public sector employees, who are covered by state labor laws.

How the NLRB Helps Workers

The NLRB’s work is critical to ensuring that employees have a voice in their workplace and that their rights are protected. The NLRB’s role in promoting and protecting employee rights is especially important in today’s economy, where many workers lack job security and are precariously employed.

Collective Bargaining

The NLRB plays an important role in promoting collective bargaining, which is the process by which workers and employers negotiate the terms and conditions of employment. Collective bargaining is a fundamental right under the NLRA, and the NLRB ensures that employers negotiate in good faith with employees and their union representatives.

Protection from Retaliation

The NLRB also protects workers from retaliation if they choose to engage in protected concerted activity, which is when workers act together to improve their working conditions. Protected concerted activity includes things like discussing pay and benefits, raising concerns about safety, and organizing a union. The NLRB takes these rights seriously and will take action against employers who retaliate against workers who engage in protected concerted activity.

History of the NLRB

The NLRB has had a long and often controversial history. Over the years, the NLRB has faced criticism from both business groups and labor unions. Business groups have criticized the NLRB for being overly favorable to unions at the expense of employers, while labor unions have criticized the NLRB for being too slow to act and not doing enough to protect workers’ rights.

Recently, the NLRB has come under significant political pressure, with Republican officials calling for the board to be disbanded altogether. President Trump appointed a series of pro-business members to the board, who worked to reverse many of the Obama-era policies that labor advocates had pushed for.

However, with the election of President Biden, the NLRB may be poised for significant changes. President Biden has pledged to support worker rights and to strengthen the NLRB’s role in promoting collective bargaining and protecting workers’ rights.


The National Labor Relations Board is an essential institution for protecting employee rights and ensuring fair working conditions. Its role in promoting collective bargaining and protecting workers from retaliation is crucial in today’s economy, where job security and fair treatment are increasingly hard to come by. While the NLRB has faced its share of criticism and controversy over the years, its mission remains essential, and its continued existence is crucial for the protection of workers’ rights.

What is the Labor Board?

The National Labor Relations Board is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government, responsible for conduction elections for the majority of labor union officials and representatives. Furthermore, the labor board is charged with investigating and subsequently remedying unfair labor practices in the United States. Unfair labor practices include union-related instances of protected concerted activities; the National Labor Relations Board, through its five-person governing board, is responsible for appeasing such situations. Each member of the National Labor Relations Board is appointed by the President of the United States with the direct consent of the Senate. Members of the Labor Board are appointed to five-year terms, while the General Counsel is appointed to a four-year term. The General Counsel acts as the form prosecutor, whereas the Labor Board itself acts as an appellate judicial body to honor decisions of administrative law judges.

Labor Board Quick Facts:

• The national labor board was established on July 5th of 1935

• The national labor board possesses jurisdiction over the Federal government of the United States

• The agency’s headquarters are located in Washington, D.C.

• The national board is led by Chairman Wilma Liebman; the agency operates with nearly 1,650 employees

Labor Board’s Jurisdictional Powers:

The national labor board’s jurisdiction, in a specific sense, is only limited to private sector employers and the United States Postal Service. As a result, the labor Board possesses no authority over labor relation disputes involving government employees (including all railway and airline) who are specifically covered under the Adamson Railway Labor Act. Contact a labor lawyer to protect your rights.

The Labor Board administers charges filed by parties against unions or employers through one of their regional officers. Each regional office is responsible for investigating the complaint; if a charge is deemed to be viable, the regional office will transfer the case to an Administrative Law Judge who will then conduct a hearing. All decisions rendered by the Administrative Law Judge are susceptible for review by the five member labor board. That being said, all decisions rendered by the five-person labor board are reviewable by the United States Courts of Appeals.The labor board’s decisions are not self-enforceable; the labor board, because of this, must seek court enforcement in order to force a party to comply with the suggested orders.