ADA Summary

July 26, 1990, President George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA S.933) into law.

The ADA is a comprehensive bill designed to end discrimination against persons with handicaps and to provide full accessibility for persons with handicaps, including communication handicaps such as hearing impairment. Reasonable accommodations of the ADA involve making existing facilities accessible to the disabled. This includes making an acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, including amplifiers, assistive devices, or hearing aids.

The following is a summary of relevant ADA requirements and guidelines that are specific to the hearing impaired.

Facilities Required to Provide Access:
Virtually all privately-owned businesses that provide goods and services to consumers, clients, or visitors.

Categories include:
Public Accommodations:
ADA Requirements: "No person shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation."

Discrimination Includes:
Failure to provide auxiliary aids and services unless the entity can demonstrate that such a provision would fundamentally alter the nature of the program or cause undue hardship.

Failure to remove architectural and communication barriers in existing facilities unless the entity can demonstrate that the change is not readily achievable. No exemptions have been made for small business.

Discrimination in employment includes: "not making reasonable accommodations to the known limitations of a qualified person with a disability, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship, entails significant difficulty or expense (which depends on the overall size of the business), nature and cost of the accommodation, number and type of facilities, and budget size."

Note: Undue hardship will be difficult to prove for hearing assistance equipment, because of its modest cost.


When was this law in effect?
July, 1992 for employers with 25 or more employees.
July, 1994 for employers with 15 or more employees.

How is the ADA enforced?
Currently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has enforcement responsibility and can bring civil lawsuits against employers.

What are the penalties?
Assistive Listening Systems and Compliance with the ADA:
The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (ATBCB) states that FM, infrared and induction loop assistive listening systems are acceptable for meeting the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


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Last updated 99/11/18
© Leonard Pham, Scott Hampton, Sangwon Lee, Joshua Kneas, 1997. Edited and maintained by J.A.N. Lee.

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