Document Detail

Title: SP50-1 - Americans with Disabilities Act: Key Issues for the Design and Construction Industry
Publication Date: 11/1/1993
Product Type: Special Publication
Status: Archived Tool
Pages: 58
This publication has been archived, but is available for download for informational purposes only.

Includes presentation tools, such as compliance flow charts for workplace training, and a key resource list for easy access to additional ADA information.
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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) represents landmark anti-discriminatory legislation on behalf of the disabled community. Previous civil rights legislation protects individuals from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, sex, and religion. In a similar manner, ADA gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities.

Titles of ADA

The five Titles of ADA are:
Title I – Employment Title II – Public Services and Transportation
Title III – Public Accommodations/Commercial Facilities
Title IV – Telecommunications
Title V – Miscellaneous Provisions

Title I requires employers to give qualified individuals with disabilities the same consideration for employment that individuals without disabilities are given. A qualified individual with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the position. However, employers are not required to endure an undue hardship due to an accommodation or to pose a direct threat to the health and safety of the individual, co-workers, or the public.

Title II requires public entities (state and local governments) to operate each service, program or activity such that, when viewed in its entirety, it is readily accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities.

Title III requires that persons with disabilities be provided access to goods and services within places of public accommodation and new or altered commercial facilities equal to or similar to that available to the general public.

Title IV contains specific requirements for any transmittal by wire or radio.

Title V contains various requirements and includes provisions for mediation of claims, non-retaliation towards those asserting their rights under ADA, specifically allows drug testing, and provides for attorney fees.

Titles IV and V are not addressed in this publication.

Title I of the ADA, which addresses employment issues for new and current employees, went into effect on July 26, 1992. Titles II and III went into effect on January 26, 1992. These portions of the law concern accessibility for both new and altered places of business and public services. Title III is unprecedented in that it is the first civil rights law to affect both building and site design.

Subsequently, facility owners and members of the design and construction industry have become concerned about the potentially far-reaching implications of the law. Further clarification regarding its intent and enforcement is needed. Until awareness of the law increases and legal precedent is established, facility owners and employers are at increased risk of litigation or may compromise design (and incur increased costs) to respond to ADA issues.

CII’s ADA Impacts Task Force

In 1992, CII established the ADA Impacts Task Force. The mission of the task force was to develop a better understanding of the legislation, evaluate its impact on the design and construction industry and provide useful, timely information.

CII’s ADA Publication

This publication is intended to provide a general overview of ADA to increase awareness and understanding. It identifies key compliance concerns, referred to in this book as “Watch Outs,” and provides compliance flow charts for Titles I, II, and III. The flow charts identify key steps and decision points in the compliance process. In addition, a resource list is included for more information on all aspects of Titles I, II , and III of ADA .

The publication is designed to enable the user to access information readily as a tool for training in the workplace. As such, information is presented in bullet form and can be used to easily develop overhead transparencies.

Compliance Is Good Business Practice

The population of individuals with disabilities consists of 43 million Americans, many of whom want to work. These individuals have disabilities ranging from hearing impairments to physical impairments, and even to alcoholism. Most disabilities are not physical as stereotyped by the population in general.

Compliance makes good business sense. The cost of compliance is significantly lower than many anticipated. The policies and practices that ADA generates will improve hiring practices. Accessibility improvements for example, will have a positive impact on safety as ramps are installed, lighting levels are increased, and corridors are widened.

ADA is the law—a law which requires that a good faith effort to comply with its intent be made. It is a law that encourages employers and employees to communicate with one another to allow accommodation to be mutually developed.

Clearly, greater public awareness and more training are required to bring about ADA compliance. Hiring practices must be modified: employers, supervisors, and co-workers must be sensitized to the needs of the disabled. Stereotypes, which are particularly strong in the construction industry, must be removed.

The vagaries of the legislation will be clarified only through litigation. Until then, many nuances of the legislation will have to be interpreted by employers and property owners. The results, however, will open the workplace to an expanded work force, bring in fresh talent and skills, and make facilities more universally accessible to the entire population.