The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment under Title I, and mandates their full participation in services and activities offered by local governments under Title II.
Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against a qualified individual with a disability in all aspects of employment, including job applications, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, training, and any other terms, conditions or privileges of employment. 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). Local governments must make reasonable accommodations for known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual unless to do so would result in an undue hardship. A local government cannot exclude people with disabilities from job opportunities unless they are unable to perform the essential functions of the job with reasonable accommodations. The employer cannot prefer or select a qualified person without a disability over an equally qualified person with a disability merely because the disabled person will require an accommodation.
The basic rule of Title II of the ADA is that no person is to be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of the programs, services or activities of local governments on the basis of a disability, nor be subjected to discrimination by local governments. Government services and activities covered under Title II include education, highways and roads, law enforcement, parks, courts, personnel, voting, taxpaying, deed recording, motor vehicle registration, public meetings and public transportation.
Counties are required to have an ADA coordinator and grievance procedures in place to deal with complaints of violations of the ADA. Counties were required to conduct a self- evaluation and make necessary structural changes in existing structures in accordance with detailed accessibility guidelines by specified deadlines; ADA accessibility guidelines also apply for any new construction.
For additional information, see Employment Discrimination.