November 18, 2022

31st Anniversary of ADA Has Special Significance This Year


Two women, one in a wheelchair and one standing, observe a crowd of people from afar.


Thirty-one years ago this week, then-president George H.W. Bush passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. It was a milestone in Federal law with wide ranging implications throughout US society, and, because of its extension of civil rights workplace protections to those with disabilities, special impact on our own practice in employment law.

With the passage of the ADA, employers could no longer discriminate against workers with disabilities. Furthermore, and in contrast with the Civil Rights Act, the ADA codified requirements that employers make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities. In addition to workplace laws, the ADA created numerous requirements for accessibility in all facets of life, including transportation access and public accommodations for those with disabilities.

Despite how far we’ve come since 1990 when the ADA was passed, a fully accessible society remains incomplete, both in and beyond the workplace. Additionally, with the pandemic, we face new challenges as we learn more about the virus and how it can affect our employment and our lives.

Therefore, as we mark the 31st anniversary, the ADA remains as relevant as ever to our practice as the state and country have been forced to think anew about workplace accommodations. In a speech marking the anniversary, President Biden promised that those with long-Covid would be protected under the ADA. We also want to acknowledge there’s more work to do and we remain committed to the tenets of accessibility for all.

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