Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications and governmental activities. The ADA also establishes requirements for telecommunications relay services. The Act has since been amended by The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) that redefined disability and instituted several other provisions.
The purpose of the ADA is to:
- Provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities;
- Provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities;
- Ensure that the federal government plays a central role in enforcing the standards established in this Act on behalf of individuals with disabilities; and
- Invoke the sweep of congressional authority, including the power to enforce the fourteenth amendment and to regulate commerce, in order to address the major areas of discrimination faced day-to-day by people with disabilities.
The Office of Equal Opportunity facilitates and monitors the provision of accommodations to employees with disabilities.
Section 504, Rehabilitation Act
“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . .” 29 U.S.C. § 794(a).
The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs receiving federal financial assistance and in the employment practices of federal contractors. Each federal agency has its own set of § 504 regulations but all include reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities, program accessibility, effective communication for individuals who have hearing or vision disabilities, and accessible new construction. Section 504 and the ADA also prohibit retaliation for raising a complaint under these acts or for advocating for a right these acts protect.
Individuals with concerns or questions about the ADA or Section 504 may contact the University of Maine’s ADA and Section 504 Coordinator:
Office of Equal Opportunity
5754 North Stevens Hall, Room 101
University of Maine
Orono Maine 04469-5754