America has made great progress in recent years in removing the artificial barriers that can prevent people with disabilities from achieving economic self-sufficiency and participating fully in our society. But progress can’t be taken for granted, and too many of these barriers remain.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment and public services, public and private transportation, public accommodations and telecommunication services. The ADA covers private employers with 15 or more employees, employment agencies and all levels of government.

A person has a disability for the purposes of the ADA if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities, a record of such impairment or is regarded as having a condition people would mistakenly perceive as limiting, such as disfigurement. The ADA does not cover people with temporary disabilities, minor illnesses or active drug users or alcoholics.

The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to enable an otherwise qualified person with a disability to do his or her job.

If you think you are a victim of ADA-covered discrimination:

  • Keep a written record of incidents, including a description of the discrimination, what was said, time and place and witnesses.
  • Check with others in your workplace who might also be victims.
  • The best way to resolve issues on the job is to have an airline workers union. For airline employees who are members of an airline workers union, simply contact your shop steward. An airline workers union shop steward can help you write up a complaint and present it to management.

You may also file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, as an individual or part of a group (known as “class action”). The charges must be filed on an EEOC form within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. You can file a charge by calling 800-669-4000 for more information (800-669-6820 for the hearing impaired). Your complaint must include:

  • Your name, address and telephone number.
  • Your job title.
  • A brief description of the problem.
  • When the incident(s) occurred.
  • The type of discrimination you encountered.

For more information, visit

EEOC question-and-answer page about discrimination. For great links sites, visit:

ADA Information Center with introductory-level and detailed information links, as well as useful business sites.

Americans With Disabilities Act Information on the Web listing from the U.S. Department of Justice.

by the AFL-CIO,

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