Cape Organization for Rights of the Disabled

You've Got Rights!


You've Got Rights

Table of Contents

The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that was passed in 1990. It protects people with disabilities of all ages from discrimination. The ADA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment (such as low vision, deafness, speech disability, cerebral palsy, HIV, heart disease, epilepsy, intellectual disabilities, depression, learning disabilities, and more) that substantially limits one or more major life activity (such as walking, talking, seeing, breathing, learning, working, etc.)

In addition to people with disabilities, the ADA also protects people who have a record of having a disability (such as someone who had cancer, drug addiction, alcoholism, or mental illness in the past), people who are regarded as having a disability, and people who were wrongly classified as having a disability. If you are denied a job as a waiter because you have severe scars from a fire, you are protected. If you are rumored to be a drug addict, you are also protected by the ADA from discrimination.

The ADA also protects against discrimination on the basis of association. Your family and friends cannot be discriminated against because you have a disability. If you join a disability rights organization or work with people with disabilities, you are protected against discrimination.

The three main sections of the ADA cover employment, public entities (state and local governments) and public accommodations (businesses).

For more information on your rights, call CORD at (508) 775-8300
or one of the other resources listed at the end of this guide.
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