The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA is one of America's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life -- to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 -- the ADA is an "equal opportunity" law for people with disabilities.
To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.
Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended
The text of the law
Guide to Disability Rights Laws
Find out more about the ADA and other laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities.
Title II Regulations
The Department of Justice regulations that implement the ADA for state and local goverments
Title III Regulations
The Department of Justice regulations that implement the ADA for businesses and non-profit service providers
ADA Technical Assistance Materials
Information about the ADA and how to comply with the law
Department of Justice ADA Responsibilities
The Department's Disability Rights Section protects the rights of people with disabilities.
Federal and ADA Disability Resources
ADA responsibilities of Federal agencies outside of the Department and other resources for people with disabilities
ADA Signing Ceremony
Watch the video of the 1990 ADA signing cermony.
File an ADA Complaint
If you believe you have been discriminated against on the basis of disability, file a complaint under the ADA.
If you have questions about the ADA and want to talk to an Department of Justice ADA Information Specialist, go to ADA Information Line for the Department's toll-free telephone numbers and times of operation.