What is the ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.
In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law and became effective on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the definition of “disability.” The changes in the definition of disability in the ADAAA apply to all titles of the ADA, including Title I (employment practices of private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies, labor unions, agents of the employer and joint management labor committees); Title II (programs and activities of state and local government entities); and Title III (private entities that are considered places of public accommodation).
What is Title II of the ADA?
Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in all programs, activities, and services of public entities. It applies to all state and local governments, their departments and agencies, and any other instrumentalities or special purpose districts of state or local governments. It clarifies the requirements of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, for public transportation systems that receive federal financial assistance, and extends coverage to all public entities that provide public transportation, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance. It establishes detailed standards for the operation of public transit systems, including commuter and intercity rail (e.g., AMTRAK).
This title outlines the administrative processes to be followed, including requirements for self-evaluation and planning; requirements for making reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures where necessary to avoid discrimination; architectural barriers to be identified; and the need for effective communication with people with hearing, vision and speech disabilities. This title is regulated and enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.
What is the ADA Transition Plan?
Public entities that have 50 or more employees are required to have a grievance procedure and to designate at least one responsible employee to coordinate ADA compliance. Although the law does not require the use of the term “ADA Coordinator,” it is commonly used by state and local governments across the country. The ADA Coordinator’s role is to coordinate the government entity’s efforts to comply with the ADA and investigate any complaints that the entity has violated the ADA. The Coordinator serves as the point of contact for individuals with disabilities to request auxiliary aids and services, policy modifications, and other accommodations or to file a complaint with the entity; for the general public to address ADA concerns; and often for other departments and employees of the public entity. The name, office address, and telephone number of the ADA Coordinator must be provided to all interested persons.
The 1991 ADA regulation required all public entities, regardless of size, to evaluate all of their services, policies, and practices and to modify any that did not meet ADA requirements. In addition, public entities with 50 or more employees were required to develop a transition plan detailing any structural changes that would be undertaken to achieve program access and specifying a time frame for their completion. Public entities were also required to provide an opportunity for interested individuals to participate in the self-evaluation and transition planning processes by submitting comments. While the 2010 regulation does not specifically require public entities to conduct a new self-evaluation or develop a new transition plan, they are encouraged to do so.
The City of Hammond adopted an ADA Transition Plan in 2012. As part of the City of Hammond’s ADA policy, the City has also adopted the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design and the 2005 Guidelines for Accessible Public Rights of Way.
Who is the ADA Coordinator?
The ADA Coordinator has been designated to be Sharon M. Daniels, Director of Personnel for the City of Hammond.
Contact information is as follows:
Sharon M. Daniels
5925 Calumet Avenue
Hammond, Indiana, 46320