The disability rights movement has gained significant support in the United States since its inception in the 1960s. When the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Americans who lived every day with the difficulties caused by disabilities began advocating for their rights and opportunities. Since then, advocates have worked tirelessly for people with disabilities, demanding equal rights and opportunities where they typically have been excluded simply because they are disabled. In response to this growing movement’s fight, in part, for equal opportunity in the workplace, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was signed into U.S. employment law by President George H. W. Bush. Penned by Democrat Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, the bill prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination of any employee or potential employee based on disability. The law prohibits such discrimination, not just in the workplace, but in other areas as well, including public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.
The Americans with Disabilities Act or the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals based on their disabilities. This is similar to other employment laws which protect the civil rights of individuals on the basis of race, religion, gender, or national origin. The ADA is meant to provide equal opportunities for individuals who have disabilities in the workplace, transportation, public accommodations, telecommunications and state and government services.
There are many different employment laws which have been developed over the years in order to provide safety in the workplace for employees. Employers should observe these laws and make available to their employees policies and procedures to follow in the event an employee feels one or more of them have been violated in some way. The workplace should be a safe place for employees and there can be serious repercussions for the employer if employment laws are not followed closely. Here are just a few of the main laws employees should be aware of.