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How did the Americans With Disabilities Act come about?

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Quick Answer

The U.S. Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, making it the country's first civil rights legislation designed to meet the needs of disabled people, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The law prohibits discrimination in the provision of public services, employment, telecommunications and public accommodations

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Full Answer

As part of enacting the law, Congress stipulated that the law would not take full effect for two years. This gave the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission time to develop a series of regulations and provide both assistance and education to companies and individuals about the provisions of the new law. This also gave employers time to adjust their practices to suit the new regulations, notes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Sixty-two public meetings took place around the United States, allowing employer organizations and disability rights groups to provide their input about the best way to write regulations to make the Americans with Disabilities Act practical. A set of regulations and an explanatory supplement came out in July 1991, a full year before provisions of the law were set to take place. A technical assistance manual also was published to give employers and disabled persons guidance about how to interact with the law, reports the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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