Happy Birthday, ADA!

The Americans with Disabilities Act turned 25 years old last week. In celebration, Nichols Kaster shares 10 fun facts about this groundbreaking law:

  1. It was signed into law by President Bush (H.W., that is) on July 26, 1990.
  2. It was co-sponsored by two Democrats, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and Maryland Representative Steny Hoyer. Sen. Harkin retired this year, while Rep. Hoyer continues to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  3. Before the law was enacted, several hundred people with disabilities abandoned their walkers and wheelchairs at the footsteps of the U.S. Capitol and crawled or pulled themselves up the 100 steps to rally for its passage.
  4. About 1 in 5 Americans has a disability, according to the 2010 census.
  5. Americans with disabilities of working age are twice as likely to be unemployed as those without disabilities.
  6. The EEOC has received over 350,000 charges of discrimination asserting disability discrimination claims, and experienced a significant jump in annual claims after the 2008 Amendments.
  7. The ADA excludes “transsexualism” and “gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments” from coverage, exclusions which are now subject to scrutiny given many courts’, the President’s, and the Attorney General’s position that gender identity is a protected status for purposes of federal employment and Title VII. At least one recent case has challenged the exclusion as unconstitutional.
  8. The largest monetary award the EEOC has recovered in an ADA case is approximately $6.2 million, in the 2009 EEOC v. Sears Roebuck & Co case.
  9. The largest jury award was a $13 million punitive damage award in EEOC v. CEC Entertainment, where a person with “intellectual disabilities” was fired from his janitorial position. (The award was later reduced to comply with the statutory cap.)
  10. The largest private recovery appears to be a $61 million settlement in the 2007 class action case, Glover/Albrecht v. United States Postal Services.