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WHAT IS THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT?

On July 26, 1990, President George Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  This significant legislation extends civil rights to an estimated 43 million Americans with disabilities in much the same way that individuals are protected on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin and religion.   The ADA makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of disability in the areas of employment, public services, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications.

WHAT AND WHO DOES THE ADA COVER?

People with disabilities can no longer be denied employment just because they are disabled.  In addition, the ADA requires that restaurants, movie theaters, libraries, doctors’ offices, parks and millions of other public accommodations be accessible to people with disabilities.  The services provided by state and local governments must also conform to ADA requirements. 

The ADA applies to all people with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities.  Such activities include walking, talking, hearing, seeing, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks and caring for oneself.  Other kinds of major life activities contained in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Interpretive Guidelines include sitting, standing, lifting and reaching.  The law also applies to individuals who have a history of such impairment, as well as those who are perceived as having such impairment.

WHAT CAN OUR LOCAL ADA COMMITTEE DO FOR YOU?

Our committee will provide a forum for residents to report and discuss disability access issues within Fair Lawn, suggest improvements of borough facilities, engage in projects that improve overall handicapped accessibility within the Borough and disseminate information that can be of assistance to people with disabilities.

WHAT DOES THE ADA SAY ABOUT EMPLOYMENT?

The ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities with regard to job application procedures, hiring, advancement, compensation, training and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.

Applicants and employees are not protected from personnel actions based on their use of illegal drugs.  However, recovered or recovering drug users have rights under the act under specified conditions.

WHAT IF SOMEONE FINDS IT DIFFICULT TO PERFORM CERTAIN JOB TASKS?

If an individual with a disability can perform the essential job functions with reasonable accommodation, that individual may not be denied employment simply because of the disability.  Employers must provide reasonable accommodation for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities unless it would result in an undue hardship. 

In summary, the ADA requires an employer to hire a worker with a disability if that worker otherwise is best qualified for the job.

ARE YOU A RESIDENT WITH SPECIAL NEEDS?

The Borough of Fair Lawn Office of Emergency Management has established a Residential Special Needs Registry for residents who may require special attention during times of emergency.  If you, or someone you know, is using oxygen in their home, requires a walker to get around, is hearing or sight impaired or has any form of physical or mental disability, please register with our Office of Emergency Management.

Please be assured that all information is kept confidential and is distributed to police, fire, rescue, EMS, health and the public works department for use during emergencies.

If you would like to register, please feel free to contact Emergency Management at 201-794-5390.