Title I: - Enforcement Procedures
Title I of the ADA covers the employment of people with disabilities. Title I of the ADA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under the same procedures used to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
When do the ADA's employment enforcement provisions become effective?
Charges in discrimination can be filed against private employers with 25 or more employees and other covered entities beginning July 26, 1992. The alleged discriminatory act(s) must have occurred on or after July 26, 1992.
Charges can be filed against private employers with 15 or more employees beginning July 26, 1994. The alleged discriminatory act(s) must have occurred on or after July 26, 1994, if the charge is against an employer with 15 to 24 employees (State and local government beginning January 26, 1992).
Who can file charges of discrimination and where can a charge be filed?
An applicant or employee who feels that she/he has been discriminated against in employment on the basis of disability can file a charge with EEOC. An individual, group or organization also can file a charge on behalf of another person. A charge can be filed at:
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
210 Park Avenue, Suite 1350
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
405.231.4911 * 405.231.5745 (TDD)
What are the time limits for filing charges of discrimination?
A charge of discrimination on the basis of disability must be filed with EEOC within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act.
Can an individual file a lawsuit against an employer?
An individual can file a lawsuit against an employer, but she/he must first file the charge with EEOC. The charging party can request a "right to sue" letter from the EEOC 180 days after the charge was first filed with the Commission. A charging party will then have 90 days to file suit after receiving the notice of right to sue. If the charging party files suit, EEOC will ordinarily dismiss the original charges filed with the Commission. "Right to sue" letters also are issued when EEOC does not believe discrimination occurred or when conciliation attempts to fail and EEOC decides not to sue on the charging party's behalf.
What if the EEOC concludes that no discrimination occurred?
If the investigation finds no cause to believe discrimination occurred, EEOC will take no further action. EEOC will issue a "right to sue" letter to the charging party, who may initiate a private suit.
What if the EEOC concludes that discrimination occurred?
If the investigation shows that there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, EEOC, will attempt to resolve the issue through conciliation and to obtain full relief consistent with EEOC's standards for remedies for the charging party. If EEOC has found cause to believe that discrimination occurred, but cannot resolve the issue through conciliation, the case will be considered for litigation. If EEOC decides to litigate, a lawsuit will be filed in federal district court. If the Commission decides not to litigate, it will send the charging party a "right-to-sue" letter. The charging party may then initiate a private civil suit within 90 days, if desired. If conciliation fails a charge against a state or local government, EEOC will refer the case to the Department of Justice for consideration of litigation or issuance of a "right-to-sue" letter.
What remedies or penalties are involved?
The "relief" or remedies available for employment discrimination, whether caused by intentional acts or by practices that have a discriminatory effect, may include hiring, reinstatement, promotion, back pay, front pay, reasonable accommodation, or other actions that will make an individual "whole" (in the condition she/he would have been but for the discrimination). Remedies also may include payment of attorney's fees, expert witness fees and court costs.
Compensatory and punitive damages also may be available where intentional discrimination is found. Damages may be available to compensate for actual monetary losses, for future monetary losses, for mental anguish and inconvenience. Punitive damages also may be available if an employer acted with malice or reckless indifference. The total amount of punitive damages and compensatory damages for future monetary loss and emotional injury for each individual is limited, based upon the size of the employer.
Punitive damages are not available against state or local governments.
In cases concerning reasonable accommodation, compensatory or punitive damages may not be awarded to the charging party if an employer can demonstrate that "good faith" efforts were made to provide reasonable accommodation.