The ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and ensures equal access and services to those individuals. The protections provided by the ADA are expansive and cover areas such as employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.
Under the act, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person’s major life activities, such as the ability to take care of oneself, perform manual tasks, walk, see, hear, breathe, learn, or work. A disability includes all forms of mental disorders, alcoholism, HIV, and previous drug addiction. ADA protection does not extend, however, to current illegal-drug users or those who pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.