Qualified individual

The term qualified individual is used differently in different parts of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

  • Title 1: Title 1, which deals with employment, is concerned about discrimination against people who are qualified to do a job. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) uses specific language to describe how to tell whether someone is a qualified individual. Being qualified includes having the skills, experience, and background to meet a job’s requirements.
  • Title II and Title III: Title II covers state and local government (public entities), while Title III covers businesses and nonprofit organizations open to the public (public accommodations). Public entities and public accommodations must not discriminate against a person based on disability, so long as that person is otherwise qualified to benefit from, participate in, or access programs and services. For example, if a person must be a county resident to access the county’s social services, then a person with a disability must also be a county resident in order to gain access. In these cases, a qualified individual cannot be discriminated against based on a disability. This may require a reasonable modification to a practice or policy, using auxiliary aids or services for communication, removing physical barriers, or eliminating communication- or transportation-related barriers.


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