The Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) had staggered compliance dates, most of which were in 1992, but one of which occurred on July 26, 1994. As of that date, the ADA became applicable to employers with 15 or more employees. Thus, the employment section (Title I) will apply to more real estate sales offices than in the past. Additionally, it is important for a real estate broker to know the relevant number of employees under state statute. For example, the statute in California protecting individuals with disabilities applies to employers with five or more employees.
As a reminder, the ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with disabilities. An individual is considered disabled if he has one of the following, (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) a record of such impairment, and (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. Examples include impairment in walking, seeing, caring for oneself, a history of mental illness, heart disease, cancer, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, AIDS, and HIV infection. Title I of the ADA applies to employment and protects qualified persons with a disability who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. Thus, if a real estate sales office has 15 or more employees, Title I applies.