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Legal News
New Guide to ADA Procedures
Psychiatric News
Volume 36 Number 2 page 19-19

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a valuable mechanism for preventing disability-based discrimination and seeking redress where violations of its provisions have occurred—that is, if Americans actually know how to use the law to their benefit.

To help people with psychiatric disabilities navigate the process of getting a discrimination claim addressed under the ADA, the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), a division of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has published a guide titled Filing an ADA Employment Discrimination Charge: Making It Work for You.

The need for such a guide is clearly substantial. SAMHSA’s acting administrator, Joseph Autry, M.D., noted that since the ADA was enacted 10 years ago, "psychiatric disabilities have ranked second in terms of number of charges filed under the employment provisions of the ADA. This new guide is a tool for understanding the extent the ADA can be of help" when someone believes he or she was discriminated against because of a mental illness.

CMHS Director Bernard Arons, M.D., pointed out that with discrimination a major contributor to unemployment among people with psychiatric disabilities, it is crucial that individuals with these disabilities "know how the ADA employment discrimination process works and how to assure that their rights are protected."

The free guide is available from CMHS by calling (800) 789-2647 or through the agency’s Web site at www.mentalhealth.org.

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