GT IndependenceResources and ToolsResourcesDisability Garrison – Episode 09: The Americans with Disabilities Act with Tony Coelho

Disability Garrison – Episode 09: The Americans with Disabilities Act with Tony Coelho

February 22, 2022

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The Problem

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed with bipartisan support in 1990. It’s the most influential law to ever pass for people with disabilities. The ADA changed the lives of millions of Americans. Buildings and public transportation started becoming more accessible. Employers had a legal obligation to support their employees with disabilities. And the addition of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 expanded protections even further.

But, even more than 30 years after being passed, many people do not fully understand or comply with the law. There is work still to be done.

Join Michael and Holly as they talk with the Honorable Tony Coelho, primary author of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Tony discusses his experience with the ADA in depth. The conversation covers the highs, lows, and progress yet to be made.

What We Can Do About It

It’s easy to get paralyzed by the feeling that we can’t make a difference. But helping out can be a lot simpler than we think.

Step 1: Know Your Rights Under the ADA

Understanding what the ADA does and does not protect is vital. With this knowledge, you can be a better advocate if a violation does occur. Check out the resources listed below for more information about the ADA.

Step 2: Learn When and How to File an ADA Complaint

You can file an ADA complaint, alleging disability discrimination, against a State or local government. Complaints can also be filed against a public accommodation. This includes private business such as a restaurant, doctor’s office, retail store, or hotel. Complaints can be filed online, by mail, or by fax.

Step 3: Support The Coelho Center

The Coelho Center at Loyola Marymount University was founded by Tony Coelho at his alma mater. They mentor, train, and support people with disabilities who are looking to pursue a career in law.

Boom. You’ve made a difference.

Tony’s Story

The Honorable Tony Coelho is the former House Majority Whip and the primary author of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He wanted to be a priest, but when he went to start seminary, it was discovered that he has epilepsy. Because of his disability, he was not allowed to become a priest. Tony later became a staff member for Congressman Bernie Sisk, and eventually began his own political career. Since exiting politics, he has worked in business and public service. Tony is a member of the board of directors of the Epilepsy Foundation and the American Association of People with Disabilities. He is a founding partner of Vectis Strategies, and also served as an advisor of ZeniMax Media. He was inducted to the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame in 2015 for his commitment to mentoring and helping people with disabilities.

Get More Information on the Americans with Disabilities Act

History of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Influential Court Cases and Systemic Changes

Recent Court Cases Involving the Americans with Disabilities Act

Problems and Areas for Improvement

Learn More About Disability Garrison Podcast