How to Sue Under the ADA

The ADA protects disabled employees from discrimination in the workplace.
••• man in wheelchair image by jimcox40 from

The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted by U.S. Congress in 1990 to help protect individuals with physical or mental disabilities in the workforce. The ADA prohibits employers from refusing to hire a disabled job applicant who is otherwise qualified to perform the job. ADA laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you plan to sue under the ADA, you will need to follow the complaint process that has been set up by the EEOC before you can file a lawsuit. You will need to obtain a "Right to Sue" letter from the EEOC before you can initiate proceedings.

Verify that you are a member of a protected class that is covered by the ADA. Not all disabilities are covered under the American Disability Act and it is important that you verify your status before you initiate any proceedings. It is a good idea to consult with an experienced employee's rights attorney to help you make legal decisions.

Consider whether or not the actions taken by the employer or prospective employer truly constitute a violation of the American Disability Act. Due to the complicated nature of employment law, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney if you think your rights under the ADA have been compromised.

Read More: How to Negotiate an EEO Discrimination Settlement

File a charge of discrimination with the EEOC by mail or in person at your local EEOC office. In order to do this, you can use an intake form provided by the EEOC or use your own form. Be sure to include all required information, including your name and contact information, employer's information, dates and description of the alleged ADA violation. It is important to note that the exact procedure for initiating a charge of discrimination will vary slightly, depending on your location. To find out the location of your local EEOC office, or specific local procedures for filing a charge, you can call 1-800-669-4000.

Wait for the EEOC to investigate your charge completely. This may take several months, as the EEOC will need to contact the employer and get their side of the story and obtain other details before the charge can be completely investigated.

Obtain your Right to Sue letter from the EEOC at the conclusion of the investigation. You will receive your Right to Sue letter by mail from the EEOC automatically once the investigation is finished. This letter may or may not find the employer guilty of violating the ADA but can be used to file a lawsuit either way.

File your private lawsuit against the employer according to your local laws. You will need to compose an initial complaint, which is a legal document that outlines the actions that led up to the act of discrimination. Once you have created the initial complaint, you will need to file the complaint in your local civil court and pay any filing fees. Due to the complexity of employment laws and the process of initiating a civil suit, seek the assistance of an attorney who specializes in employment law to help you with your filing.


  • A charge of discrimination must be filed with EEOC within 180 days from the date of alleged violation.
  • Seek the advice of an experienced attorney before taking action against an employer to ensure that your rights are protected.

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