Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

People with disabilities who live in Maine are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and an additional Maine State Law, the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA). UMM provides Disability Services in compliance with the ADA and the MHRA.


Congress passed the ADA because millions of Americans who have disabilities have been prevented from engaging fully in society. In addition to equal access the ADA addresses prejudice against people with disabilities. Abelism, prejudice or discrimination against persons on the basis of ability, is a structural prejudice similar to sexism or racism. Discrimination on the basis of disability is illegal.

The ADA is not an entitlement program and does not provide special privileges. The ADA ensures equal access for persons with disabilities.

The ADA covers persons with physical or mental disabilities whose documented disability substantially limits one or more life activities for at least six months.

The ADA protects people who experience discrimination because of a past record of disability, or if someone thinks of or treats someone as though they have a disability, even if a person has no limitations.

If an individual associates with or has a relationship with a qualified person with disabilities, she or he is also protected. If an individual provides services to persons with disabilities, it is unlawful to discriminate based on this association.


The MHRA requires state and local governments to provide qualified people with disabilities equal access to all public places, programs, and activities. People with disabilities must be able to use the same buildings and join in the same activities as others. Separate facilities are illegal. Note the far broader scope of the MHRA.

The MAINE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT (MHRA) forbids discrimination on the basis of disability in Maine. This applies to work, housing, public accommodation, money lending, and education.

The MHRA is similar to the ADA. However, more people are covered under the MHRA and it has a broader scope of coverage. UMM is required to follow both ADA and MHRA law. For more information contact Jo-Ellen Scribner at

Revised 2/12

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