On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, a landmark civil rights bill that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all aspects of public life, including transportation, the workplace, school and more. This Sunday, July 26, Westchester County will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ADA, and honor the County’s commitment to continuing the work of providing equal access for all people in our communities.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 reflects a critical turning point in civil rights legislation, protecting individuals with disabilities from discrimination and promoting their full inclusion into all aspects of society. While I acknowledge that we still have work to do, today I want to thank the Westchester County Office for People with Disabilities and the Human Rights Commission for their continued efforts towards providing fair and equal opportunities for all of our residents.”

Director of the Office for People with Disabilities Evan Latainer said: “Sunday, July 26 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act that opened the door for persons with disabilities to be provided equal access to their communities in so many ways never before imagined. Though the disabled community has seen tremendous gains during this time there is still much to do to truly understand what equality means. Under County Executive George Latimer’s leadership, the disabled community residing in Westchester will continue to be an equal partner in moving forward, growth and equality for those living with a disability.”

The Westchester County Office for People with Disabilities provides the following services:

  • Disability Awareness Program:  The office partners with members of the disabled community to bring this program into the local school districts, educating students from Kindergarten through High School on what it is like to have a disability. This program provides insight from persons with disabilities to answer various questions on a day in the life of a person with a disability, and how a person with a disability is no different than a person without a disability.  
  • BEAT Plus Program: This program helps young people with disabilities gain independence through autonomous, safe travel utilizing the Regular Bee Line Bus system through training and information classes, by going into a classroom setting within the local school districts in Westchester County.
  • Accessible Parking Education
  • Sign Language Interpreter Services: Advocate for the deaf community of Westchester County.
  • ADA Coordinator: The Office for People with Disabilities acts as the contact for County departments and the general public assisting with requests for reasonable accommodations related to employment.
  • Site Surveys/Equal Access: Within the community and public places etc.
  • ParaTransit

Executive Director of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission Tejash Sanchala said: “Disability rights are civil rights. While we celebrate the advances made in the past thirty years since the ADA’s passage, we recognize more work is needed. One in four Americans reportedly have some form of a disability and could be a victim of discrimination. It is especially critical for people with disabilities to be aware of their rights during the public health crisis. Individuals with a disability, whether obvious or non-obvious, are entitled to protections under the Westchester County Human Rights Law and the Westchester County Fair Housing Law.”

The Westchester County Human Rights Commission accepts and investigates complaints of discrimination in the following areas:

  • Employment: The Human Rights Law protects employees and applicants with disabilities from unlawful discrimination in the workplace. An example of prohibited conduct could be an employer’s refusal to grant a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability.
  • Housing: The Fair Housing Law prohibits anyone involved in a residential real estate transaction from discriminating based on a person’s actual or perceived disability.  An example of prohibited housing discrimination may include refusing to make a reasonable accommodation or reasonable modification for an individual with a disability.
  • Public Accommodations: It is against the law to discriminate against any person based on disability when providing public accommodations, services or facilities. Places of public accommodations include restaurants, hotels, places of entertainment and shops.

If you are in need of assistance, contact the Office for People with Disabilities at (914) 995-2957. 

If you are facing discrimination in your workplace, home or at a place of public accommodation, please contact the Human Rights Commission at (914) 995-7710.