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Paradoxical as it may seem, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (hereinafter, "ADA"), which deals with employment of the disabled, at one and_ the same time represents only a gradual advance over existing law and a pathbreaking new statute with far-reaching implications. On the one hand, the ADA merely builds on the foundations laid in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, with the key provisions of the ADA closely parallelling approaches taken in the Rehabilitation Act and regulations implementing it. On the other hand, the ADA vastly expands the coverage of the Rehabilitation Act, thereby establishing that integration of the disabled into society and the workplace is not simply a desirable goal but rather is a national commitment. From a legal standpoint, moreover, the ADA has great significance for codifying in explicit statutory form a series of provisions reflecting a conception of discrimination on the basis of disability that differs in important respects from notions of discrimination in other contexts in the United States - a conception of discrimination that, if applied in those other contexts, could have even broader ramifications.

This article will begin with a brief summary of the background of the ADA, focussing primarily on the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act. The article will next examine certain major respects in which the ADA has altered the existing law. The article will then seek to compare the concept of discrimination underlying the ADA with conceptions of discrimination in other areas of employment discrimination law.

Published in Japanese - English original draft provided.



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