Action Center

Make NY state government comply with Americans with Disabilities Act

NYAIL has continued to strongly support S.1164A (Sanders) / A.6541 (Kelles) to make sure the ADA protects state employees with disabilities. This bill has passed in the Assembly this year as it has for the previous 12 years. We need the Senate to move this bill with your support.  Ask your state Senator to pass S.1164A (Sanders).

1. Find your Senator using the directory.

2. Call their phone number or email them.

3. Ask them to support S.1164A (Sanders) / A.6541 (Kelles) 

Sample message: "Hello, I'm contacting your office to ask the Senator to please support S.1164A (Sanders), waiving the state's sovereign immunity. It would make sure that the Americans with Disabilities Act protects state employees. Businesses, schools, counties, towns, and villages already cannot violate the employment protections of the ADA and the state should not be exempt. Other states that have done this have reported no increase in costs to, or litigation against the state because of such laws."


More information about Sovereign Immunity:

The bill would restore the original protections that employees with disabilities had under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which barred states from practicing discrimination against employees with disabilities. The United States Supreme Court decided in Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356 (2001) that lawsuits in federal court by state employees to recover damages under Title I of the ADA were barred by the Eleventh Amendment, providing only for injunctive relief.


We believe that the Supreme Court’s decision was a grievous misinterpretation of the ADA that denies essential rights to a segment of the population with disabilities. The Supreme Court has similarly barred individuals from suing the State under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This bill would end a pattern of injustice that directly impacts New York State by waiving immunity. 


Businesses, schools, counties, towns, and villages cannot violate the employment provisions of the ADA without the consequences of being found accountable in a court of law, but this does not apply to New York State. State governments should be held to the same standard of conduct as any other workplace when it comes to the right to be employed without fear of discrimination. Other states have reported no increase in costs to, or litigation against the state because of such laws (Minnesota and North Carolina, 2001, and Illinois, 2004).  

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