Skip to page body Home About Community Living Doing Business Browse by Topic I Want to... Your Government
graphic element

Laws and Policies

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 is also known as the "Access Law." It provides program and physical access for students with disabilities. The law states that: "No otherwise qualified individual in the Unites States...shall, solely by reason of disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." When providing aid, benefit or service, public entities must provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate that are as effective as the opportunities provided to others. The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education defines "effective communications" as "timeliness of delivery, accuracy of the translation, and provision in a manner and medium appropriate to the significance of the message and the abilities of the individual with the disability." The mechanism for enforcement of this law is the withholding of federal funds.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1990

Extends the framework of civil rights laws and of Section 504. Mandates reasonable access for people with disabilities with all public and private entities. Provides essentially the same protection as Section 504, except it is broader in context and coverage, and redress is more specifically defined. There are five sections:

Title I Employment: Prohibits employers of 15 or more to discriminate against a qualified applicant or employee with a disability and also prohibits retaliation against any individual who has opposed any act or practice made unlawful by the ADA.

Title II Public Services and Transportation: Prohibits state and local governments from discriminating against people with disabilities in their programs and activities. Includes entities receiving state or federal funding such as community colleges in anti-discrimination clauses. New public buses, new train cars in commuter, subway, intercity, and light rail systems as well as new stations and facilities must be accessible.

Title III Public Accommodations: Prohibits privately operated public accommodations from denying goods, programs and services to people based on their disabilities. Businesses must accommodate patrons with disabilities by making reasonable modifications to policies and practices, providing auxiliary aids and improving physical accessibility.

Title IV Telecommunications: Telephone companies need to provide continuous voice transmission relay services that allow people with speech and hearing disabilities to communicate over the phone through teletypewriters (TTYs). Also requires that federally funded television public service messages be closed captioned for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Title V Miscellaneous Provisions: Specifics for enforcement of the act and provisions for attorney's fees.

Last updated: 7/1/2009 3:16:50 PM