Protecting Rights Of People With Disabilities
Protecting the Rights of People with Disabilities
Three significant federal laws protect individuals with disabilities. These include the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This legislation is meant to prevent discrimination against the disabled and protect their civil and educational rights.
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA is a civil rights law passed in 1990 that prohibits employers, schools, or anyone who provides services or products to the public from discriminating against people with disabilities. For example, the ADA mandates handicapped access such as wheelchair ramps and elevators in public places and private places open to the general public. It also provides freedom from workplace discrimination and requires employers with 15 or more employees to make reasonable accommodations to hire and retain disabled people. The ADA was amended in 2008 to broaden its definition of disability.
Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
IDEA is an education law requiring public schools to provide K-12 students with disabilities with the services they need to thrive, such as special education and individualized study plans. The U.S. government established this federally funded program in 1975. The IDEA provides early intervention services for disabled children two years old and under. It also provides special education and other related services through 21 years of age. The law was put into place to ensure that a disabled person’s rights are not diminished because of their disability. This federal legislation is regulated at the state level. It establishes the minimum requirement, though some states choose to exceed the guidelines.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was the first piece of legislation specifically written to protect the rights of disabled individuals. Under Section 504, a civil rights law passed in 1973, schools that receive federal funding are prohibited from discriminating against disabled individuals. Further, they are required to meet the educational needs of disabled students to the same extent as those without disabilities. This could include participating in a regular classroom, special education classes, supplementary services, or a combination of these, depending on what is most appropriate for the student.
Whether in the workplace, the classroom, or any establishment that the public has access to, these laws are meant to ensure that disabled individuals are not discriminated against or prevented from living a full and meaningful life. When someone violates these civil rights, it is time to contact a discrimination lawyer right away.