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Assistive Technology: Federal Law and Regulations

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Technology Specific Laws and Regulations

Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act - Section 501 of this act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in Federal employment and requires Federal agencies to establish affirmative action plans for the hiring, placement, and advancement of people with disabilities in Federal employment. Additional information and definitions related to Section 501 can be found at the EEOC website.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act - Section 504 prohibits discrimination based on disability in federally funded and federally conducted programs or activities in the United States, including employment programs.

Section 505 of the Rehabilitation Act - Section 505 establishes the enforcement procedures for title V of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 505 (a) (1) provides that the procedures and rights set forth in Section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall be available with respect to any complaint under Section 501. Section 505 (a)(2) provides that the remedies, rights and procedures set forth in title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall be available to any person alleging a violation of Section 504. Section 508 is also enforced through the procedures established in Section 505 (a)(2).

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act - In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. ‘ 794d), agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others. See also Section 508 Standards

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - Prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. The ADA requires that reasonable accommodations be provided in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities. Additional technical assistance regarding the ADA is available through the ADA Technical Assistance Program.

Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 - Section 255 of the requires manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and providers of telecommunications services to ensure that such equipment and services are accessible to persons with disabilities, if readily achievable. The Federal Communications Commission's Report and Order Implementing Section 255 was released in September 1999.

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) issued final guidelines for accessibility, usability and compatibility of telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment covered by Section 255 of the Telecommunication Act of 1996.

Assistive Technology Act of 1998 - The Assistive Technology Act establishes a grant program, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, to provide Federal funds to support State programs that address the assistive technology needs of individuals with disabilities.

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