What is the Law?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability against people in programs or activities receiving or benefiting from federal financial assistance. Accordingly, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states:

“No otherwise qualified disabled individual in the United States shall solely by reason of his or her {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.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 upholds and extends the standards for compliance set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to employment practices and communications, and policies, procedures and practices that impact the treatment of students with disabilities. It prohibits discrimination for qualified individuals on the basis of disability.

Who is Protected Under the Law?

Under federal law, a person with a disability is any person who:

  1. has a physical or mental impairment.
  2. has a record of such impairment
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.

To meet the definition of a disability a person’s disability must substantially limit one or more major life activities such as self-care, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing or learning. Furthermore Section 504 states:

A “qualified” person with a disability is defined as one who meets the requisite academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in the postsecondary institutions programs and activities.