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Disability Laws & Policy

Q: What is Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act?

A: Section 501 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.  Learn more at: http://www.cap.mil/DisabilityLawsPolicy/501.aspx.

Q: What is Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act?

A: Section 503 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities (IWDs), and requires these employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. Requires, in part, that contractors must provide reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability, unless it demonstrates that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on business operation.

Section 503 emphasizes that contractors have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation as a matter of nondiscrimination. As a matter of affirmative action, the contractor also has an obligation to ask if an accommodation is needed if an individual with a disability is having performance problems likely related to the disability.

Section 503 also states that the development and use of written reasonable accommodation procedures is a best practice.

Learn more by visiting the Department of Labor’s Section 503 page: www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/section503.htm

Q: What is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act?

A: Section 504 prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in any federally funded programs or activities. Section 504 requires that programs receiving Federal funds to be accessible to people with disabilities. Section 504 also prohibits disability-based job discrimination of any kind and requires that employers make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.

Q: What is Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act?

A: Section 508 requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, Federal employees and the general public with disabilities have access to and use of information that is comparable to access to and use of information by people without disabilities.

Q: Can CAP help my agency become Section 508 compliant?

A: CAP provides assistive technology for federal employees. CAP can also assist an agency with understanding Section 508 guidelines to assure compliance. A full list of Section 508 Coordinators is available on the Section 508 website.