In order to achieve equal opportunities for individuals with a disability, laws are written to achieve standards in society. Some of the main goals include safety, equal employment and housing opportunities, education, accessibility and protection from abuse and neglect. They are based on the idea that individuals with a disability have equal rights and opportunities. This first came to the forefront in the United States with the return of many disabled veterans from
World War I in 1918. For the past 100 years, there has been an active effort to pass laws. Here are the major laws passed to protect individuals with a disability.
Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 requires all federal buildings to be accessible to people with physical disabilities. One example of this is that instead of just having steps, the building must provide ramps or elevators to allow people in wheelchairs access.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended is one of the most important pieces of legislation for vocational rehabilitation. Section 504 of this act, made it illegal to discriminate against anyone solely on the basis of disability. The language of Section 504 was the same as that of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Other language by section are:
- Section 501 prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities;
- Section 502 provides design standards and solutions to architectural and transportation barriers;
- Section 508 provides access for individuals with disabilities the use of electronic and information technology; and
- Section 510 establishes standards for accessible medical diagnostic equipment.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is designed to ensure that individuals with disabilities enjoy the same freedoms as everyone else. In 2009, the definition of a disability was broadened to include. While the employment provisions of the ADA apply to employers of 15 employees or more, its public accommodations provisions apply to all sizes of business, regardless of number of employees. State and local governments are covered regardless of size. The law is organized by title. They are:
- Title I protects the rights of both employees and job seekers;
- Title II provides access for public transportation;
- Title III requires all new construction is accessible;
- Title IV requires closed captioning and telephone relay services for the Deaf; and
- Title V includes a provision prohibiting coercing, threatening or retaliating against individuals with disabilities.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) provides a free appropriate public education to eligible individuals with disabilities and ensures special education and related services to those children. The DOE Bureau of Exceptional Student Education and Student Services administers programs for students with disabilities.
Telecommunications Act of 1996 recognizes the importance of access to telecommunications for people with disabilities in the Information Age.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) is designed to increase coordination among workforce programs to help get Americans, including youth and those with significant barriers to employment, into high-quality jobs and careers; and help employers hire and retain skilled workers. Passage of WIOA further supports VR efforts to prepare youth for success in the 21st century workforce through our Pre-Employment Transition Services and Transition Youth Programs.
Chapter 6A-25, Florida Administrative Rule, describes the procedure or practice requirements for VR.
Chapter 413, Florida Statutes Employment and Related Services for Person with Disabilities is the state law.