Disability/Accessibility Law

Legal Information

Disability Laws

Overview of U.S. laws (from U.S. Dept. of Education)

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)


Accessibility Standards and Guidelines

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is the U.S. federal government’s accessibility standards for its own electronic and information technology, including websites. (See the 508 Checklist in the Electronic Accessibility page)

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are internationally accepted guidelines.


Accessibility Policies

Terrill Thompson from the University of Washington has compiled this helpful list of policies from other higher education institutions.


Legal Resources

The Dear Colleague Letter sent to every college and university president in June 2010 by the departments of Education and Justice and a follow up to that letter, sent in May 2011, has made it abundantly clear that the Departments of Education and Justice see college websites (including online course websites) as included in the non-discrimination requirements imposed with federally funding per 504 and ADA.

AHEAD – This topical arrangement of court and OCR citations is compiled from a number of sources and serves to illustrate various legal and policy issues in higher education.

The information available at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. For specific questions about the law or circumstances at your institution, please consult its attorney directly.

United States Access Board – The U.S. Access Board is a federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards for the built environment, transportation, communication, medical diagnostic equipment, and information technology.


Federal Agencies:

Department of Education

Department of Justice

Department of Labor

Office for Civil Rights:

This website provides some OCR case resolutions that address civil rights concerns related to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Note: This is a partial, illustrative list of case resolutions

Case Resolutions Regarding Disability Discrimination