Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Revisited

It has been said that one of the additional forces which create racial discrimination, is disability. Pieces of legislation are passed to address the issue with the main aim of preventing, if not totally eradicating, discrimination. One of these laws is the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the following:

• programs conducted by Federal agencies
• programs receiving Federal financial assistance
• Federal employment
• employment practices of Federal contractors

As regards discrimination in employment, the standard is the same as those provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. Below are some pertinent provisions which highlight the Act and which can be basis of right and cause of action and where to file complaints.

Section 501 of the Act requires affirmative action and non-discrimination by Federal agencies of the executive branch. If you are a Federal agency employee or an applicant and you believe you were discriminated against, you should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Office.

If however, it is a Federal government contractor or subcontractor with contracts more than $10,000 who/which discriminated you, it is to the Office of the Federal Contract Compliance Program where you should lodge your complaint. Such is the case because Section 503 of the Act also requires those mentioned affirmative action and prohibits them from discriminating.

If you, on the other hand, were excluded from, denied benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which either receives Federal financial assistance or is conducted by the Executive agency or the United States Postal Service, then you should go to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lastly, if you were denied access to electronic and information technology because of your disability, contact the Center for IT Accommodation of the U.S. General Services Administration for complaint.