Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Disability Laws

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that:

“No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States…shall, solely by reason of…disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Learn more>>

To view the Section 504 brochure, Click here.

ADA Amendments Act of 2008

President George W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008.  The amended ADA retains the basic definition of "disability" as: 1) an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; 2) having a record of such an impairment; or 3) being regarded as having such an impairment, but states that the definition should be interpreted broadly.  There are also specific changes in the way the definition should be interpreted.  Below are some highlights:

The definition of "major life activities" has been expanded by including two non-exhaustive lists:

  1. Those activities that had previously been recognized as major life activities (e.g., caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working), but adds other activities that had not previously been recognized (e.g., reading, bending, and communicating); and
  2. Major bodily functions (e.g., "functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions")

The amended act also made it clear that mitigating measures other than "ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses" are not to be considered in assessing whether an individual has a disability and clarifies that an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active. The Act became effective on January 1, 2009.

An Act to restore the intent and protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Learn more>>

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Quinn Administration, 03, 025
Phone: 617.287.4818
Fax: 617.287.4833
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