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Jobs and Education for People with Disabilities

Learn about employment resources on how to find a government job and prepare for a job interview. You can also find information on employment laws and how to file a workplace harassment or discrimination complaint. Also, search educational programs for students with disabilities.

Job Help for People with Disabilities

If you have a disability and you’re looking for work, these resources can help.

Find a Job

Develop Your Work and Job-Seeking Skills

Help for Young Workers

Help for Veterans

Learn Your Rights

Federal Jobs for People with Disabilities

If you’re looking for a job and you have a disability, you might consider working for the federal government.

Advantages of Government Jobs for People with Disabilities

The federal government:

You can also apply for jobs through the competitive hiring process. Many jobs open to people with disabilities use only that process.

Finding and Applying for Federal Jobs

You can search for most jobs on the government’s job site, USAJOBS.gov.

To apply for jobs under Schedule A, you can:

  • Apply online at USAJOBS or

  • Apply directly to the agency offering the job

Either way, you'll need to:

  • Prepare your resume and other documents listed in the job announcement

  • Provide proof you have an intellectual disability, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability

To apply for a job online:

To apply for a job directly through an agency:

For more details on applying for jobs through Schedule A, read The ABCs of Schedule A.

For an overview of how to use USAJOBS, see Federal Government Employment.

Veterans with Disabilities

If you’re a veteran with a service-connected disability, you have even more options. Learn how special hiring authorities let agencies appoint vets to jobs non-competitively. You may also be able to get a 10 point veterans’ preference to use with competitive positions.

College Students and Recent Graduates with Disabilities

If you’re a college student or a recent graduate, you can find summer jobs, internships, and permanent positions through the:

Discrimination and Harassment at Your Job

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. These laws protect employees and job applicants against:

  • Discrimination, harassment, and unfair treatment in the workplace by anyone because of:

    • Race

    • Color

    • Religion

    • Sex (including gender identity, transgender status, and sexual orientation)

    • Pregnancy

    • National origin

    • Age (40 or older)

    • Disability

    • Genetic information

  • Being denied reasonable workplace accommodations for disability or religious beliefs

  • Retaliation because they:

    • Complained about job discrimination

    • Helped with an investigation or lawsuit

Filing a Complaint with State or Local Government or Tribal Employment Rights Office

To file a complaint, contact your state, local or tribal employment rights office.

Many state and local governments have their own anti-discrimination laws. These laws may offer extra protections beyond federal laws.

Some state laws:

  • Apply to businesses with only five or six employees

  • Prohibit discrimination based on whether you're married or have children

  • Have different deadlines for filing a charge

  • Have different standards for deciding whether you’re covered by them

Many state laws have more protections for nursing mothers than federal law requires. State labor offices enforce these laws.

Filing a Lawsuit

If you're a victim of job discrimination or harassment, you can file a lawsuit. If the discrimination violates federal law, you must first file a charge with the EEOC. (This doesn't apply to cases of unequal pay between men and women.)

You may decide to sue if the EEOC can’t help you. In either case, look for an attorney who specializes in employment law. You can check with:

Not All Employers Are Subject to EEOC Laws

An employer must have a certain number of employees to be covered by EEOC-enforced laws. This number varies based on the type of employer and the kind of discrimination alleged.

  • Businesses, state, and local governments must follow most EEOC laws if they have 15 or more employees.

  • Federal agencies must follow all EEOC laws, no matter how many employees they have.

Laws that the EEOC Enforces

Federal employment discrimination laws include:

Harassment

Harassment is unwelcome conduct based on:

  • Race

  • Color

  • Religion

  • Sex

  • National origin

  • Age

  • Pregnancy

  • Disability

  • Genetic information

It can include:

  • Offensive jokes

  • Physical assaults or threats

  • Ridicule or insults

  • Display of offensive objects or pictures

Sexual harassment may include:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances

  • Requests for sexual favors

  • Other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature

  • Offensive remarks about a person's sex

Harassment becomes illegal when:

  • It creates a hostile or abusive work environment

  • The victim gets fired or demoted for refusing to put up with it

Protection from Retaliation

EEOC laws protect employees and job applicants from retaliation. For example, it’s unlawful to punish people for:

  • Filing or being a witness in an EEO charge or investigation

  • Talking to a supervisor or manager about discrimination or harassment

  • Refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination

  • Resisting sexual advances, or intervening to protect others

Education Programs for People with Disabilities

Learn how to find local, state, and federal education programs and financial aid opportunities for people with disabilities.

  • Your state department of education or your local school board are your best resources for telling you about nearby programs and answering questions about state educational rights laws for people with disabilities.

  • An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a plan developed by a child’s educators and parents to meet that child’s specific educational needs. It’s a foundational part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which guarantees a free, appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities.

  • College-bound students with intellectual disabilities may be eligible for financial aid programs including Pell Grants and Federal Work-Study programs. The Office for Federal Student Aid has specific information on loans, grants, and scholarships, and how to apply.

  • Contact the school you want to attend for additional information on special programs for people with disabilities.

Education Rights of People with Disabilities

Several federal laws protect the education rights of people with disabilities.

How Section 504 and Title II Protect Education Rights

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

IDEA applies to students in grades K-12.

Students with Disabilities at College or Technical School

Students with disabilities preparing to attend college or vocational school have rights and responsibilities.

  • Students must notify their school and document their needs.

  • Schools must provide tools and modifications to help students take part in class. For example, a school may offer course reading material in Braille.

Disability Discrimination in Education

If you feel a school has discriminated against you or your child, you can:

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Last Updated: October 7, 2019

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