Your Legal Disability Rights
Know your rights under federal law. Read about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects people’s rights regarding employment, public accommodations, state and local government services, and more. Learn about special accommodations for voters and know how to fight job discrimination.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects the rights of people with disabilities. It guarantees equal opportunity in:
The Department of Justice ADA information line answers questions about ADA requirements. It's available to businesses, state and local governments, and the public. Call 1- 800-514-0301 (TTY: 1-800-514-0383).
Find More ADA Resources From the Government
The ADA website has information on:
The United States Access Board website provides:
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to make electronic and information technology accessible.
When to File a Complaint
According to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, hotels, restaurants, and certain places of entertainment must provide disability access.
If you feel that you've been the object of Title III discrimination, you can file an ADA complaint.
Discrimination and Harassment at Your Job
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.
Protections Included Under the Law
These laws protect employees and job applicants against:
Discrimination, harassment, and unfair treatment in the workplace by anyone because of:
Being denied reasonable workplace accommodations for disability or religious beliefs
Retaliation because they:
How to File an Employment Discrimination Complaint
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:
What is Harassment?
Harassment is unwelcome conduct based on:
It can include:
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:
Protection from Retaliation
EEOC laws protect employees and job applicants from retaliation. For example, it’s unlawful to punish people for:
Voter accessibility laws ensure that people with disabilities or language barriers are able to vote.
If you know you’ll need accommodations on Election Day, contact your state or local election office to find out what to expect at your polling place.
Laws and Accommodations That Help Voters With Disabilities
Several federal laws protect the voting rights of Americans with disabilities. These include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).
Voters with disabilities have the right to:
Vote in private, without help
Have an accessible polling place with voting machines for voters with disabilities
Polling places must have:
Wheelchair-accessible voting booths
Entrances and doorways at least 32 inches wide
Handrails on all stairs
Voting equipment for people who are blind or visually impaired
If you have a disability, you may:
Seek help from poll workers trained to use an accessible voting machine, or
Bring someone to help you vote
You can also ask your election office what other options you have.
Some states offer “curbside voting," when a poll worker brings everything you need to vote to your car.
Local organizations may provide transportation to the polls.
Many states let people with disabilities vote by mail.
Accommodations That Help Voters Who Need Language Assistance
The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) helps people overcome language barriers to voting.
Federal law also lets you bring someone to help you if you can't read or write.
Do you have a question?
Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.
May 12, 2021