CIVIL RIGHTS

This page has information on civil rights laws that protect people with disabilities and on how to get legal assistance when your rights have been violated.

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News

Riding Wave of Additional Endorsements, ADAPT Urges Congress to Pass Disability Integration Act, From ADAPT, May 16, 2018

AARP calls the cops on disabled protesters, By Sara Luterman, May 15, 2016

ADAPT Demands the freedom of Disabled Americans and Heritage Foundation endorsement of DIA, From ADAPT, May 15, 2018

ADAPT Calls On Center for American Progress to Back Constitutional Rights, From ADAPT, May 15, 2018

ADAPT Demands HHS to End the Torture of Disabled People, From ADAPT, May 14, 2018

#StopTheShock at the Judge Rotenberg Center, From the Autism Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), April 11, 2018

Sen. Tammy Duckworth Saves the Americans With Disabilities Act—For Now, By Robyn Powell, April 03, 2018

Dozen Day Campout to Stop the Torture at JRC, From ADAPT, March 22, 2018

National ADAPT activists go to FDA to demand immedicate action to ban the torture devices, From ADAPT, March 20, 2018

ADAPT Pushes Legislative Answer to Contingent Shock Torture, From ADAPT, March 20, 2018

ADAPT Throws Block Party for FDA Director Gottlieb’s Neighbors, From ADAPT, March 18, 2018

Pain and Fear Teach Nothing: An ADAPTer Reflects on the Judge Rotenberg Center, From ADAPT, March 15, 2018

The Power of ADAPT: Resolute in the Most Difficult Circumstances, From ADAPT, March 13, 2018

ADAPT Goes to the White House to Ask President Trump to Ban Torture Devices on Disabled Children and Adults, From ADAPT, March 12, 2018

Day 2: ADAPT Continues Protests Against FDA Director Demanding an End to the Torture of Disabled People at JRC, From ADAPT, March 10, 2018

Passage of H.R. 620 Sparks Outrage in Disability Community, By Seth McBride, February 16th, 2018

Congress Makes Progress in Destroying the Americans with Disabilities Act, By Robyn Powell, September 11, 2017

Disability-Rights Activists Are the Real Heroes of the Health-Care Fight, By John Nichols, July 28 2017

ADA Anniversary Reminds Us There’s Much Work Still To Do, By Carol Glazer, July 26, 2017

Hundreds of disability rights activists vow indefinite sit-in if GOP proceeds to ACA repeal, By Mic Network, July 25, 2017

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Advocacy Organizations and Informational Resources

ADAPT is a national grass-roots community that organizes disability rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action, including civil disobedience, to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom.

ADA Home Page is the definitive source for information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law uses a coordinated approach of litigation, policy analysis, coalition-building, public information and technical support for local advocates to advance community membership, promote self-determination, end the punishment of people with mental illnesses for the system's failures and preserve the rights of people with mental disabilities.

American Bar Association's Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law seeks to promote the ABA's commitment to justice and the rule of law for persons with mental, physical, and sensory disabilities and to promote their full and equal participation in the legal profession.

Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section works to achieve equal opportunity for people with disabilities in the United States by implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).The Section also carries out responsibilities under Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Disability Rights Center of Kansas (DRC), is the Official Protection and Advocacy System for Kansas; empowered by federal law to advocate for the civil and legal rights of Kansans with disabilities. DRC advocates for the rights of Kansans with disabilities under state or federal laws and educates policymakers on needed improvements to the law and public policy.

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), founded in 1979, is a leading national civil rights law and policy center directed by individuals with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities. DREDF's mission is to advance the civil and human rights of people with disabilities through legal advocacy, training, education, and public policy and legislative development.

Kansas Attorney General's Office, promoting human dignity through justice with compassion and professional excellence.

Kansas Human Rights Commission investigates complaints alleging discrimination and conducts public education programs designed to prevent discrimination.

National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Law and Advocacy Center (LAC) works to educate, advocate, and litigate on behalf of and to empower deaf and hard of hearing people.

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) serves as a national resource center dedicated to the prevention of elder mistreatment. NCEA disseminates elder abuse information to professionals and the public, and provides technical assistance and training to states and to community-based organizations.

National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.

U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) is a non-profit, membership, constituent-led organization committed to building bridges between American and international disability communities and cultures. Through a wide range of projects and programs, USICD promotes the inclusion of disability perspectives in U.S. foreign policy and aid and provides opportunities for domestic disability rights organizations to interface with their international counterparts.

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Publications

ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities - This checklist is produced by the New England ADA Center, a project of the Institute for Human Centered Design and a member of the ADA National Network. It is intended to assist public accommodations as the first step in a planning process for readily achievable barrier removal and is based on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).

ADA National Network Disability Law Handbook - this handbook, written in FAQ format, is a guide to the basics of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability related laws.

ADA Questions and Answers - A 31-page booklet giving an overview of the ADA's requirements for ensuring equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation, and requiring the establishment of TDD/telephone relay services. (Spanish, Cambodian, Chinese, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Tagalog and Vietnamese editions available from the ADA Information Line.)

ADA: Know Your Rights Returning Service Members - This publication is designed to inform US military personnel who became disabled while on active duty of their rights under the ADA and provide information on where to go to get assistance.

Additional Monitoring of Polling Places Could Further Improve Accessibility (GAO-09-9410), Sepember 2009 - This General Accountability Office (GAO) report is based on a national survey of polling places during the 2008 election assessing both physical and technological access. The report found that compared to 2000, the proportion of polling places without potential impediments increased and almost all polling places had an accessible voting system. However, 46 percent of polling places had an accessible voting system that could pose a challenge to certain voters with disabilities, such as voting stations that were not arranged to accommodate voters using wheelchairs. (Read highlights of the report)

A Promising Start: Preliminary Analysis of Court Decisions Under the ADA Amendments Act, July 23, 2013 - This National Council on Disability (NCD) review of the court decisions that have been rendered to date applying the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) reveals significant improvements in how courts are interpreting the broad coverage mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a human rights treaty that sets out the obligations of countries that ratify it to promote, protect, fulfill, and ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. The United Nations adopted the CRPD in 2006. As of May 9, 2011, 99 countries have ratified the treaty and 148 countries have signed it.  Currently, the U.S. has not ratified the CRPD.

The Disability Law Handbook from the DBTAC Southwest ADA Center provides information on rights and obligations under several federal disability laws, including an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

DOJ Fact Sheet on 2010 Revised ADA Requirements for Service Animals - This publication provides guidance on the term "service animal" and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations.

Experience of Voters with Disabilities in the 2012 Election Cycle - This report examines the impact of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 by documenting the experiences of voters with disabilities during the 2012 general election cycle and offers concrete policy and procedural recommendations to improve voter participation and accessibility for citizens with disabilities now and in future elections.

Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA - This FAQ from the U.S. Department of Justice clarifies 2010 revided requirements for service animals. It includes 37 questions and answers covering everything from what type of work a service animal might perform to how they are trained and what sort of animals qualify.

A Guide to Disability Rights Laws. A 21-page booklet that provides a brief overview of ten Federal laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities and provides information about the federal agencies to contact for more information. (Spanish, Cambodian, Chinese, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Tagalog and Vietnamese editions available from the ADA Information Line.)
Disability Rights Laws (HTML)
Disability Rights Laws (PDF)
Disability Rights Laws (En Español)

Ill-Prepared: Health Care’s Barriers for People with Disabilities, November 2011 – This Equal Rights Center (ERC) report reveals that less than 25 percent of medical service providers they investigated were compliant with accessibility standards required under federal law.

Parenting with a Disability: Know Your Rights Toolkit - This toolkit provides a summary of disability laws that protect families’ rights. Inside of the toolkit, you will find information on topics like adoption, custody, visitation, family law, and the child welfare system. We have also shared parts of NCD’s report, Rocking the Cradle, with stories from parents who have been treated unfairly because of their disabilities. Read more on the NCD website at: https://www.ncd.gov/publications/2012/Sep272012.

Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children (pdf), September 27, 2012 - This report by the National Council on Disability explores the pervasive prejudices faced by parents with disabilities by exposing the disparate treatment often encountered by parents with disabilities and their children within court and service systems and offers draft model state and federal statutory language to correct the discrimination faced by parents with disabilities in the United States. (html) (docx)

Statement of the Department of Justice on Enforcement of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C., U. S. Department of Justice, June 22, 2011 - DOJ has created this technical assistance guide to assist individuals in understanding their rights and public entities in understanding their obligations under the ADA and Olmstead. (HTML version)


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