The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund provides a summary of the ADA, IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in plain language that shows how they overlap and how they are different.
The ADA is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. ADA Amendment Act (ADAAA) focuses on discrimination. It makes important changes to how disability is defined. There are three sections that cover communication access.
Title I: Employment. Employers with 15 or more employees may not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees with disabilities, unless it causes an undue hardship. For more information about Title I, contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 800-669-4000 (voice) or 800-669-6820 (TTY).
Title II: State and local governments. Public entities may not discriminate against people with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities must not be excluded from participation in or be denied services, programs or activities of a public entity.
Title III: Public accommodations. Places that are open to the public may not discriminate against people with disabilities. Some examples of public accommodations include:
- Doctor's offices
- Retail stores
- Private schools
- Day care centers
- and more
For more information about Titles II and III of the ADA, contact:
U.S. Department of Justice
For more information about Titles I-V of the ADA, contact:
Great Lakes ADA Center
IDEA is a federal law that protects the rights of students with disabilities to receive a free appropriate public education.
The Minnesota Department of Education, Special Education has information on parents' rights.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law that requires federal contractors and subcontractors with government contracts in excess of $10,000 to take affirmative action to employ and advance qualified individuals with disabilities.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law that states that people with disabilities cannot be excluded from, be denied access to or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance.
U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
Email the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights Chicago Office serves Minnesota:
John C. Kluczynski Federal Building
230 S. Dearborn Street, 37th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604
Email the Chicago Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights
Email the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights
Minnesota Human Rights Act
The Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination due to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability and age in connection with employment, housing, public accommodations, public services and education.
Minnesota Department of Human Rights
Email the Minnesota Department of Human Rights