There are many laws that impact individuals with disabilities. It is important that you are aware of the different laws and the implications of each of them.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities that are like those provided to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, State and local government services and telecommunications.

Olmstead Decision 1999

In June 1999, the Supreme Court ruled in LC & EW vs Olmstead that is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for states to discriminate against people with disabilities by providing services in institutions when the individual could be served more appropriately in a community-based setting.

This reshaped the ADA and was the birth of supported decision making for individuals with disabilities, specifically Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability. It is often considered the most important decision in the history of disability rights. It was instrumental in moving individuals out of institutions and into the community.

Individuals with
Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 (commonly referred to as IDEA 2004)

IDEA Reauthorized – H. R. 1350
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that ensures services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

Utah State Board of Education Rules and Regulations

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is an anti-discrimination law. With the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Congress required that federal fund recipients make their programs and and activities accessible to all individuals with disabilities. The law states that, “No qualified individual with disabilities shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”.
Section 504 protects persons from discrimination based upon their disability status. A person has a disability within the definition for Section 504 if he or she:

  • Has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities;
  • Has a record of such impairments; or
  • Is regarding as having such an impairment.

When a condition does not substantially limit a major life activity, the individual does not qualify under Section 504.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for personal health information held by covered entities and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of personal health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.  View the Act in its entirety.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-380, FERPA) – also known as the Buckley Amendment – is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

On January 8, 2002, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The Act is the most sweeping reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) since ESEA was enacted in 1965. It redefines the federal role in K-12 education and will help close the achievement gap between disadvantaged and minority students and their peers.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) redefines the federal role in K-12 public education, with an emphasis on closing the achievement gap that exists for educationally disadvantaged students. The information is collected, selected, and presented from the perspective of a unified education system and covers both general and special education.

The McKinney-Vento Act (Title X, Part C of No Child Left Behind)

The McKinney-Vento Act, which later became part of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), mandates protections and services for children and youth who are homeless including those with disabilities.

Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006

The purpose of this Act is to develop more fully the academic and career and technical skills of secondary education students and postsecondary education students who elect to enroll in career and technical programs. Funds appropriated under this Act are awarded as grants to state education agencies based on a formula. This law is closely interwoven with IDEA toward guaranteeing full vocational education opportunities for youth with disabilities.  Reauthorization of the Act

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.