Section 504 helps to keep balance at work and school


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Everyone should have equal access and 504 helps reach that goal.

Amelia Jiles, Staff writer

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment population ratio for persons with a disability in 2019 was 19.3%, a slight increase from 19.1% in 2018. ( For those with disabilities, Section 504 is a law directed to protect and assist them.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a national law that protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability. It has defined their rights to have equal opportunities from organizations and employers to program benefits and services. These apply to hospitals, nursing homes, mental health centers, schools, and human service programs.

Under this law, individuals with disability are defined as persons with a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more life activities. Some examples of impairments which may limit major life activities, even with the help of medication or aids/devices, are alcoholism, blindness or visual impairment, cancer, deafness or hearing impairment, diabetes, drug addiction, heart disease, and mental illness. As for those who have a history of, are covered as well. (

With Section 504, reasonable accommodation is taken into action, which means an employer or institution is required to take reasonable steps to accommodate the disability unless it would cause the employer undue hardship. This Civil Rights Law applies to public elementary and secondary schools, among other entities.

The rules and regulations are clearly laid out so that there is consistency across the country to protect students and employees from discrimination, and although some of those rules and regulations have been challenged in the nearly five decades it has been enforced, those challenges have strengthened and clarified the purpose of the act.

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