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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 states that “no qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under” any program or activity that either receives Federal financial assistance or is conducted by any Executive agency or the United States Postal Service. Each Federal agency has its own set of section 504 regulations that apply to its own programs. Agencies that provide Federal financial assistance also have 504 regulations covering entities that receive Federal aid. Requirement common to these regulations include reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities; program accessibility; effective communication with people who have hearing or vision disabilities; and accessible new construction and alterations. Each agency is responsible for enforcing its own regulations. Section 504 may also be enforced through private lawsuits. It’s not necessary to file a complaint with a Federal agency or to receive a “right- to- sue” letter before going to court (similar to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), except that it prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs, services, or activities receiving Federal Financial Assistance.