According to the Congressional Committee for the Americans with Disabilities Act, one out of five Americans are disabled, which roughly amount to 43 million citizens. This means that millions of handicapped Americans are vulnerable to unemployment, discrimination, poverty, and abuse.
Fortunately, there are federal and state laws on disability rights that have been passed and are now being implemented throughout the U.S. First and foremost of these is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Under the ADA, particularly Title I, discrimination against disability in employment is prohibited. Discrimination on the basis of disability is prohibited in state and local governments, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, the definition of the term disability was expanded to make it easier for individuals to seek protection under it.
Here are other federal and California state laws on disability rights.
California Civil Code Section 51 is also known as the Unruh Civil Rights Act. This section prohibits disability discrimination in all business establishments in California, including housing and public accommodations. Further, under California Civil Code Sections 54 through 55.2 gives persons with disabilities the same right as the general public to the full and free use of the streets, walkways, public buildings, medical facilities, and public facilities.
This federal law makes it unlawful to discriminate in any aspect of selling or renting housing or to deny a dwelling to a person on the basis of his or her disability. The law also requires owners of the housing facilities to make reasonable accommodations and exceptions in their policies to give people with disabilities equal housing opportunities.
FEHA, which can be found in the California Government Code Sections: 12900-12976, provides protection against harassment and discrimination in employment and housing because of any mental or physical disability. The definition of disability in this law exceeds the federal definition.
Under this federal law, discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted and funded by the federal government and discrimination in federal employment and employment practices of federal contractors is prohibited.
These are just some of the many federal and California state laws that provide various disability rights. If you are disabled and have experienced discrimination, harassment, or abuse in your employment, housing, or in other aspects, you may seek the counsel of a disability rights attorney to find out how you can defend and protect your rights.