1:9 Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the employment rights of disabled individuals applying to and working for a federal agency or to a business or institution under federal contract or receiving federal funds. Employers must provide written Affirmative Action plans which detail:

  • procedures which ensure that disabled applicants or employees will be considered for vacancies and job training opportunities;
  • periodic reviews of job qualifications so that those requirements which would disqualify a disabled individual and are not job or safety related will be eliminated;
  • "reasonable" accommodation to the needs of disabled individuals, and
  • recruitment policies which include expanding employment opportunities for disabled individuals.

A person is defined as disabled if 1) the person has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more of the person's major life activities, 2) has a record of such an impairment, or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment. The definition of disability includes conditions such as obesity and substance and alcohol abuse problems.

The Rehabilitation Act has been extended to include harassment in the workplace on the basis of disability and failure to provide reasonable accommodation. The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 extends the rights of the disabled to the private sector. (See: Appendix A: 1:5 Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hear charges of discrimination based on disability. Charges must be filed within 180 days after the alleged unlawful practice took place or within 300 days if the person has filed charges with a state or local agency. If the EEOC is not able to reach an acceptable agreement within thirty days it may pursue civil action through the Office of the Attorney General.

The above information is a summary only and is in no way intended to be legal advice. Furthermore, this should be read in concert with University policies and procedures. Requests for further information should be directed to your Human Resources Region Manager.