Section 508

Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, section 501, requires a Federal Government Agency to provide reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities, unless it would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way a job is performed that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.

Although many individuals with disabilities can apply for and perform jobs without any reasonable accommodation, workplace barriers may keep others from performing jobs which they could do with some form of accommodation. These barriers may be physical obstacles (such as inaccessible facilities or equipment), or they may be procedures or rules (such as rules concerning when work is performed, when breaks are taken, or how job tasks are performed). Reasonable accommodation removes workplace barriers for individuals with disabilities.

Reasonable accommodation (RA) is what an employer, in this case - EPA, does differently for an employee or applicant with a disability to remove a workplace barrier.

Reasonable accommodation can be modifications or adjustments to a job, employment practice, or work environment that makes it possible for an employee with a disability to:

  • Perform essential job duties
  • Adhere to uniformly applied conduct rules
  • Enjoy equal benefits/privileges of employment.

Reasonable accommodation can be modifications or adjustments for an applicant with disability to have equal access to application process.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is one of several disability laws.

  • The Department of Justice's "A Guide to Disability Rights Laws"
  • How EPA ensures equal opportunities to individuals with disabilities

If your agency does not have a 508 Program, or you are working to improve your 508 Program, you will need to incorporate the standards into the work you are already doing. Here is step-by-step technical assistance on how the standards fit into program maturity. Each step below is organized to show requirements, tools, best practices, testing guidelines, and relevant sections of the technology accessibility playbook.

Kitchen Cleaning

Caption: Image of the components of a mature 508 Program

  • Build Awareness & Support
  • Practice Universal Design
  • Update Agency Policies
  • Procure & Develop Accessible Technology
  • Create Accessible Documents
  • Measure & Monitor Progress