The key laws usually referenced are the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Television Decoder Circuitry Act and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (for captioning), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Rehabilitation Act, with its key sections (Section 504 and Section 508). There are other sections of the Rehabilitation Act, but Section 504, which requires access to the programs offered by any program receiving federal financial assistance, and section 508, which requires information technology developed or used by the federal government -- including websites -- to be accessible, are the most frequently cited sections.
Even with these existing laws, deaf and hard of hearing people have still been involved in court cases over the years, especially employment, education, and imprisonment court cases. The National Association of the Deaf Law Center, a source of legal information and representation, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, have been involved in several such cases.
BooksThere is a book available that dissects laws as they apply to deaf and hard of hearing people: Legal Rights: The Guide for Deaf/HOH, (compare prices), written by the National Association of the Deaf. Another book is about signs used for legal communication, Random House Webster's American Sign Language Legal Dictionary. (compare prices)
Discussion ListsQuite a few deaf and hard of hearing people have entered the legal field themselves, becoming lawyers. A handful of discussion lists and websites have evolved to meet their need for a way to share information:
- DeafGA.org is a website for deaf/hard of hearing lawyers that has discussion forums and a blog.
- Yahoo groups has a handful of discussion lists on law and deafness: DeafLaw, Surduslaw, DHHBA (deaf and hard of hearing bar association). Another legal list is the Yahoo group ADA-Deaf.
Fact sheetsHandy fact sheets are available from the Department of Justice, which offers two fact sheets:
- Communicating with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Hospital Settings (DOJ Page)
- Communicating with Guests Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Hotels, Motels, and Other Places of Transient Lodging (DOJ Page)
WebsitesQuite a few websites have information on legal rights for disabled people. Some of the best known ones are:
- The Job Accommodation Network , run by the Department of Labor.
- ADAPortal.org, which offers a searchable database of documents related to the ADA.
- ADA.gov, a Department of Justice website.
- RIT Library ADA guide, which includes deaf-specific information.
- National Association of the Deaf Law and Advocacy Center, with general information.
- Info to Go's Laws Related to Hiring Workers with Disabilities page.
Video MaterialsThe Described and Captioned Media Program has three relevant video materials:
- The Americans with Disabilities Act: Is it Working?
- Making the A.D.A. Work for You
- Working II: The Americans Disabilities Act at Work