Overview of Disability Civil Rights Laws

Many laws exist to protect the rights of people with disabilities, the most prominent of which is the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  The goal of the ADA is to address and prevent the pervasive (unwitting and intentional) discrimination that continues to exist in society today against people with disabilities.  The ADA is comprehensive and divided into five separate titles:  employment (Title I), access to public services offered by state and local governments (Title II), access to places of public accommodations (Title III), telecommunication relay services (Title IV), and miscellaneous provisions (Title V).  Other anti-discrimination laws that forbid discrimination against people with disabilities include the Fair Housing Act, Air Carrier Access Act and various state and local governmental statutes. The disability civil rights statutes are unique in that they place the power to force compliance with a federal law in the hands of the people who are directly affected by them.

Though not technically an anti-discrimination statute, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) provides for the protection of students with disabilities to ensure that each and every student with a disability receives a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”).   

In addition, the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) also protects workers’ rights when they are forced to miss time from work due to a disability or other illness or to care for a family member who is sick. 

We represent people who have experienced discrimination on the basis of their disability, in violation of federal and state laws, including the IDEA and FMLA.  We also provide counsel to business and property owners or operators who desire to ensure that their policies, procedures and facilities comply with the various applicable disability rights statutes. 

As experienced disability civil rights counsel, we have the knowledge and contacts to assist individuals, businesses, and property owners or operators located throughout the United States.  Our success rate in disability civil rights cases is virtually unsurpassed, and in almost every case that we have filed we have been successful in compelling business and property owners or operators and employers to make changes to their policies and procedures and removing architectural barriers to places of public accommodation to ensure compliance with the law. 

In some disability civil rights cases, a money damage award may be sought, including cases brought in the context of employment, the Fair Housing Act, and cases under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act relating to federally funded programs and activities.  A damage award may also be sought under the FMLA.  In other cases, the object of the litigation is to compel compliance with the law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, e.g., the removal of architectural barriers to access in a hotel, retail store or restaurant. 

In all cases, however, in addition to damages and/or an injunction compelling compliance with the law, the court has the discretion to, and usually does, order payment of the reasonable attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses incurred by the prevailing individual with a disability.  In cases brought by our office, attorneys’ fees and costs are sought from the opposing side, so that our clients are not required to pay them.

This website seeks to provide a broad overview of disability civil rights laws.  It is not, however, intended to furnish legal advice in connection with a specific matter.  If you feel you have been discriminated against and your rights have been violated because of a disability, you may e-mail us or telephone for a complimentary case evaluation.

Maxwell & Barke LLC
51 Monroe Place, Suite 806, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Telephone 301.309.8300   Telecopier 301.309.8303   email@maxlaw.us
Adjacent to Montgomery County Courthouse  |  Across from Rockville Metro Station