By Michael J. Sacopulos, JD

The US government this week announced new rules for enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on the law’s 20th anniversary.

“The promise of the ADA was that all Americans should have equal access and equal opportunity, including Americans with disabilities. The ADA was about independence and the freedom to make of our lives what we will.  We celebrate that today, and we recommit ourselves to ending discrimination in all its forms,” said President Obama in a news release on July 26th, 2011.

The Obama administration is working to release a draft comprehensive strategic plan to improve compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 508 requires that federal agencies’ electronic and information technology be accessible to people with disabilities, both inside and outside the government.

Twelve years after this law was enacted, many technological barriers still exist. While currently only government websites are required to be compliant many companies have been hit with hefty lawsuits. 

On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. That landmark civil rights legislation reaffirmed the idea that all our citizens, regardless of disability, are entitled to the same privileges, pursuits, and opportunities as everyone else. 

The president said the Department of Justice was publishing two new rules Monday "prohibiting disability-based discrimination by more than 80,000 state and local government entities, and 7 million private businesses." In addition, he said beginning in 2012, "All new buildings must be constructed in a way that’s compliant with the new 2010 standards for the design of doors and windows and elevators and bathrooms."

In the September 2011 issue of PSP: Plastic Surgery Practice, we will dive into this issue and outline steps you can take to protect your practice.

[Source: PSP/UPI]