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Federal Government Emphasizes Workplace Accessibility, Disability Rights

woman with disability wears headphones at computer

In June 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order designed to ensure the federal workforce serves as a model for inclusion, equity, diversity and accessibility.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued an article outlining laws that federal agencies must follow to provide disabled workers with access to accommodations and ensure they are able to fully participate in the workplace.

The article mentions accommodations that improve access to job facilities, physical spaces and information technology. It also shows where agencies can find additional resources to help them comply with anti-discrimination and accessibility laws.

According to the document, under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of disability in regard to:

  • Hiring.
  • Advancement or discharge of employees.
  • Compensation.
  • Job training.
  • Other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.

SHRM Online gathered additional news on how the government has advocated for individuals with disabilities in the workplace in recent months.

OMB Memo Outlines Digital Accessibility Expectations for Federal Agencies

On Dec. 21, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a memorandum to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires agencies to offer equal access to electronic information and data for individuals with disabilities. The memo comes amid extensive frustration with federal website accessibility.

[The White House]

DOJ to Propose New ADA Web Accessibility Rule

​The Department of Justice (DOJ) will propose new standards to ensure that websites and mobile applications run by state and local governments are accessible to people with disabilities. The proposed rule includes integrating text descriptions of images for people using screen readers, providing captions on videos and enabling navigation through a keyboard instead of a mouse for those with limited use of their hands.

[SHRM Online]

Federal Government Issues Disability Resource Guide

On the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act, the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a resource guide to help companies better understand the recruitment, hiring and employment of individuals with disabilities in the federal sector.


DOL Invests Millions into Helping Employ People with Disabilities

The DOL announced in August that it's making available more than $69 million in grants to states to develop innovative strategies to help marginalized youth and young adults with disabilities join the workforce.

[Department of Labor]

Biden Mandates Federal Agencies to Create ‘Equity Teams’

Biden issued an executive order, "Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government," in February, mandating government agencies to create "equity teams" to address the barriers underserved communities face in accessing agencies' policies, programs and activities.

[SHRM Online]


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.