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Employment of Students with Disabilities

Employment of Students with Disabilities


Federal and State Disability Discrimination Laws

Students and school applicants with disabilities are protected against disability-based discrimination, and have a right to reasonable accommodations, under federal and state law.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you have the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace. This includes accommodations you need during the COVID-19 pandemic to help you stay healthy and be able to work. 


State and Local Government Employees

State and local government employees are protected from disability discrimination under state and federal law. Title I of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination in employment. Title II of the ADA prohibits disability discrimination by state and local governments. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act also prohibits disability discrimination against government entities that receive federal funds.

Discrimination includes unequal treatment, retaliation and harassment against employees and job applicants with disabilities. It also includes the failure to provide reasonable modifications to an employer’s practices, policies or workplace conditions in order to accommodate an employee’s or applicant’s disability. Whether an accommodation or modification is reasonable depends on the specific situation and the type of job involved. Reasonable accommodations and modifications cannot impose an undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense) on the employer.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) supports several initiatives that help employers interested in hiring individuals with disabilities, including:

  • The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion(EARN) is a free, nationwide service that educates employers about effective strategies for recruiting, hiring, retaining and advancing people with disabilities. EARN also maintains a list of job posting websites geared toward job seekers with disabilities and a collection of success stories about employers that have made a commitment to disability inclusion.
  • The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities(WRP) is a free resource that connects private businesses and federal agencies nationwide with qualified job candidates for temporary or permanent positions in a variety of fields. Applicants are highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workforce. Through jobs, private employers interested in gaining access to these individuals can post permanent and temporary positions. WRP participants can then search and apply for these positions using an employer's standard application processes.


U.S. Department of Labor Resources on Hiring People with Disabilities