National Association of the Deaf

Civil Rights Laws



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The NAD was established in 1880 by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. These beliefs remain true to this day.

Early achievements by the NAD, such as securing the right to federal civil service employment and the right to drive a car, are sometimes overshadowed by the continuing and constant struggle for equal access and equal opportunities to education, employment, health care, and justice.  

Federal civil rights laws play an important role in achieving equal access and equal opportunities nationwide.  The NAD was actively engaged in the passage of key civil rights laws, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Today, the NAD is actively engaged in the passage of other key civil rights laws, such as the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.  The NAD also engages in national public policy development through a wide range of activities, including engagement in the regulatory process of federal agencies and the pursuit of enforcement actions through agencies and the courts.

Here you will find information about federal civil rights laws and regulations and how those laws apply to a wide range of entities and ensure the rights of the deaf and hard of hearing community to equal access, equal opportunities, and effective communication.

Recent NAD Action Highlights

  • Engaged in the development of language for a bill negotiated between disability advocacy organizations and the business community.  Efforts resulted in the introduction and passage of the “ADA Amendments Act of 2008” which was signed into law on September 25, 2008.  
  • Filed extensive comments in August 2008 with the U.S. Department of Justice in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to adopt the 2004 ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and to propose changes to the ADA Title II (state and local governments) and Title III (public accommodations) regulations.  
  • Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT):  Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act
    • Assisted in the preparation of testimony for a House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet hearing on “Enhancing Access to Broadband Technology and Services for Persons with Disabilities.”
    • The “Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act” (H.R. 6320), which seeks to update the Communications Act to ensure access to Internet-based communication and video programming technologies, was introduced in the House.  Met with industry groups and congressional staff to discuss and seek support for H.R. 6320 and introduction in the U.S. Senate.
    • Advocated for re-introduction of the “Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act” bill in the 111th Congress.
    • "Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009" (H.R. 3101) introduced in the House of Representatives.

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National Association of the Deaf | 8630 Fenton Street, Suite 820, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3819