Civil Rights Laws

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.