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Applicability of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to Certain Governmental Entities

Date of Issuance:

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against qualified handicapped individuals in any program or activity conducted by any “Executive agency.” The legislative history of the 1978 Amendments to the Act makes clear that Congress intended § 504 to apply to all “agencies and instrumentalities” in “the Executive branch,” including independent regulatory agencies performing functions constitutionally committed to the Executive Branch. The term “Executive agency” as used in § 504 must be construed broadly to include all government entities which are not within either the legislative or judicial branches.

All of the entities listed in the memorandum are “Executive agencies” under § 504. These are: the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Commission of Fine Arts, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the Federal Maritime Commission, the National Transportation Safety Board, the National Labor Relations Board, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Administrative Conference of the United States.

Updated July 9, 2014