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OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE RECOMMENDS CONGRESSIONAL ACTION TO REQUIRE ELECTRONIC & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACCESS TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

November 19, 2001

 

PRESS RELEASE
CONTACT: Alma Candelaria 202/724-9250
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RELEASE DATE: November 19, 2001

OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE RECOMMENDS CONGRESSIONAL ACTION TO REQUIRE ELECTRONIC & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACCESS TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH


Washington, D.C. - Board Chair Susan S. Robfogel and the Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance submitted an interim report to Congress recommending that section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 be made applicable to all Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) covered employing offices.

"While many House and Senate and other congressional instrumentalities have already taken affirmative measures toward making their internet sites section 508 compliant, it remains voluntary, not mandatory on Capitol Hill. With this report the Board is recommending that the legislative branch be required to meet the higher level of accessibility which Congress requires of the executive branch," stated Bill Thompson, Executive Director of the Office of Compliance.

In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act strengthening provisions covering access to information in the federal sector. As amended, section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires equal access for persons with disabilities to the Federal government's electronic and information technology. The law covers all types of electronic and information technology and is not limited to assistive technologies. The law requires federal departments and agencies that develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology to ensure that Federal employees and members of the public with disabilities have access to and use of information and data, comparable to that of employees and members of the public without disabilities, to the extent that it does not pose an undue burden.

The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 applies eleven civil rights, labor and workplace laws to employees of the legislative branch of the federal government and establishes dispute resolution procedures and judicial remedies for employees. The Act also requires the Board periodically to report on whether other provisions of Federal labor and workplace law should be made applicable to the legislative branch.

The Board's report is available on the Office of Compliance's website at http://www.compliance.gov.

 

 

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