Attorney General Lockyer Releases Handbook Outlining Legal Rights Of Persons With Disabilities

Thursday, December 4, 2003
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced his office has released an updated handbook containing a summary of state and federal laws designed to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.

"There are 5.9 million Californians with disabilities, and it is important that they know their rights as they pertain to employment, housing, education and access," Lockyer said. "The handbook provides updates on the many changes in legal protections that are given to individuals with physical and mental disabilities, both at the state and federal level."

Last issued in 1998, the fourth edition of Legal Rights of Persons With Disabilities provides summaries of federal and state laws that protect individuals with disabilities in the workplace and in accessing facilities open to the public. The guide discusses discrimination laws regarding housing, business ventures and education. Also included is information on programs and services, benefits and health care.

Copies of the publication may be obtained by writing the Attorney General's Public Inquiry Unit, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550, and online at http://ag.ca.gov/consumers/pdf/disabled.pdf. The handbook also will be formatted into alternative forms that are accessible to persons with disabilities.

In 1999, Lockyer established for the first time within the state Department of Justice a Civil Rights Enforcement Section to enforce state and federal civil rights laws. The section is dedicated to protecting Californians from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. Lawyers in the section work with state, federal and local government agencies, the public and with civil rights and community groups to identify civil rights issues, prosecute those who have violated the law and seek the strongest remedies to deter further violations.

Last month, the section entered into a settlement with the City of Del Mar to ensure that it complies with state disabled access laws and regulations. The settlement stems from complaints that the city had failed to enforce state laws requiring equal access to public facilities and events for persons with disabilities.

A similar settlement was reached with Marin County in September. In both cases, a monitor was established to report to the Attorney General regarding compliance with the settlements.

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