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What's the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968?

Numerous federal laws offer different civil rights to the American public. Some of these laws protect individuals with disabilities from suffering from discriminatory practices, and they also help these individuals have equal access to various public buildings and facilities. The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 is one of these federal laws. It applies to government buildings and facilities that are leased, remodeled, constructed and/or designed through the use of various federal funds.

According to the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, federal buildings need to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. The term "building" refers to facilities or buildings that are not being leased for subsidized housing and that are not being used for military purposes. By virtue of the act, other federal buildings must be accessible to the general public, including individuals deemed to be "physically handicapped."

Accessibility to the physically handicapped means that buildings with more than one story need to have elevators so that wheelchair-bound individuals can access all stories. Bathrooms as well as the entrances of these facilities should also be accessible.

In spite of the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, individuals with disabilities may find that some federal buildings don't conform with the law. This nonconformance could be the result of a simple mistake or the result of unreasonable cost-saving measures. Regardless of why the lack of attention to accessibility occurred, those who are affected by federal buildings that are not appropriately accessible could have the legal right to pursue a lawsuit. In some situations, victims might be able to seek damages relating to injuries and discrimination suffered as a result of the nonconformance.

Source: FindLaw, "42 U.S.C. § 4151 - U.S. Code - Unannotated Title 42. The Public Health and Welfare § 4151. "Building" defined," accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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