Congress has passed and the president signed legislation expanding on the rights of disabled persons to use, access and enjoy the benefits of modern technology on computers, smartphones, televisions and other communication devices.

"The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act will make it easier for people who are deaf, blind or live with a visual impairment to do what many of us take for granted—from navigating a TV or DVD menu to sending an email on a smart phone," said President Obama during the signing ceremony. "It sets new standards so that Americans with disabilities can take advantage of the technology our economy depends on. And that’s especially important in today’s economy, when every worker needs the necessary skills to compete for the jobs of the future."

Specifically, the law requires accessible Web browsers on smartphones, audible descriptions of on-screen TV action, TV program guides that are accessible to the blind, captions for online TV programming, remote controls with easy access to closed captioning, and VoIP equipment that is compatible with hearing aids.

The law takes effect during the 20th anniversary celebration of the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in charge of its enforcement.

For further information and tools for making your workplace and policies ADA-compliant, please visit the Harassment and Discrimination section on the Personnel Concepts Web site.