Question:

My employer recently sent a survey to all employees asking if they had a disability. I have a disability but it doesn’t affect my job. Do I have to answer the survey?

Answer:

No...

Under the ADA, the only time a person must disclose that he or she has a disability is when requesting a reasonable accommodation. Some employers are also required by Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act to ask applicants and employees to identify if they have a disability.  This is not the same as requesting an accommodation. It is voluntary and is simply a way for the employer to document how closely it meets the goal of 7% disability representation within its workforce. Identification as having a disability does not begin the accommodations process; employees who identify as having a disability must still disclose through the company's accommodations process if a reasonable accommodation is being requested. In either case, disability information is to be kept confidential and separate from other employment records.  


Categories:
  • Employment/Title I
  • Question:

    Is there a difference between self-identifying as having a disability and disclosing a disability?

    Answer:

    Yes...

    Although the terms are similar, they generally mean different things in the workplace. Self-identification is requested when an employer is collecting demographic data about its employees and is entirely voluntary. Meanwhile, disclosing a disability is done when an employee is requesting a reasonable accommodation and is required in order to start the accommodations process.


    Categories:
  • Employment/Title I
  • Question:

    Why would I care if my website is accessible?

    Answer:

    Making your web page accessible is good business. Individuals with disabilities will make up about one out of five of your potential customers. Also, web accessibility often makes pages faster to load. This will benefit customers, with and without disabilities, using tablets or smart phones. Also, about 48% of Americans have a low literacy rate for various reasons. Using plain language helps make your message and product more accessible to all.


    Categories:
  • Website Accessibility
  • Question:

    Are websites required to be accessible under the ADA?

    Answer:

    There is no language in the ADA that explicitly says websites must be accessible. However, Title III public accommodations (private businesses) and Title II public entities (state and local governments) are required to ensure effective communication. This means that however an organization is conveying information or offering access to services, it must be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. These organizations can provide alternate ways of accessing web information, but this must be done so that it provides the same or equal access as the website. Currently, the Department of Justice is developing separate regulations for Title II and for Title III web sites. Be on the watch; these new standards may be published in the fall of 2013. Federal government agencies and contractors are required to provide accessible websites under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Also, many states have laws that require state and municipal governments to follow Section 508 compliance. You should check your state law to know for sure.


    Categories:
  • Website Accessibility
  • Question:

    As an employer, do I have to make sure my online application is accessible?

    Answer:

    There are no clear regulations that cover private employers in this area, but it is wise business practice. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said that employers were free to use a variety of ways to expand their poolof candidates. Also, if an employer receives a request for a reasonable accommodation to make an online application more accessible (say by providing a larger font), then the employer might need to meet that request. You can read more about this in this informal EEOC discussion letter. Federal agencies and contractors are covered by Section 508 which mandates web accessibility.


    Categories:
  • Website Accessibility
  • Question:

    I want to check if my website is accessible, but I am not a web developer. Is there any way to do a basic check?

    Answer:

    Yes. One free tool to check a web page’s accessibility is WAVE, Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool, available from WebAIM, Web Accessibility in Mind. WebAIM is a partnership between the Center for Persons with Disabilities and Utah State University. Keep in mind, that while WAVE will give you some preliminary information, it is important to review the results to make sure you understand what it means for your website. For example, if WAVE says that a description for a picture is missing, you have to determine if that picture is important in letting people know what your site is trying to say. It would also be valuable to reach out to users with disabilities to get firsthand feedback. One way you might try to do this is by contacting your local center for independent living to see if they have staff or consumers’ with disabilities available who might be willing to give input.


    Categories:
  • Website Accessibility
  • Question:

    We are working to revise our town government’s website. Is there any guidance out there to help lead us through the process?

    Answer:

    Yes. The Department of Justice has produced a document, Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to people with Disabilities. It explains the importance of an accessible website and lays out a voluntary action plan that local governments can follow to plan out the process.


    Categories:
  • Website Accessibility
  • Question:

    I want to learn more about making my businesses webpage accessible. Where can I go to do this?

    Answer:

    A good place to begin is to learn more about the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. These are standards developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative, a working group of the World Wide Web Consortium; the organization that standardizes web code. If you are interested in the Section 508 standards, the federal government has many useful tools and resources at www.section508.gov


    Categories:
  • Website Accessibility
  • Question:

    Our company is getting a new software system. An employee who is deaf has requested an interpreter for the training sessions. Do we have to provide one?

    Answer:

    In this instance, most likely yes. An employer needs to provide an effective reasonable accommodation that will allow an employee to perform their essential job functions as long as this does not impose an undue hardship. The level of complexity involved in this case would require an interpreter to facilitate communication to ensure the employee is fully capable of using the new system. In general, an interpreter would be appropriate for key workplace interactions such as trainings, staff meetings, or a performance review. In order to claim an undue hardship, an employer has to look at not only the cost, but consider its own size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.


    Categories:
  • Employment/Title I
  • Question:

    Are all employees covered by the ADA?

    Answer:

    No. The ADA covers private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local government employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, and labor-management committees. Federal employees’ rights are protected by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Employees of private employers with less than 15 employees are often covered under state laws. For example, employers with 4 or more employees are subject to the New York State Human Rights Law which affords similar protections as the ADA.


    Categories:
  • Employment/Title I
  • Question:

    Can my employer get medical information about my disability when I ask for an accommodation?

    Answer:

    The employer may (but is not required to) collect medical information to substantiate that the employee has a disability and to identify a reasonable accommodation.


    Categories:
  • Employment/Title I
  • Question:

    I told my supervisor about my disability and she has told my coworkers about it. Don’t I have a right to privacy?

    Answer:

    Yes. Your disability disclosure should be kept confidential and should be treated as private information.


    Categories:
  • Employment/Title I
  • Question:

    Do I have to ask for a reasonable accommodation in a certain way?

    Answer:

    Generally speaking, no. There is no specific criteria nor any particular words that an employee must use in asking for a reasonable accommodation. The employee simply needs to let the employer know that a change at work is needed due to a medical condition. Some businesses have a formalized accommodation request process. Check with your human resources contact person to find out what the process is.


    Categories:
  • Employment/Title I
  • Question:

    Can an employer ask about my disability on a job application?

    Answer:

    No. The only disability related question an employer can ask is if an applicant is able to perform the essential job functions with or without a reasonable accommodation. Further, this is a “yes/no” question which should not be followed by additional questions on accommodation needs or other disability-related information. Employers cannot ask about a history of disability. They cannot ask what kinds of accommodations might be needed to perform a job as it could be another way of asking if an applicant had a disability. It is the applicant’s decision whether or not to disclose a disability.


    Categories:
  • Employment/Title I
  • Question:

    How does the ADA affect postsecondary entities?

    Answer:

    State funded schools such as universities, community colleges and vocational schools are covered by Title II of the ADA. Private colleges and vocational schools are covered by Title III. Also, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act covers any school that receives federal funds. All of these schools are required to make their programs accessible to qualified students with disabilities. A postsecondary entity may not discriminate on the basis of disability. It must ensure that the programs it offers, including extracurricular activities, are accessible to students with disabilities. They can do this in a number of ways: by providing architectural access, providing aids and services necessary for effective communication, and by modifying policies, practices and procedures. Modifications will always vary based on the individual student's needs. Modifications of policies and practices are not required when it would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity. The postsecondary program cannot have eligibility requirements that screen out people with disabilities. Application forms cannot ask applicants if they have a history of any disability. Institutions may impose criteria that relate to safety risks but these criteria must be based on actual risk and not on stereotypes or assumptions about a disability.


    Categories:
  • Education
  • Question:

    How the ADA applies to schools or colleges operated by a religious entity?

    Answer:

    Institutions or colleges operated by religious entities are not covered by the ADA. However, they must comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disability, if the school receives federal funds.


    Categories:
  • Education
  • Question:

    How the ADA applies to private schools?

    Answer:

    Private schools are covered by Title III of the ADA. Covered institutions must eliminate unnecessary eligibility standards that exclude people with disabilities; make reasonable modifications in policies, practices and procedures that deny access to individuals with disabilities; and provide auxiliary aids (for example: assistive technology, interpreters, materials in alternative formats, etc.). The only exception is if the modification would cause a fundamental alteration on the nature of the program; or an undue burden on the institution.


    Categories:
  • Education
  • Question:

    How will the ADA’s public schools provisions be enforced?

    Answer:

    There are two key provisions of Title II of the ADA that public entities must provide: (1) program access (2) in an integrated setting unless separate programs are necessary to ensure equal benefits or services. Program access under Title II means that school districts are required to operate their programs so that when viewed as a whole they are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. This view should include any supplementary aids and services needed to ensure that students with disabilities can participate to the maximum extent possible in the school’s courses and programs. Complaints should be addressed to local or state officials. First, address your public school complaint to the local school district and then to the state department of education. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces several federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal funds from the Department of Education. Discrimination complaints based on the two ADA provisions mentioned above may be filed with OCR using the online complaint form (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html?src=ct), or by contacting the OCR enforcement office that serves your state. File the complaint within 180 days of the incident.


    Categories:
  • Education
  • Question:

    How does the ADA apply to public school students?

    Answer:

    Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities. This includes public elementary, middle, secondary and post-secondary schools. The ADA extends the nondiscrimination requirements outlined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to all State and Local Government entities including public schools. As in other settings, the individual must meet the definition of disability under the ADA to be covered. Any student who meets the eligibility criteria for services under IDEA will also be covered by both Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA. Since the ADA uses a different definition of disability than IDEA, some students who are not eligible for services under IDEA will be eligible for services under the ADA and Section 504.


    Categories:
  • Education
  • Question:

    I am on Social Security and Medicaid and have questions, can you answer them?

    Answer:

    The Northeast ADA Center's primary focus is the ADA. If you have questions regarding Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, we may be able to provide you appropriate referrals and their contact information. The phone number for Social Security Administration is 1.800.772.1213.  For information on your state Medicaid program, visit www.medicaid.gov.  


    Categories:
  • Miscellaneous
  • Question:

    I work at a private country club- do we have to adhere to the ADA?

    Answer:

    Private clubs are exempt from Title III of the ADA.  The ADA recognizes an entity as a private club if it is a private club under title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, private clubs lose their exemption when they make themselves open to the public and available to nonmembers.  For example, if a private club rents their space out to a day care center that is open to the public and children of nonmembers, the club must follow Title III obligations with respect to that day care center only. 


    Categories:
  • Miscellaneous
  • Question:

    Do religious organizations and churches have to comply with the ADA?

    Answer:

    Religious entities are exempt from Title III of the ADA. They may be subject to employment obligations of Title I if they have 15 or more employees. The ADA defines a religious entity as any religious organization, or entity controlled by a religious organization, which includes places of worship. The scope of the exemption covers all activities, whether religious or secular. For example, if a religious group operates a day care center for members and nonmembers, it would still not be required to adhere to the ADA obligations.  If the religious entity rents out their space to a private business, then the tenant business would have to comply with Title III, but the religious entity would still remain exempt.


    Categories:
  • Miscellaneous
  • Question:

    How does the ADA affect workers' compensation programs?

    Answer:

    The ADA and workers' compensation use different definitions of "disability."  Only injured workers who meet the ADA's definition of an "individual with a disability" will be considered disabled under the ADA, regardless of whether they satisfy criteria for receiving benefits under workers' compensation or other disability laws. A worker also must be "qualified" (with or without reasonable accommodation) to be protected by the ADA. Work-related injuries do not always cause physical or mental impairments severe enough to "substantially limit" a major life activity. Also, many on-the-job injuries cause temporary impairments which heal in a short period of time with little or no long-term impact. Therefore, some injured workers who qualify for benefits under workers' compensation or other disability benefits laws may not be protected by the ADA. An employer must consider work-related injuries on a case-by-case basis to know if a worker is protected by the ADA. (This is an excerpt from the National Network of ADA Centers website. Visit www.adata.org for more information on this topic).


    Categories:
  • Miscellaneous
  • Question:

    I use a Segway for my mobility disability. Does the ADA consider that the same as a wheelchair?

    Answer:

    For the most part, yes.  A Segway would be considered an "other power-driven mobility device" (OPDMD) according to the revised ADA regulations which took effect March 15, 2010. An OPDMD is any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines that is used by an individual with a mobility disability to get around, regardless of whether the device was originally designed for this purpose.  Public and private entities must make reasonable modifications in their policies to allow individuals to use OPDMDs unless this presents a legitimate safety risk.  For more information, read our Fact Sheet on "Wheelchairs and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices" at: NEADAFactSheetWheelchairs.pdf.


    Categories:
  • Miscellaneous
  • Question:

    I have been discriminated against because of my disability and need a lawyer, where can I find one?

    Answer:

    The Northeast ADA Center does not provide direct attorney referrals.  The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP).  There is a P&A/CAP agency in every state and U.S. territory as well as one serving the Native American population in the four corners region.  Collectively, the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally-based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.  To find your local Protection and Advocacy agency and Client Assistance Program in each state, go to - http://www.ndrn.org/index.php. Each state or territory may also have lawyers who are willing to provide services pro bono (free of charge) or who specialize in disability rights. While we cannot make any direct referrals, we might be able to assist you in searching online for an agency you can contact.


    Categories:
  • Miscellaneous
  • Question:

    What is the minimum number of accessible parking spaces required in a parking lot?

    Answer:

    The minimum number of accessible parking spaces required in a parking lot depends on the total number of spaces provided in the lot. For example, for a parking lot with 25 or less spaces, you must provide one accessible parking space. The number of accessible spaces required increases so please look at the below table for the number of accessible spaces you must provide based upon the total number of spaces allotted in the parking lot.

    TOTAL PARKING SPACES PROVIDED

    ADA REQUIRED MINIMUM NUMBER OF ACCESSIBLE SPACES

    1 to 25

    1

    26 to 50

    2

    51 to 75

    3

    76 to 100

    4

    101 to 150

    5

    151 to 200

    6

    201 to 300

    7

    301 to 400

    8

    401 to 500

    9

    501 to 1,000

    2% of total

    1,001 and Over

    20 plus one for each 100, or fraction thereof, over 1,000


    Categories:
  • Transportation/Parking
  • Question:

    What is the minimum width of an access aisle?

    Answer:

    Access aisles for car and van parking spaces must be a minimum of 60 inches (1525 mm) wide. Additionally, access aisles must extend the full length of the parking spaces they serve.


    Categories:
  • Transportation/Parking
  • Question:

    What is the minimum width of an accessible van parking space?

    Answer:

    A van parking spaces must be 132 inches (3350 mm) wide minimum.


    Categories:
  • Transportation/Parking
  • Question:

    What is the minimum width of an accessible car parking space?

    Answer:

    A car parking space must be 96 inches (2440 mm) wide minimum.


    Categories:
  • Transportation/Parking
  • Question:

    What is a service animal and are they allowed on fixed route or para-transit services?

    Answer:

    As defined for transportation purposes, a service animal is an animal [i.e. dog, cat, miniature horse, etc.] that has been trained to perform a task or tasks for an individual with a disability. Service animals include, but are not limited to, animals that guide individuals who are blind, that alert persons with hearing disabilities, that pull wheelchairs or carry and pick up items for individuals with mobility disabilities, that help a person who has difficulties with equilibrium, or that alert a person of an approaching seizure. Thus, transit providers must allowed service animals to board with riders who have disabilities.  Transit providers cannot require that an individual with a disability provide evidence of certification or any identification papers indicating that the animal is a  service animal. A service animal is required to be under the control of its owner or handler at all times.


    Categories:
  • Transportation/Parking
  • Question:

    Do transit systems have to provide travel information (i.e. train or bus schedules) in an accessible format?

    Answer:

    Yes.  Public transit systems have to provide information about their services and schedules to people with all types of disabilities. For example, if you need a written schedule or an informational brochure on services available in an accessible format, the transit system must make the materials available in an accessible format within a reasonable time. Accessible formats may include:

    • Braille
    • Large print
    • Audio recordings
    • Electronic formats
    • Websites accessible to screen readers or other assistive technology


    Categories:
  • Transportation/Parking
  • Question:

    What is ADA complementary para-transit?

    Answer:

    There are people with disabilities who are unable to ride the fixed route transit services even when those services are ADA compliant. For example, an individual who has trouble walking or with a heart condition may be unable to walk the distance necessary to the nearby transit stop or station. Perhaps an individual who uses a wheelchair is unable to get to the bus stop because of lack of sidewalks or curb cuts on a route. Therefore, for persons with disabilities who are unable to ride fixed routes, the ADA mandates that para-transit services be offered, as an alternative to the fixed route system. Para-transit service provides accessible transportation from the pick up location to the destination of eligible persons with disabilities.


    Categories:
  • Transportation/Parking
  • Question:

    Do buses on a fixed route system have to be accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs?

    Answer:

    Under the ADA, all buses bought after August 25, 1990 must be accessible to people with disabilities, which includes anyone who uses a wheelchair. For example, buses must be equipped with lifts or ramps, in addition to other accessibility features. Another accessibility feature that required by the ADA is a system to secure wheelchairs (i.e. a wheelchair securement belt) to hold wheelchairs in place when the bus is in motion. Additionally, drivers must participate in mandatory training to learn to operate such accessibility features properly and to be able to assist patrons with disabilities on and off the bus. 


    Categories:
  • Transportation/Parking
  • Question:

    What is Fixed Route Service?

    Answer:

    Fixed route services include buses and rail lines that travel on a regular route on a fixed schedule.


    Categories:
  • Transportation/Parking
  • Question:

    I reserved a hotel room with a tub and grab bars, but when I checked in to my room, I had a roll-in shower. Can a hotel change the kind of accessible accommodation from the one I reserved?

    Answer:

    Hotels and covered places of lodging under Title III must hold the specific accessible guest room requested for the customer and remove it from the reservation system. This is one of the changes of the revised Title III regulations from the Department of Justice regarding places of lodging that took effect March 15 2012. To learn more about the new requirements, visit the Northeast ADA Center's factsheet on the revised lodging regulations here.


    Categories:
  • Businesses and Places of Public Accommodation/Title III
  • Question:

    I own a pizza shop. I would like to alter my entrance with a step to make it more accessible, but business is down and money is tight. Are there any programs to help me pay for the alteration?

    Answer:

    To help small businesses to comply with the ADA, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code includes a Disabled Access Credit (Section 44) for businesses with 30 or fewer full-time employees or with total revenues of $1 million or less in the previous tax year. The credit can be up to 50% of cost from $250 to $10,250 with a maximum credit of $5,000. Eligible expenses may include the cost of undertaking barrier removal and alterations to improve accessibility, accommodating employees, providing sign language interpreters, or making material available in accessible formats such as Braille or large print.

    Section 190 of the IRS Code provides a tax deduction for businesses of all sizes for costs incurred in removing architectural or transportation barriers in existing facilities or alterations. The maximum deduction is $15,000 per year.

    There may also be tax credits or deductions in state tax codes.  For more details about these tax incentives, visit: http://www.adainfo.org/content/tax-incentives-businesses


    Categories:
  • Businesses and Places of Public Accommodation/Title III
  • Question:

    I am a doctor with a small practice. A patient has requested to have a sign language interpreter for her appointment. Must I provide this service?

    Answer:

    When you decide how to meet Title III's requirement for effective communication, you should look at the length and complexity of the interaction. If the patient was simply dropping off paperwork, then written notes or other improvised forms of communication may be appropriate. If a patient is coming in for an appointment or to discuss results of some test, then the nature of the communication is different. It is more in depth and any miscommunication could potentially create negative consequences. Title III entities, such as a doctor's office, must furnish auxiliary aids when necessary to ensure effective communication, unless an undue burden or fundamental alteration would result.

    While providing a qualified interpreter will cost some money, it would be difficult for a doctor's office to claim an undue financial burden. Also, extra charges may not be imposed on individuals with disabilities to cover the costs of measures necessary to ensure nondiscriminatory treatment, such as interpreters.


    Categories:
  • Businesses and Places of Public Accommodation/Title III
  • Question:

    I have a neuromuscular disability and must use a wheelchair. At my gym, I was not allowed to participate in the yoga class because I cannot get down and up from the floor. Is this legal?

    Answer:

    The ADA is an equal opportunity law and this is true for entities covered under Title III of the ADA. Title III covers public accommodations. Public accommodations are places such as gyms, stadiums, theaters, medical facilities, daycare centers, most places of lodging, gas stations, restaurants, and stores.  While the ADA does not guarantee equal results or benefits from a public accommodation's regular program, you do have the right to equal participation. The gym cannot legally bar you from joining in the class because of your disability. If the gym decides to offer an accessible yoga program as an alternative, you can choose to take that class. However, you still have the right to participate in the standard class.


    Categories:
  • Businesses and Places of Public Accommodation/Title III
  • Question:

    Are there any limits on the kinds of modifications in policies, practices, and procedures required by the ADA?

    Answer:

    Yes. The ADA does not require modifications that would fundamentally alter the nature of the services provided by the public accommodation. For example, it would not be discriminatory for a physician specialist who treats only burn patients to refer a deaf individual to another physician for treatment of a broken limb or respiratory ailment. To require a physician to accept patients outside of his or her specialty would fundamentally alter the nature of the medical practice.


    Categories:
  • State and Local Government Access/Title II
  • Question:

    Does the ADA allow public accommodations to take safety factors into consideration when providing services to individuals with disabilities?

    Answer:

    Yes. The ADA specifically allows a public accommodation to exclude an individual, if that individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be mitigated or significantly lessened by appropriate modifications in the public accommodation's policies or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids.  When assessing direct threat, the assessment must be strictly based on valid medical analyses and/or other objective evidence, and not on speculation. A public accommodation is permitted to establish objective safety criteria for the operation of its business; however, any safety standard must be based on objective requirements rather than stereotypes or generalizations about the ability of persons with disabilities to participate in an activity.

    For example: An adult person with tuberculosis desires to  provide tutoring to elementary school kids in a volunteer mentor program run by a local public school board. Title II allows the board to decline to permit the individual to participate on the grounds that the mentor's condition would be a direct threat to the health or safety of the children enrolled in the program, if the condition is contagious and the threat cannot be alleviated or eliminated by reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures.


    Categories:
  • State and Local Government Access/Title II
  • Question:

    Will the ADA have any effect on the eligibility criteria used by public accommodations to determine who may receive services?

    Answer:

    Yes. If a criterion screens out or tends to screen out individuals with disabilities, it may only be used if necessary for the provision of services. Additionally, an agency must be careful of subtle forms of discriminatory practice.   For example, requiring a driver's license as the only acceptable form of identification when paying by  check could constitute discrimination against individuals with visual impairments or other conditions that may make a person ineligible to obtain licenses. To avoid potential discrimination, public entities must allow the use of alternative identification such as a state- issued identification card.


    Categories:
  • State and Local Government Access/Title II
  • Question:

    What changes must a public entity make to its existing facilities to make them accessible?

    Answer:

    A public entity must ensure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from services, programs, and activities because its buildings are inaccessible.  A State or local government's programs, when viewed in their entirety, must be easily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities (i.e., individuals with disability should be able to use the products and services of the state agency). This standard, known as "program accessibility," applies to facilities of a public entity that existed on January 26, 1992. Public entities do not necessarily have to make each of their existing facilities accessible if the program, when viewed in its entirety, is accessible. But they should still provide program accessibility. This can be accomplished by a number of methods including, but not limited to, alteration of existing facilities, acquisition or construction of additional facilities, relocation of a service or program to an accessible location, or provision of services at alternate accessible sites.


    Categories:
  • State and Local Government Access/Title II
  • Question:

    I have a service dog. I made a hotel reservation and told them I have a service dog. They said that was fine but they would have to charge me extra to cover the cost of extra cleaning after we check out. Can they do this?

    Answer:

    No.  Places of lodging, as well as any other Title III place of public accommodation, cannot impose additional fees, surcharges, or request deposits because you are accompanied by a service animal.  This also holds true for places of lodging who normally allow pets at an extra charge. Service animals are not pets, therefore you cannot be charged a pet fee. If your animal does any damage to the property then the hotel/business would have the right afterwards to charge you appropriate fees to cover the cost of the damage, if it is normally their policy to charge anyone who causes damage. 

     


    Categories:
  • Service Animals
  • Question:

    I work in a buffet-style restaurant. We had a customer come in with a service dog. The customer got really upset when I explained that we would have to seat her very far away from the buffet, and that the dog could not accompany her to the buffet, because it would violate local health codes to have the dog that close to the food. We are within our rights aren’t we, given our health and safety requirements?

    Answer:

    No. Even if local or state health laws suggest animals cannot be present around the food, the ADA supersedes local and state ordinance. Places of public accommodation, including places that prepare and serve food, must comply with the ADA. Title III of the ADA applies to any restaurant, bar, lounge, etc. that serves food to the public.  It is also important to note that the Food and Drug Administration specifically states that it is not a health risk or violation for service animals to be around food, including employees who have service animals with them at work.  


    Categories:
  • Service Animals
  • Question:

    Is there any place that has the legal right to deny my service animal access?

    Answer:

    Yes.  Hospitals may be able to make the case for not allowing service animals into certain areas of their facility if a legitimate direct threat/health and safety risk exists, such as in patient rooms, the emergency room, or Intensive Care Unit. However the animal should still be allowed in more public parts of the hospital such as cafeterias and waiting rooms.   Also, churches and religious entities are exempt from ADA Title II and Title III obligations; therefore they do not have to allow a service animal access under the law.  Private home owners also have the right to ask that you not bring your service animal with you into their home. The only time Title II and Title III covered entities have the right to deny access is if the service animal has posed a legitimate health and safety risk or direct threat or if their presence has fundamentally altered the nature of the business. For example, if a service animal is out of the handler's control, causes a major disturbance (i.e. barking uncontrollably), or hurts another person, then the public or private entity would have the right to request that the owner remove the animal.

     


    Categories:
  • Service Animals
  • Question:

    Can my service animal sit with me on the airplane or does he have to ride in the cargo of the plane, and can the airline charge me extra for having my animal with me?

    Answer:

    The Air Carrier Access Act applies in this situation, not the ADA. The Air Carrier Access Act indicates that service animals and emotional support animals, are allowed in the cabin or the aircraft as long as the owner has a doctor's note verifying the need for the ESA.   The airline cannot charge extra fees or require the owner to purchase an extra ticket. The animal is typically allowed to ride under the passenger's seat. In certain cases, such as if the animal is unusually large or the owner has 2 animals, the owner may have to purchase an additional seat. Another option is to put the animal in the cargo hold, in which case the airline would not be allowed to charge extra even under special circumstances.  For more information, see http://airconsumer.dot.gov/rules/382short.pdf.


    Categories:
  • Service Animals
  • Question:

    I have a service dog and am looking for an apartment. The landlords I have met with are saying no pets are allowed in their housing units so they can’t rent to me. Is this legal?

    Answer:

    The Fair Housing Act (FHA), enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), says tenants with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations "necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling" even if there is a "no pets allowed" rule. HUD's position has been that service animals and emotional support animals may qualify as an accommodation but the person with the disability may need to "demonstrate the need for the accommodation" if said need is not readily apparent.  This information is taken from the Department of Housing and Urban Development 24 CFR Part 5 Pet Ownership for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities, Final Rule which can be viewed at: http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/24/5/subpart-C. Please note, there may be some exemptions to coverage under the FHA. For example, the owner of a small rental building, who also lives in the same building, may not have to adhere to follow the FHA as long as their advertising of the dwelling is not discriminatory in nature.


    Categories:
  • Service Animals
  • Question:

    I deal with depression and anxiety sometimes so my doctor said I should get an emotional support animal or a companion animal, are they the same as a service animal?

    Answer:

    No. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are therapeutic pets that help individuals with emotional difficulties. They are not trained to perform tasks or do work for the owner like a service animal is. ESAs cannot enter "no-pets allowed" establishments, but they are allowed in no-pets allowed housing and in the cabins of airplanes as long as the owner has a note from their doctor verifying the need for the ESA.  Companion Animals, sometimes called Therapy Animals, are pets who are typically very gentle and trained to behave well in a variety of settings. They are sometimes used for bringing a higher level of social functioning to people in nursing homes, schools, hospitals, etc. But they are not service animals nor are they legally granted access within any no-pets allowed establishments.

     


    Categories:
  • Service Animals
  • Question:

    The ADA says I can take my service animal with me into public places. Does this mean I can take it with me to my job too and my boss can’t say no?

    Answer:

    Title II and Title III of the ADA specifically state that service animals should be allowed to accompany their owner into public and private business establishments. The rules are different in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has indicated that Title I of the ADA, which covers employment, does not require automatic access for service animals. The employee must request this as an accommodation and the employer must consider this request and determine whether granting the accommodation is reasonable in the person's workplace.


    Categories:
  • Service Animals
  • Question:

    I run a business- if someone comes in with a dog claiming it’s a service animal can I ask for proof?

    Answer:

    To determine if an animal is a service animal, a public entity or a private business may ask two questions: 1) Is this animal required because of a disability?  2) What work or task has this animal been trained to perform? These inquiries may not be made if the need for the service animal is obvious (e.g., the dog is guiding an individual who is blind or is pulling a person's wheelchair.) You may not ask what disability the owner has nor can you require any documentation or proof that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal.  The ADA does not require that service animals wear any sort of identification, vest, or harness.


    Categories:
  • Service Animals
  • Question:

    Can any animal be a service animal or can they only be dogs?

    Answer:

    According to the new Department of Justice ADA Title II and Title III regulations (which took effect March 15, 2011), a service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered to be service animals.  There is one exception to this limitation. If a miniature horse has been trained to assist an individual with a disability, then the same ADA protections that apply to service dogs shall apply to the service horse also.


    For more information on Service Animals, see the Department of Justice guidance on Service Animals at: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm  and the ADA National Network Service Animals Fact sheet at: http://www.northeastada.org/docs/National%20ADA%20Fact%20Sheets/National%20ADA%20Center%20Fact%20Sheet%205%20SERVICE%20ANIMALS.pdf.


    Categories:
  • Service Animals
  • Question:

    What is recommended when creating a process for identifying a reasonable accommodation for an employee?

    Answer:

    1. Discuss the job. Employers are required to provide accommodations that enable workers to perform the essential functions of a job.  The essential and marginal functions are often part of the formal job description. However, it is useful to discuss job tasks and processes with the employee to get more details. 

    2.  Discuss how the disability impacts the job.  For example, discuss how the employee believes the disability influences the essential job functions of the job. Identify performance issues and discuss how these could be addressed with an accommodation.

    3. Discuss accommodation options.  Identify potential accommodations and assess how effective each would be in enabling the individual to perform essential job functions. If this consultation does not identify an appropriate accommodation, guidance is available from a number of sources; many without cost. For example, you can contact your regional ADA Center at 800-949-4232 or the Job Accommodation Network at (800) 526-7234 to assist you with accommodation ideas.

    4. If more than one accommodation would be effective or if the individual would prefer to provide  his/her own accommodation, the individual's preference should be given consideration. However, the employer is free to choose among effective accommodations, and may choose one that is less expensive or easier to provide.

    The fact that an individual is willing to provide his or her own accommodation does not relieve the employer of the duty to provide a reasonable accommodation should this individual for any reason be unable or unwilling to continue to provide their own accommodation.


    Categories:
  • Reasonable Accommodation
  • Question:

    What are some examples of reasonable accommodations?

    Answer:

    There are wide ranges of accommodations that could be considered by employers.  People with the same type of disability could need very different accommodations, depending on the person, the condition and the job.  Here are some examples:

    • making facilities readily accessible to and usable by an individual with a disability;
    • changing marginal (non-essential) job functions;
    • changing how an essential job function is performed;
    • using part-time or modified work schedules;
    • obtaining or modifying equipment or devices;
    • modifying examinations, training materials or policies;
    • providing qualified readers and interpreters;
    • reassignment to a vacant position;
    • permitting use of accrued paid leave or unpaid leave for necessary treatment;
    • providing reserved parking for a person with a mobility impairment; and
    • allowing an employee to provide equipment or devices that an employer is not required to provide.


    Categories:
  • Reasonable Accommodation
  • Question:

    Who is entitled to a reasonable accommodation?

    Answer:

    According to the ADA, an individual is entitled to a reasonable accommodation if s/he:

    • Is a qualified individual with a disability who has the skills, education and experience needed to do the essential functions of a job
    • Needs an accommodation to go through the job application process or/and to perform the essential functions of a job

    The employer is obligated to provide an accommodation unless these would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business.


    Categories:
  • Reasonable Accommodation
  • Question:

    What is a reasonable accommodation?

    Answer:

    According to the EEOC, a reasonable accommodation means "any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities (EEOC, See www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/accommodation.html). The ADA requires reasonable accommodation in three aspects of employment:

    • to ensure equal opportunity in the application process;
    • to enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of a job; and
    • to enable an employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.


    Categories:
  • Reasonable Accommodation
  • Question:

    What is the minimum number of wheelchair- accessible seats required in assembly areas and who is entitled to purchase accessible seats?

    Answer:

    Number of Seats

    Minimum Number of Required Wheelchair- Accessible Spaces

    4 to 25

    1

    26 to 50

    2

    51 to 150

    4

    151 to 300

    5

    301 to 500

    6

    501 to 5000

    6, plus 1 for each 150, or fraction thereof, between 501 through 5000

    5001 and over

    36, plus 1 for each 200, or fraction thereof, over 5000

    Individuals with mobility disabilities who need accessible seating due to their disability are allowed to buy tickets for accessible seats. This group comprises individuals who utilize wheelchairs, those who utilize other mobility devices, and individuals who cannot climb steps or walk long distances due to conditions such as arthritis or severe respiratory, circulatory, or cardiac conditions. Tickets for accessible seats may be purchased by someone on behalf of the person with a disability.


    Categories:
  • Program/Service Accessibility
  • Question:

    Can venues charge higher amounts of money for accessible seats than for non-accessible seats in the same seating section?

    Answer:

    No. Venues cannot charge higher amounts money for accessible seats than for non-accessible seats in the same seating section. This also applies to service charges added to the price of a ticket, whether charged by the venue or a third-party seller. Venues are obligated to offer accessible seats in all price categories offered to the general public.


    Categories:
  • Program/Service Accessibility
  • Question:

    Can tickets for accessible seats be sold to individuals in the general public who do not need the exact features of accessible seats?

    Answer:

    It depends. Normally, tickets for accessible seats may not be sold to individuals in the general public who do not need the specific features of accessible seats. However, there are three particular situations in which unsold accessible seats may be made available to members of the general public who are not in need of the features mentioned above:

    • when all non-accessible seats have been sold (excluding luxury boxes, club boxes, suites, and seats the venue holds back when declaring a sell-out); or
    • when all non-accessible seats in a particular seating section have been sold, unsold accessible seats in that section may be made available; or
    • when all non-accessible seats in a particular price category have been sold, unsold accessible seats in that price category may be made available.


    Categories:
  • Program/Service Accessibility
  • Question:

    What is an accessible seat and who can use one?

    Answer:

    Accessible seats are spaces particularly designed for wheelchairs and contain the following features:

    • An accessible approach
    • Clear floor space
    • Larger dimensions than typical seating

      For more information on the specific design requirements listed above for accessible seating in assembly areas visit the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards), sections 221 and 802


    Categories:
  • Program/Service Accessibility
  • Question:

    Are venues that sell tickets for events such as concerts, plays, and sporting events, obligated to sell tickets for accessible seats in the similar manner and under similar conditions as all other ticket sales?

    Answer:

    Yes. According to the 2010 ADA regulations, venues (and ticket sellers and distributors) cannot discriminate in the sale of tickets based on disability. Venues are mandated to sell tickets for accessible seats in a similar manner and under similar conditions as all other ticket sales. These requirements, apply to both public and private entities when selling tickets for single events or for a series of events (e.g., subscriptions or season tickets). For example, tickets for accessible seats must be sold:

    • during similar hours;
    • through similar methods of buying (e.g. phone, at the establishment, through a website, or by utilizing third-party vendors); and
    • during the same points of sale (pre-sales, promotions, general sales, wait lists, or lotteries) as non-accessible seats.


    Categories:
  • Program/Service Accessibility
  • Question:

    What are the compliance dates mandated by the new 2010 ADA Standards?

    Answer:

    March 15, 2012 marked the compliance date for provisions governing the 2010 ADA Standards for new construction, alterations, program accessibility, and barrier removal.

    As of March 15th, 2012 all newly constructed or altered facilities must comply with the requirements in the 2010 Standards. If elements in existing facilities already comply with the 1991 Standards and are not being altered, entities are not required to make changes to those elements to bring them into compliance with the 2010 Standards.

    For state and local government entities, if the start date for construction is on or after March 15, 2012, all newly constructed or altered facilities must comply with the 2010 ADA Standards.

    For public accommodations and commercial facilities, the compliance date for the 2010 ADA Standards for new construction and alterations is determined by:

    • (a) the date the last application for a building permit or permit extension is certified to be complete by a State, county, or local government;
    • (b) the date the last application for a building permit or permit extension is received by a State, county, or local government, where the government does not certify the completion of applications; or
    • (c) the start date of physical construction or alteration, if no permit is required.
    • (d) If that date is on or after March 15, 2012, then new construction and alterations must comply with the 2010 ADA Standards

    Further information can be found in the U.S. Department of Justice publication "Effective Date - Compliance Date" at http://www.ada.gov/revised_effective_dates-2010.htm.

     


    Categories:
  • Enforcement
  • Question:

    How can I file an ADA complaint against a state or local government entity, or a public accommodation or commercial facility?

    Answer:

    If you feel that you or another person has been discriminated against by a state or local government entity, or a public accommodation or commercial facility, you may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Disability Rights Section. Government entities include all programs managed by local or state agencies (e.g., public libraries, public hospitals, town parks and recreation programs).Public accommodations are businesses that provide goods or services for the public (e.g., restaurants, retail stores, banks and private hospitals).

    E-mail is the quickest way to file a complaint with the DOJ Disability Rights Section. E-mail complaints receive an immediate reply confirming that they have been received. If you do not receive a reply email, you may have sent your complaint to the wrong e-mail address.Send your complaint to: ada.complaint@usdoj.gov. Keep a copy of your complaint and the reply e-mail for your records. Remember that there is no guarantee of privacy when you send an e-mail. Include all of the information, either in the body of the email or in an attachment and attach any other relevant documents.

    To ensure that all necessary information is provided, you may use this complaint form http://www.ada.gov/t2cmpfrm.htm regarding complaints against state or local government entities; or this one, for filing a complaint against a public accommodations or commercial facilities http://www.ada.gov/t3compfm.htm.

    Also, provide the Department of Justice with the information about how to communicate with you effectively. Please let the Department know if you need to receive written communications in a specific format, such as large print, Braille, e-mail, or audio recording, or if you need to receive oral communications by video phone or TTY.

    To file a complaint by the U.S. Postal Service or any other parcel delivery service, send your completed complaint form, or a signed letter containing the same information and copy of the relevant documents to the address below. Keep original documents for your own records. Complaints sent by regular mail may be delayed by 4 - 6 weeks because of necessary security screening.

    U.S. Department of Justice
    Civil Rights Division
    Disability Rights Section - NYAV
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20530


    Categories:
  • Enforcement
  • Question:

    I rent housing and I have a disability that requires a modification in my housing situation. What action should I take, or information should I provide, to start the process for requesting a reasonable modification or reasonable accommodation?

    Answer:

    • 1. Request the modification or accommodation from the housing provider. When you make this request, it is highly recommended that you make the request in writing. This would avoid any misunderstanding of what you are requesting from the housing provider.
    • 2. Engage in the interactive process to explain to the housing provider your request.
    • 3. In response to a request for a reasonable accommodation or modification, and if the disability is not obvious, a housing provider may ask for reliable disability-related evidence:
      • To verify that the person meets the FHAA's definition of disability (i.e. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities).
      • That defines the necessary accommodation or modification.
      • Which shows the relationship between the person's disability and the necessity for the requested accommodation.


    Categories:
  • Housing
  • Question:

    What are some unlawful actions against individuals with disabilities under the FHAA?

    Answer:

    • Advertising the sale and rental of a dwelling in a discriminatory manner, such as saying "no wheelchair users are welcome at this property"
    • Refusing to sell or rent to someone because of their disability
    • Refusing to process the application of the potential buyer or renter because they have a disability
    • Probing to determine whether an applicant for a dwelling or an individual planning to reside in that dwelling has a disability or inquiring into the nature or severity of a disability
    • Discriminating against individuals with disabilities in the terms, conditions, or privileges of selling or rental of a dwelling, or in the delivery of services or facilities in connection with such dwelling (i.e. requesting a higher security deposit from a tenant who has asked for a reasonable modification).
    • Refusing, at the expense of the individual, reasonable modifications of the premises, occupied or to be occupied by a person with a disability when the requested modifications may be needed to provide a person with a disability full enjoyment of the premises of a dwelling. For example, a tenant may request to install grab bars in their bathroom. It would be illegal under the FHAA for the landlord to deny the tenant the right to install the grab bars as long as the tenant pays for it.
    • Refusing to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when the accommodations requested may be needed to allow equal opportunity for the use and enjoyment of the dwelling unit, including public and common use areas.


    Categories:
  • Housing
  • Question:

    I thought the compliance date for pools was March 15, 2012. Has that changed?

    Answer:

    Yes. As of March 15 2012, any newly designed or constructed pools must meet the requirements of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The Department of Justice responded to feedback from existing pool owners and extended the compliance date for existing pools to January 31, 2013. Remember, existing pools must comply when it is "readily achievable" to do so; meaning able to be done without significant difficulty or expense to the overall operation of a business. For more details on existing pool requirements, go to a Department of Justice guidance document at:http://www.ada.gov/qa_existingpools_titleIII.htm


    Categories:
  • Physical and Recreational Accessibility
  • Question:

    My hotel purchased a portable lift for its outdoor pool in January 2012. Now I hear that a pool lift must be permanent. Do I have to buy another lift?

    Answer:

    No. The Department of Justice will allow for the use of a portable lift if it was bought before March 15 2012 and if it meets all of the other required specifications. It must be in place whenever the pool is open for use. The key to compliance for pool lifts (whether marketed as “permanent” or “portable”) is that the lift must meet the technical requirements set forth in Section 1009.2 of the 2010 ADA Standards and the lift must be in place at the pool whenever the pool is open for use (i.e. one lift cannot serve more than one pool).


    Categories:
  • Physical and Recreational Accessibility
  • Question:

    I manage an apartment complex. Do we have to install a lift and make our pool accessible?

    Answer:

    Generally no. Privately owned apartment complexes facilities are not subject to the ADA Standards for Accessible Design unless the complex allows non-residents to use the pool (i.e. an apartment complex sells membership passes to the complex pool to non-residents allowing them to use the facility). Apartment complexes are typically covered by the Fair Housing Act which has its own separate standards. Pools at apartments become subject to the ADA Standards when the pool is made available to nonresidents excluding guests. Also, if an apartment complex is funded by the state or local government, then its pool is subject to the 2010 ADA Standards and will need to be made accessible if the pool is newly constructed or an existing pool altered.


    Categories:
  • Physical and Recreational Accessibility
  • Question:

    Our town is renovating one of its fishing piers. Besides having an accessible route to the pier, are there other accessibility concerns we should consider?

    Answer:

    Yes. Fishing piers are now covered elements in the 2010 ADA Standards. Newly built or altered piers must provide turning space for individuals that use wheelchairs. Also, at least 25% of guardrails or hand railings on the pier must not exceed 34 inches in height and should be dispersed throughout. Edge protection must also be provided where railings or guards are provided. Clear floor or ground space should be provided where these accessible rails are situated.


    Categories:
  • Physical and Recreational Accessibility
  • Question:

    When I go to the gym, I have trouble getting close enough to the equipment in my wheelchair to use it. Are there any ADA requirements for exercise equipment at gyms?

    Answer:

    Yes. With the 2010 ADA Standards, at least one type of each exercise equipment or machine must be on an accessible route and have a clear floor or ground space. This clear space is an area 30 inches minimum by 48 inches minimum designed for a forward or parallel approach.


    Categories:
  • Physical and Recreational Accessibility
  • Question:

    I run a small daycare center out of my house. Do I have to work towards complying with these new accessibility requirements for play areas that I heard about?

    Answer:

    Since you live in the daycare facility, you do not have to comply. However, the 2010 ADA Standards did introduce accessibility requirements for most other play areas for children two and older like those in parks, daycare facilities where the owner does not live, shopping centers, and schools. Any newly constructed or altered play areas must comply with the new standards to the maximum extent possible. Some of the new requirements include an accessible route with an accessible ground surface, accessible play components, and transfer systems or ramps.


    Categories:
  • Physical and Recreational Accessibility
  • Question:

    What type of housing is covered by the Fair Housing Amendsment Act (FHAA)?

    Answer:

    The FHAA covers various types of housing, such as multi-family apartments, multi-family condominiums, town houses and Quadruplexes, which are for sale or for rent. There may be some exemptions to coverage under the FHAA. For example, the owner of a small rental building, who also lives in the same building, may not have to adhere to the FHAA as long as their advertising of the dwelling is not discriminatory in nature. For more information visit the FHAA regulations at: https://www.disability.gov/resource/understanding-the-fair-housing-amendments-act-fhaa/


    Categories:
  • Housing
  • Question:

    What federal laws govern housing discrimination?

    Answer:

    There are three federal laws that govern housing discrimination in the U.S.: The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  The FHAA which is formally known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, is the predominant federal law concerning fair housing and housing discrimination. However, housing provided by state and local governments is covered under the purview of the ADAAA. The ADAAA prohibits discrimination against persons with the disabilities in the provision of services and benefits based on disabilities. Additionally, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits anyone who receives federal financial assistance from discrimination based on disability.


    Categories:
  • Housing
  • Question:

    How are the ADA regulations for telecommunications provisions enforced?

    Answer:

    The FCC implements Title IV of the ADA which covers Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS). TRS enables a person with a hearing or speech disability to access the telephone system and communicate with persons without such a disability.

    If you have any questions, concerns, or need assistance in regard to disability issues relating to telecommunications contact the FCC at dro@fcc.gov. If your disability prohibits you from filing a comment please send your e-filing comments to dro@fcc.gov and include your address and telephone number.If you need to reach a member of the Disability Rights Office please call 202-418-2517.


    Categories:
  • Enforcement
  • Question:

    How are the ADA regulations for state and local government and for public accommodations and commercial facilities provisions enforced?

    Answer:

    The revised regulations for state and local government entities (Title II) and public accommodations and commercial facilities (Title III), published by the U.S. Department of Justice I(DOJ) on September 15, 2010, became effective on March 15, 2011. The section of the revised regulations covering hotel reservation systems became effective on March 15, 2012. The revised regulations can be found at: http://adata.org/faq-page#t2n85.

    Individuals may bring lawsuits to obtain court orders to stop discrimination. They may also file complaints with the Attorney General, who is authorized to bring lawsuits in cases of general public importance or where a "pattern or practice" of discrimination is alleged. In these cases, the Attorney General may seek monetary damages and civil penalties. Civil penalties may not exceed $55,000 for a first violation or $110,000 for any subsequent violation.


    Categories:
  • Enforcement
  • Question:

    How are the ADA employment provisions enforced?

    Answer:

    The employment provisions of the ADA (Title I) are enforced under the same procedures as race, color, sex, national origin, and religious discrimination under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Complaints regarding actions that occurred on or after July 26, 1992, may be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or designated State human rights agencies. If it is determined that discrimination has occurred remedies may include hiring, reinstatement, promotion, back pay, front pay, restored benefits, reasonable accommodation, attorneys' fees, expert witness fees, and court costs. Compensatory and punitive damages also may be available in cases of intentional discrimination or where an employer fails to make a good effort to provide a reasonable accommodation.The EEOC process for filing a charge of employment discrimination may be found at:http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/howtofile.cfm.


    Categories:
  • Enforcement
  • Question:

    Who is protected from disability discrimination in public and private services?

    Answer:

    Regarding public and private services, a "qualified" individual with a disability under the ADA is one who meets the essential eligibility requirements for the program or activity offered by the covered entities. The "essential eligibility requirements" will depend on the type of service or activity involved. For some activities, such as State licensing programs, the ability to meet specific skill and performance requirements may be "essential." For other services, such as a “Information and Referral Program”, the "essential eligibility requirements" would be minimal. 

    A public or private entity may not impose eligibility criteria for participation in its services, that either screen out or tend to screen out persons with disabilities, unless it can show that such requirements are necessary for the provision of the service. For example: A public or private gym only accepted a driver’s license as an ID from the people who request the service. An unnecessary blanket exclusion of this nature would violate the ADA because the requirement is not related with the service requested and screen out people with disabilities who are not able to drive.


    Categories:
  • Definition of Disability
  • Question:

    Does the ADA consider an impairment (such as epilepsy or manic-depressive disorder) that is episodic or in remission to be a disability?

    Answer:

    According to the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 an impairment that is episodic or in remission would likely be considered a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when in an active stage.


    Categories:
  • Definition of Disability
  • Question:

    Is an applicant or employee who is either currently illegally using drugs or an alcoholic covered by the ADA?

    Answer:

    Individuals who are currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs are specifically excluded from the definition of a qualified individual with a disability. 

    However, an alcoholic is a person with a disability, and is protected under the ADA. An employer may be required to provide an accommodation to an alcoholic, such as time away to attend treatment programs or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. However, an employer can discipline, discharge or deny employment to someone whose use of alcohol adversely affects job performance or conduct. An employer also may prohibit the use of alcohol in the workplace and can require that employees not be under the influence of alcohol.


    Categories:
  • Definition of Disability
  • Question:

    Who is protected from disability related employment discrimination?

    Answer:

    To be protected from disability related employment discrimination the individual must also be qualified, meaning s/he has the legitimate skill, experience, education, or other requirements of an employment position that s/he holds or seeks, and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. If the individual is qualified to perform essential functions except for limitations caused by a disability, the employer must consider whether the individual could perform these functions with a reasonable accommodation.


    Categories:
  • Definition of Disability
  • Question:

    How do I know if I have a disability under the ADA?

    Answer:

    The ADA, unlike some other disability related laws, does not define disability based on a medical diagnosis, but rather on a functional definition. An individual is considered to have a "disability" under the ADA if s/he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. 

    Examples of major life activities include: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working.

    Under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 major life activities now also include the operation of major bodily functions, including functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin, normal cell growth, digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions.


    Categories:
  • Definition of Disability
  • Question:

    How does the ADA make telecommunications accessible?

    Answer:

    The ADA requires the establishment of telephone relay services for individuals who use telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TDD's) or similar devices. The Federal Communications Commission has issued regulations specifying standards for the operation of these services.

    From The Pacific ADA Center: http://www.adapacific.org/ada/faq/misc.php

    From The Northeast ADA Center: http://www.northeastada.org/r-factsheets.cfm


    Categories:
  • Communication
  • Question:

    What kinds of auxiliary aids and services are required by the ADA to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing or vision impairments?

    Answer:

    There is a long list of potential auxiliary aids and services available to ensure effective communication with people with disabilities. The appropriate solution will depend on the needs of the individual and on how complex the information is that you are trying to communicate. Appropriate auxiliary aids and services may include services and devices such as qualified interpreters on-site or through video remote interpreting (VRI) services; note takers; real-time computer-aided transcription services; written materials; exchange of written notes; telephone handset amplifiers; assistive listening devices; assistive listening systems; telephones compatible with hearing aids; closed caption decoders; open and closed captioning, including real-time captioning; voice, text, and video-based telecommunications products and systems, including text telephones (TTYs), videophones, and captioned telephones, or equally effective telecommunications devices; videotext displays; accessible electronic and information technology; or other effective methods of making aurally delivered information available to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing; qualified readers; taped texts; audio recordings; Brailed materials and displays; screen reader software; magnification software; optical readers; secondary auditory programs (SAP); large print materials; accessible electronic and information technology; or other effective methods of making visually delivered materials available to individuals who are blind or have low vision.

    The ADA does not require the provision of any auxiliary aid that would result in an undue burden or in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the goods or services provided by a public accommodation. However, the public accommodation is not relieved from the duty to furnish an alternative auxiliary aid, if available, that would not result in a fundamental alteration or undue burden.

    From The ADA National Network: http://adata.org/faq/what-kinds-auxiliary-aids-and-services-are-required-ada-ensure-effective-communication


    Categories:
  • Communication
  • Question:

    Do businesses need to have a qualified interpreter on hand in order to communicate with a person who is deaf?

    Answer:

    Generally no, not if employees are able to communicate by using pen and notepad and it is effective. However, in situations where the exchange of information is over a long duration, or the information being exchanged is complex, it may be necessary for the business to provide a qualified interpreter. A business should discuss with the person with the disability to determine which auxiliary aid or service will result in effective communication.

    From The ADA National Network:http://adata.org/faq/do-businesses-need-have-qualified-interpreter-hand-order-communicate-person-who-deaf 


    Categories:
  • Communication
  • Question:

    Do state or local entities need to make reasonable modifications in order to communicate with a person with disabilities?

    Answer:

    Yes. According to the ADA government entities must make sure that people with disabilities have the same access to information that others have, this requirement is called effective communication.  There are many ways that you can provide equal access to communications for people with disabilities. A few examples of these “auxiliary aids and services” include written materials, an accessible website, TTY’s, exchange of written notes, or qualified interpreters.

    From The DOJ’s "ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments": http://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap3toolkit.htm


    Categories:
  • Communication
  • Question:

    What type of accommodations might an individual with a hearing disability need in the workplace?

    Answer:

    According to the ADA, an employer has a duty to provide a reasonable accommodation that is effective to allow a person with a disability to perform the essential functions of their job. The appropriate accommodation for someone with a hearing disability will vary according to the type of disability the person has and the essential functions of their job. There are many potential options that may work for someone with a hearing disability. Start by talking to the person with the hearing disability about what might work for them. Examples of accommodations a qualified applicant or employee with hearing disability may need include: a sign language interpreter, a TTY, text telephone, voice carry-over telephone, or captioned telephone, a telephone headset, appropriate emergency notification systems (e.g., strobe lighting on fire alarms or vibrating pagers), written memos and notes (especially used for brief, simple, or routine communications), work area adjustments (e.g., a desk away from a noisy area or near an emergency alarm with strobe lighting), assistive computer software (e.g., net meetings, voice recognition software, assistive listening devices (ALDs), augmentative communication devices that allow users to communicate orally by typing words that are then translated to sign language or a simulated voice, communication access real-time translation (CART), which translates voice into text at real-time speeds, and altering an employee’s marginal (i.e., non-essential) job functions, among others. You can get additional information about potential accommodations by visiting: http://askjan.org/media/hearing.html

    From The EEOC: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/qa_deafness.cfm

    For more information, see our Effective Communication Fact Sheet at: http://www.northeastada.org/docs/National%20ADA%20Fact%20Sheets/National%20ADA%20Center%20Fact%20Sheet%202%20EFFECTIVE%20COMMUNICATION.pdf


    Categories:
  • Communication
  • Question:

    I own a private country club. Do I have to make my facility ADA accessible?

    Answer:

    Private clubs' facilities are exempt from Title III of the ADA and the ADA Standards as long as they are not open to the general public. An entity is a private club for purposes of the ADA if it is a private club under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin by public accommodations.

    Courts have been most inclined to find private club status in cases where --

    1) Members exercise a high degree of control over club operations.

    2) The membership selection process is highly selective.

    3) Substantial membership fees are charged.

    4) The entity is operated on a nonprofit basis.

    5) The club was not founded specifically to avoid compliance with Federal civil rights laws.

    Private clubs lose their exemption if they are made available for use by nonmembers as places of public accommodation. So for example, if a private club hosted a golf tournament open for the public to attend, then all of the facilities for the event would become public accommodations during the tournament and subject to ADA Title III compliance.


    Categories:
  • Building Design/Renovations
  • Question:

    I own a business located in a building that would need a lot of alterations to be in compliance with the ADA Standards. Which areas should I focus on first?

    Answer:

    Architectural barriers and communication barriers that are structural in nature must be removed where it is readily achievable to do- meaning the removal would be easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.A good approach would be to work from the outside of your facility in to where the action happens. Barrier removal priorities begin with getting to the door. Access from public sidewalks, parking lots or facilities, or public transportation stops is the first thing to address. Then, businesses should remove barriers to accessing areas where goods and services are made available to the public. After this, focus on the accessibility of restroom facilities. Finally, review all other elements or measures that have not yet been examined.


    Categories:
  • Building Design/Renovations
  • Question:

    Does the ADA Require Barrier Removal in Historic Buildings?

    Answer:

    Yes, if it is readily achievable to do so, meaning it’s easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. However, the ADA takes into account the national interest in preserving significant historic structures. Barrier removal would not be considered “readily achievable” if it would threaten or destroy the historic significance of a building or facility that is designated as historic at the national, state, or local level. In such cases however, there may still be an obligation to provide program access through providing auxiliary aids or modifying policies. For example, a private business that owns a historic building and operates it as a museum open to the public has a second floor that is physically inaccessible to visitors with mobility impairments. If there is no way to make that second floor accessible without destroying the historical significance of the structure, then the museum could make a video of the second floor and its features and show this on the first floor to visitors. This would be considered program access as the video becomes an auxiliary aid to provide access.


    Categories:
  • Building Design/Renovations
  • Question:

    I rent my store space from a landlord. Who is responsible for making alterations to provide access?

    Answer:

    The ADA places the legal obligation to remove barriers or provide auxiliary aids and services on both the landlord and the tenant. The landlord and the tenant may decide by lease who will actually make the changes and provide the aids and services, but both remain legally responsible.


    Categories:
  • Building Design/Renovations
  • Question:

    Is my building "grandfathered in" under the older ADA Standards or do I need to comply with the new 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design?

    Answer:

    The ADA does not have a provision to "grandfather" a facility but it does have a provision called "safe harbor" in the revised ADA regulations for businesses and state and local governments.  A safe harbor means that you do not have to make modifications to elements in an existing building that comply with the 1991 ADA Standards, even if the new 2010 Standards have different requirements for them. This provision is applied on an element-by-element basis.  However, if you choose to alter elements that were in compliance with the 1991 Standards, the safe harbor no longer applies and the altered elements must comply with the 2010 ADA Standards for Design.

    It’s important to note that safe harbor does not apply to elements in existing facilities that were NOT addressed in the original 1991 Standards but ARE addressed in the 2010 ADA Standards. These elements include recreation facilities such as swimming pools, play areas, exercise machines, miniature golf facilities, and bowling alleys.

    Public accommodations must remove architectural barriers to elements, including those not addressed in the 1991 Standards but now covered in the 2010 Standards, to be in compliance with the new requirements in the 2010 Standards when it is readily achievable to do so.  In those occasions where the nature of an existing facility makes it virtually impossible to comply fully with the accessibility standards, the alteration mustprovide the maximum level of accessibility feasible.


    Categories:
  • Building Design/Renovations
  • Question:

    How does the ADA affect existing State and local building codes?

    Answer:

    Existing codes remain in effect. The ADA allows the Attorney General to certify that a State law, local building code, or similar ordinance that establishes accessibility requirements meets or exceeds the minimum accessibility requirements for public accommodations and commercial facilities. Any State or local government may apply for certification of its code or ordinance. The Attorney General can certify a code or ordinance only after prior notice and a public hearing at which interested people, including individuals with disabilities, are provided an opportunity to testify against the certification


    Categories:
  • Building Design/Renovations
  • State/local law
  • Question:

    When barrier removal is not readily achievable, what kinds of alternative steps are required by the ADA?

    Answer:

    When barrier removal is not readily achievable, a business must provide "program access". This means they need to find other ways to make their services and goods available and accessible to individuals with disabilities. Examples of program access might include providing home delivery, curb-side pick up, online and/or telephone ordering options, onsite assistance with selecting or carrying merchandise, etc.


    Categories:
  • Businesses and Places of Public Accommodation/Title III
  • Program/Service Accessibility
  • Question:

    What does the term "readily achievable" mean?

    Answer:

    It means "easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense."


    Categories:
  • Businesses and Places of Public Accommodation/Title III
  • Building Design/Renovations
  • Physical and Recreational Accessibility
  • Question:

    What does the ADA mean by "public accommodations"?

    Answer:

    A public accommodation is a private entity that owns, operates, leases, or leases to, a place of public accommodation. Places of public accommodation include a wide range of entities, such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors' offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care centers. Private clubs and religious organizations are exempt from the ADA's title III requirements for public accommodations.


    Categories:
  • Businesses and Places of Public Accommodation/Title III
  • Question:

    Does the ADA apply to State and local governments?

    Answer:

    A. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in all programs, activities, and services of public entities. It applies to all State and local governments, their departments and agencies, and any other instrumentalities or special purpose districts of State or local governments. It clarifies the requirements of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for public transportation systems that receive Federal financial assistance, and extends coverage to all public entities that provide public transportation, whether or not they receive Federal financial assistance. It establishes detailed standards for the operation of public transit systems, including commuter and intercity rail (AMTRAK).


    Categories:
  • State and Local Government Access/Title II
  • Question:

    What employers and employment practices are covered by the ADA?

    Answer:

    The title I employment provisions apply to private employers, State and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions. Employers with 15 or more employees are covered. The ADA prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. It applies to recruitment, advertising, tenure, layoff, leave, fringe benefits, and all other employment-related activities.


    Categories:
  • Employment/Title I