U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
This Status Report covers the ADA activities of the Department of Justice during the second quarter (April-June) of 1999. This report, previous status reports, and a wide range of other ADA information are available through the Department's ADA Home Page on the World Wide Web (see page 16). The symbol (**) indicates that the document is available on the ADA Home Page.
1999, Issue 2
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities. The Department of Justice enforces the ADA's requirements in three areas -
Title I: Employment practices by units of State and local government
Title II: Programs, services, and activities of State and local government
Title III: Public accommodations and commercial facilities
Through lawsuits and both formal and informal settlement agreements,
the Department has achieved greater access for individuals with disabilities
in hundreds of cases. Under general rules governing lawsuits brought by
the Federal Government, the Department of Justice may not file a lawsuit
unless it has first unsuccessfully attempted to settle the dispute through
The Department may file lawsuits in Federal court to enforce the ADA and may obtain court orders including compensatory damages and back pay to remedy discrimination. Under title III the Department may also obtain civil penalties of up to $50,000 for the first violation and $100,000 for any subsequent violation.
Supreme Court Rules that Mitigating Measures Must be Considered in Determining Disability -- The Supreme Court ruled in Sutton v. United Airlines and Murphy v. United Parcel Service that, in determining whether an individual has an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, courts should consider the effect of mitigating measures such as eye glasses or blood pressure medication. In Sutton, twin sister pilots who had uncorrected vision of 20/200 and 20/400 in their right and left eyes respectively, but which was correctable to 20/20, were rejected by United for the position of global airline pilot because they did not meet the airline's uncorrected vision standard of 20/100. Because their vision was correctable with lenses to 20/20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit had ruled that they were not individuals with disabilities, because they were not substantially limited in the major life activity of seeing. In Murphy, a mechanic was terminated from a job, which required him to have an interstate commercial truck driver's license, because of his elevated blood pressure. Without medication, the mechanic's blood pressure was a dangerously high 250/160. The Tenth Circuit held that, when treated with medication, the mechanic only had moderate hypertension (160/102) and was therefore not an individual with a disability. In upholding the Tenth Circuit in both cases, the Supreme Court rejected the Department's amicus briefs which argued that mitigating measures should not be taken into account. The Supreme Court also rejected the Department's view that, even if mitigating measures are taken into account, the individuals would still be protected by the statute because they were "regarded as" being substantially limited in the ability to perform a class of jobs and, therefore, in the major life activity of working. In Sutton, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the plaintiffs were regarded as substantially limited in working, because other piloting jobs such as regional pilot or pilot instructor were still available to them despite their impairment. In Murphy, the Court ruled that the employer only regarded the employee as unemployable in a mechanic's job that required a commercial truck driver's license but did not regard him as unemployable generally as a mechanic.
Supreme Court Says Employer May Exclude Monocular Drivers -- In Albertsons v. Kirkingburg, the Supreme Court ruled that an employer could rely on a vision standard established by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which requires corrected vision of at least 20/40 in each eye, to justify its firing of a commercial truck driver with monocular vision. The Supreme Court upheld the firing even though the plaintiff qualified for a DOT waiver based on his safe driving record, because the Court concluded that the waiver program was experimental in nature and did not represent a change in the basic standard. In overruling the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Supreme Court rejected the Department's argument as amicus that the employer had to justify using the more rigorous DOT vision standard instead of the relaxed standard of the DOT waiver program. The Court also disagreed with the Department by stating that, in determining whether the plaintiff was an individual with a disability, he subconscious adaptations made by the plaintiff's brain to compensate for the lack of vision in one eye should be taken into account. The Court saw no reason to distinguish between these adaptive mechanisms and other mitigating measures, such as eye glasses and medications. The Supreme Court did, however, agree with the Department that people with monocular vision will "ordinarily" meet the ADA's definition of disability.
Supreme Court Declares that Unjustified Isolation Is Discrimination -- In Olmstead v. L.C., the Supreme Court ruled that the ADA's "most integrated setting appropriate" mandate requires States to avoid undue institutionalization of people with disabilities. As urged by the Department in its amicus brief, the Court upheld the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that Georgia may have violated the ADA by confining two individuals with mental disabilities in an institution rather than providing services through a community-based program as recommended by the State's treating professionals. In finding that unjustified isolation is a form of discrimination under the ADA, the Court pointed to the stigma of unworthiness, and the unequal access to family and social interaction, employment, education, and cultural enrichment that result from unnecessary institutionalization. According to the Court, an institutional placement is unjustified when the State's treatment professionals have determined that community placement is appropriate, the transfer is not opposed by the individual, and the placement can be accomplished without fundamentally altering the State's program. In applying the fundamental alteration defense, courts are to consider not only the expense of providing community-based care to the plaintiffs in a particular case, but also the "need to maintain a range of facilities for the care and treatment of persons with diverse disabilities" and "the States' obligation to administer services with an even hand." The case was sent back to the Eleventh Circuit for further proceedings on the fundamental alteration issue.
Supreme Court Affirms that Receipt of Social Security Disability Benefits Does Not Automatically Bar ADA Suit -- The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Cleveland v. Policy Management Systems Corp., as urged by the Department in an amicus brief, that in determining whether a plaintiff is a qualified individual with a disability in a title I employment suit, courts should not give any special weight to the fact that the individual has also applied for Social Security disability benefits. In Cleveland, the plaintiff, after suffering a stroke and losing her job, applied for and obtained Social Security benefits, claiming she was unable to work because of her disability. Subsequently, she filed suit under the ADA contending that she was qualified for the job and that she was discriminated against because the employer fired her without providing reasonable accommodation. The Court agreed with the Department that because the qualification standards under Social Security and the ADA are different, application for or receipt of Social Security benefits is not by itself inconsistent with being a qualified individual with a disability. For example, Social Security does not consider reasonable accommodation in determining whether an applicant is able to perform the applicant's past or other work. The court also ruled that, in order to avoid having her suit dismissed, the plaintiff must provide an explanation that would allow a reasonable juror to conclude that, despite having applied and received Social Security benefits, the plaintiff could still perform the essential functions of her job with or wthout reasonable accommodation.
U.S. Courts of Appeals
Fourth Circuit Finds ADA Prison Suit Constitutional -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Amos v. Maryland Department of Public Safety agreed with the Department of Justice in upholding the constitutionality of an ADA lawsuit against the Maryland State prison system. The court found the ADA to be a valid exercise of Congress authority to enforce the equal protection guarantees of the U.S. Constitution, because the ADA was based on a legislative record of discrimination against persons with disabilities, and because the ADA's mandate for "reasonable accommodation" was a proportional response to the injuries Congress identified. It noted that, in determining in particular cases whether proposed modifications are "reasonable" and whether any resulting burdens are "undue," the views of prison administrators should be taken into consideration. The court left open the possibility that, even though the statute in general is constitutional as applied to State prisons, some specific ADA regulations could be found unconstitutional on a case-by-case basis. The Department disagrees with this point and will continue to defend the ADA and its regulations from constitutional challenges.
Performing Arts Center Not Required to Provide Line of Sight over Standing Spectators -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Caruso v. Blockbuster-Sony Music Entertainment Centre ruled that the title III regulation requiring comparable lines of sight for accessible wheelchair seating locations does not require a newly constructed outdoor performing arts pavilion, the E-Centre in Camden, New Jersey, to provide wheelchair users with a line of sight over standing spectators. The Department argued in its amicus brief that, consistent with its Title III Technical Assistance Manual, a line of sight over standing spectators is required in newly constructed assembly areas where audience members can be expected to stand during a performance. The Third Circuit ruled that the Department s interpretation was not binding because it did not meet the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. The court acknowledged that its decision was in conflict with the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Paralyzed Veterans of America v. D.C. Arena L.P. involving the MCI Arena in Washington, D.C.
Seventh Circuit Rules that ADA does not Prohibit AIDS Insurance Cap -- In Doe v. Mutual of Omaha, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that an insurer does not violate title III by imposing special lifetime caps on treatment of AIDS-related conditions in health insurance policies. The plaintiffs, who are HIV-positive, challenged lifetime AIDS caps of $25,000 and $100,000, respectively, in their insurance policies. Those policies provide a lifetime cap of $1 million for medical conditions unrelated to AIDS. The district court had ruled that the AIDS caps violate title III. The Seventh Circuit disagreed both with the district court and with the Department s amicus brief, concluding that title III does not regulate the content of insurance policies or other goods or services offered by places of public accommodation. The court of appeals also ruled that to read title III as reaching the content of insurance policies would violate another Federal law restricting Federal interference in State regulation of insurance.
U.S. District Courts
Child Care Center Ordered to Admit Child with Asthma -- The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Alvarez v. Fountainhead, Inc., ordered a California child care center to modify its "no medications" policy and enroll a child who has asthma and uses an inhaler. It also ordered the center to provide a one-hour training session for its staff on the nature of asthma and the supervision of children who use Albuterol inhalers. Fountainhead Child Care Center prohibits teachers from assisting in the administration of any medication to children enrolled in its program and requires parents to eithr come to the facility to administer any necessary medication, forgo medication while the child is at preschool, or not enroll the child. The four-year-old child in this case was able to use the inhaler himself, but required monitoring for signs of wheezing and supervision while he administered the inhaler. The Department argued in an amicus brief in support of the child that the minimal monitoring and supervision required in this case would be reasonable and not fundamentally different from the responsibilities that all child-care operators have for the safety and well-being of their students.
New York Federal Court Allows Interpreter Damages Suit to Proceed -- In Constance v. State University of New York Health Science Center, the Department filed an amicus brief in support of a hospital emergency room trauma patient and her husband, both of whom are deaf, who claim that the New York Health Science Center violated the ADA by failing to provide them the services of a sign language interpreter despite repeated requests. The brief argued that both the patient and her husband have standing to bring this lawsuit and that if they prove the facts in the complaint they should be entitled to damages. Because the defendants challenged the constitutionality of title II, the Department also intervened to defend its constitutionality. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York rejected the State's constitutional challenge and found that the plaintiffs had alleged enough evidence of "deliberate indifference" to plaintiffs ADA rights to allow a suit for damages to proceed. The court also gave the plaintiffs the opportunity to establish their standing to bring this case by allowing them to amend their complaint to allege that they are likely to be subjected to discrimination again by the same hospital.
Continuing Violations by City Permit Broad Toledo Curb Cut Challenge -- The Department filed an amicus brief in Deck v. City of Toledo in support of a lawsuit alleging that Toledo, Ohio, had failed to provide accessible curb ramps in connection with newly constructed or altered streets or sidewalks. The city argued that, because of the two-year statute of limitations applicable to this case, any claims involving violations that occurred earlier than two years before the lawsuit was filed should be dismissed. The Department's brief argued that, because the city continued to violate the statute within the two-year period, the earlier claims should not be dismissed. The court agreed with the Department and ruled that, because the city had engaged in a "continuing violation" of failing to install curb ramps required by title II, the earlier claims dating back to the effective date of the ADA should not be dismissed.
2. New lawsuits
The Department initiated or intervened in the following lawsuits.
Titles I and II
New Actions Defend the Constitutionality of the ADA -- The Department intervened in a number of additional cases where States are arguing that it is unconstitutional for Congress to permit ADA lawsuits directly against State governments. In general, the States assert that Congress lacks authority under the Fourteenth Amendment to subject States to lawsuits under the ADA, because the ADA's protections go beyond equal protection rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The Department intervened in each of the following cases to argue that the ADA is constitutionally appropriate legislation to remedy the history of pervasive discrimination against people with disabilities --
Johnson v. Tennessee Technical Center at Memphis (6th Circuit) -- title II suit challenging technical school's alleged failure to make reasonable modifications to allow an individual with paraplegia to operate a truck as part of a commercial truck driving course.
Parr v. Middle Tennessee State University (6th Circuit) -- title II suit challenging a professor s alleged failure to provide a reasonable accommodation to a student with a seizure disorder and carpal tunnel syndrome, and lleged acts of retaliation.
Lane v. Tennessee (6th Circuit) -- title II suit by individuals with paraplegia, an arrestee and a court reporter, alleging inaccessible court facilities.
Jackan v. New York State Department of Labor (2d Circuit) -- title I suit challenging alleged failure to provide reassignment as a reasonable accommodation.
Constance v. State University of New York Health Science Center (Northern District of New York) -- title II suit alleging failure by hospital to provide sign language interpreters for deaf patient and deaf spouse (see "Decisions," page 5).
Hicks v. Armstrong (District of Connecticut) -- title II suit challenging allegedly inaccessible State and local prison facilities -- Department brief also defends ADA from attack under the Commerce Clause.
3. Amicus Briefs
The Department files briefs in selected ADA cases in which it is not a party in order to guide courts in interpreting the ADA.
Constance v. State University of New York Health Science Center -- see "Decisions," page 5.
Deck v. City of Toledo -- see "Decisions," page 6.
Alvarez v. Fountainhead, Inc. -- see "Decisions," page 5.
Lara v. Cinemark -- The Department filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit arguing that the lower court was correct in concluding that seating for wheelchair users in newly constructed "stadium-style" movie theaters must provide lines of sight that are at least comparable to those of the average patron and cannot be limited to the worst seats in the house. The plaintiffs alleged that Cinemark USA violated the ADA in the design and construction of a 20-screen, stadium-style complex in El Paso, Texas, by only placing accessible seating at the front of the theater in areas with the worst sight lines. The brief also argues that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas was right in ruling that there is no "good faith" exception to the ADA s requirements and that renovations must be made in each of the 18 noncomplying auditoriums instead of the five proposed by defendants. The Department of Justice earlier filed briefs supporting the plaintiffs in the district court.
The Department sometimes resolves cases without filing a lawsuit by means of formal written settlement agreements.
Orange County, California -- The Department reached a settlement agreement with Orange County, California, resolving an employment charge originally filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The charging party worked as an eligibility technician for the county. After returning from an extended medical leave of absence, she was reassigned to a clerical job because of medical restrictions placed on her. She then was selected for a vacancy in her former position as eligibility technician. After her appointment to that job, the county asked her to submit to a medical examination to determine whether her past medical restrictions were still in effect. Her psychiatrist lifted the restrictions and reported that she could fulfill the duties of an eligibility technician. However, the county declined to accept the psychiatrist s conclusions, forcing her to return to her clerical job. The county denied liability but agreed to pay the complainant $10,000 for monetary losses. She did not wish to return to her former position and therefore did not seek reinstatement.
Morgan County Memorial Hospital, Martinsville, Indiana -- The Department entered an agreement with the Morgan County Memorial Hospital to resolve a title I complaint alleging that the hospital discriminated against a nurse with HIV by suspending him because of his disability. The hospital allgedly learned of the employee s HIV status from blood tests taken after the nurse was stuck with a needle. Despite its policies allowing HIV-positive employees to work under certain conditions, the hospital unnecessarily placed him on a leave of absence until he obtained a doctor s release. The hospital agreed to conduct HIV awareness training for a number of personnel who implement hospital policy with respect to employees with HIV. In addition the hospital agreed to pay the complainant, who now works for another employer, $4,800 in damages.
Idaho Falls, Idaho -- The Idaho Falls Police Department agreed to adopt written policies and procedures ensuring effective communication with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and to train its officers on their ADA obligations in arrest and other law enforcement situations.
** Oklahoma County, Oklahoma -- The Department entered an agreement with Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, resolving a complaint concerning the accessibility of programs, services, and activities offered in the county courthouse. The county will remove physical barriers to access and adopt a policy describing its program accessibility and effective communication obligations that will be published on the county s web site and in a county newspaper. An accessible entrance into the courthouse will be provided, toilet rooms on the first and seventh floors of the courthouse will be altered, elevator signage will be modified to improve accessibility, two courtrooms will be designated as accessible to persons who use wheelchairs and the elements of those courtrooms will be modified to provide an accessible route that connects the main courtroom entrance, spectator seating area, participant seating area, witness stand, jury box area, jury deliberation room and jury rest room. In addition, wheelchair seating will be provided in the jury box, witness stand, and spectator seating area.
Harrison County, Iowa -- The Department entered an agreement with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department in Logan, Iowa, resolving a complaint alleging that the jail facility was not accessible to persons who use wheelchairs, and that an inmate was denied the use of a medically prescribed egg-crate foam mattress. The Sheriff's Department has agreed to relocate inmates who use wheelchairs to another facility in adjacent Cass County that is accessible. The Sheriff's Department will provide visitors with the option of visiting the inmate during regularly scheduled hours of visitation either at the Harrison County Jail, or at the accessible jail facility in Cass County. If the site of visitation chosen is the accessible jail facility, then the Sheriff's Department will provide the visitors with transportation to that facility. Additionally, the Sheriff's Department has agreed to provide inmates with equipment or medication prescribed by a physician, unless it is determined, on an individual basis, to pose a direct threat to the safety of others.
Raleigh, North Carolina -- The Department entered an agreement with the City of Raleigh resolving a complaint alleging that the city failed to respond properly to an emergency 9-1-1 TDD call. The city agreed to adopt numerous upgrades to its system and procedures, including monthly maintenance and testing of the TDD-compatible emergency system, prompt repairs of any equipment malfunctions, increased TDD capacity, and regular internal testing of TDD call-handling.
Georgiana, Alabama -- The City of Georgiana, Alabama, agreed to remove architectural barriers at the City Hall, the Police Station, the Magistrate's Court and Council Chamber, and the Hank Williams, Sr., Museum -- the childhood home of the well-known country music singer-songwriter. The City will install entrance ramps, modify existing rest rooms, and alter sidewalks to provide access to the programs offered at the sites.
Swifty Mart Convenience Stores, Tallahassee, Florida -- The owners of Swifty Mart Convenience Stores agreed to remedy access violations t 53 stores. Swifty Mart will provide accessible parking spaces with appropriate signage; curb ramps where an accessible route crosses a curb; refueling assistance to any person with a disability who specifically requests refueling assistance when more than one employee is on duty and no security risk will result; and ADA training for employees. It also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 and to ensure that any stores that it purchases or leases in the future will meet the requirements of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
Commercial Real Estate Firm Pays $560,000 in Damages, Penalties for Discrimination in Leasing -- Under an agreement with the Department of Justice, TrizecHahn Corporation, a commercial real estate corporation that refused to lease space to a nonprofit organization that serves persons with disabilities will no longer discriminate against people with disabilities and will take corrective action to ensure that it does not happen in the future. TrizecHahn owns, manages, and develops retail and office properties throughout the United States, including a facility in Rosslyn, Virginia. The ENDependence Center, based in Arlington, Virginia, attempted to lease office space in TrizecHahn's Rosslyn, Virginia, building, but the leasing agent refused to enter into any negotiations with the center and refused to lease the space to the center because the center serves persons with disabilities. Under the terms of the agreement, TrizecHahn will --
- no longer discriminate against individuals with disabilities when leasing commercial real estate;
- pay $550,000 to the center and $10,000 in civil penalties to the United States; and
- train employees in the Washington, D.C. area on the requirements of the ADA that pertain to the leasing of commercial real estate.
North Community Bank, Chicago, Illinois -- The North Community Bank agreed to make its entrance and its automated teller machine accessible to people with disabilities. The bank allegedly ignored the complainant s requests for barrier removal and suggested that the complainant use an accessible bank facility some miles from his home. The complainant was subsequently injured when he fell over in his wheelchair while attempting to use the inaccessible local ATM. The bank agreed to install ramps to make its entrance and ATM machine accessible. The bank also agreed to have a consultant perform a complete accessibility review of its operations and identify any other barriers to participation by persons with disabilities. In addition, the bank will pay the complainant $8,000 in compensatory damages.
First Intermed Corporation, Brandon, Mississippi -- The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi entered an agreement with the First Intermed Corporation, owner of the MEA Medical Clinic, an after-hours emergency clinic, to remedy violations in architectural plans for a new facility. The settlement agreement requires modifications to bring the new facility into compliance with ADA Standards for Accessible Design, including modifying parking, curb ramps, interior door widths, door hardware, counter heights, and restrooms.
Ramada Maingate/Saga Inn, Anaheim, California -- The Ramada Maingate/Saga Inn agreed to establish procedures for guaranteeing accessible room reservations and for accommodating customers with disabilities. The agreement resolves a complaint filed on behalf of an individual who is mobility impaired, alleging that the hotel failed to provide a promised wheelchair accessible room. In addition, the hotel will post a policy statement indicating that all persons with disabilities are welcome in the hotel and train its staff about their ADA obligations.
** Avis Rent A Car will Improve Access to Airport Shuttle Systems for People with Disabilities -- The nation's second largest rental car company agreed to provide accessible airport shuttle buses at all of its airport locations nationwide. The agreement between Avis Rent A Car, Inc., and the Department of Justice resolved a complaint filed by a traveler who uses a wheelchair alleging that Avis violated the ADA by not providing access to the shuttle system that operates between the terminal at the Detroit Metro Airport and its offsite rental car facilities. During negotiations, Avis agreed to expand the settlement to cover all of its airport shuttle systems nationwide. Avis will ensure that --
- each of the 36 shuttle systems at airport locations that it owns and operates will have at least one accessible vehicle by December 2000; some locations will have several accessible vehicles.
- all newly acquired large shuttle vehicles will be accessible.
- accessible curbside service, under which rented vehicles are delivered directly to the terminal where the customer with a disability is waiting, will be provided at all locations.
- barriers to access will be identified and removed at each airport location.
When the Department began its investigation, Avis had only six lift-equipped vehicles out of 286 in its fleet. When Avis is in full compliance with the agreement, it will have at least 153 accessible vehicles.
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia -- The Department entered into an agreement resolving a complaint alleging that Colonial Williamsburg was inaccessible to persons with vision, hearing, and mobility impairments. During the Department's investigation many modifications to improve the accessibility of hotels, restaurants, walkways, restrooms, and entrances to historic structures were completed, and policies were set in place to provide auxiliary aids and services for people with hearing and vision disabilities. The agreement requires Colonial Williamsburg to modify handrails, insulate hot water pipes, adjust accessible lavatory counters, provide signage directing patrons to accessible restrooms, and to provide an additional accessible restroom in the visitors' center.
Med-Dent, Inc., Presque Isle, Maine -- The U.S. Attorney s Office for the District of Maine entered into a settlement agreement with Med-Dent, Inc., the owner of a medical office building in Presque Isle, Maine, requiring it to make changes that will provide physical access to patients who use wheelchairs. A wheelchair user complained that steps at the exterior entrances and an interior stairwell of the office of her treating neurologist denied her access to the physician's office and required her doctor to examine and treat her in a van in the parking lot. The building owner agreed to install ramps to the exterior front entrances of the office building, install a vertical platform lift at the interior stairwell of the structure, provide training in operation of the lift to persons employed at the building, post accessible parking signs, and replace door knobs with lever-type handles that can be grasped by persons who have disabilities.
Dr. Robin Rinerson, Falls Church, Virginia -- A Virginia doctor agreed to make the entrance to her professional office accessible to people with mobility impairments. Dr. Rinerson will install a ramp to her office entrance and allow sufficient maneuvering space for opening the doors.
Tenaker Pet Center, Highland Ranch, Colorado -- The Tenaker Pet Center agreed to modify a newly-installed ramp at its front entrance to make it fully accessible to people with mobility impairments. The ramp will now have a smooth, level surface at the bottom landing and handrails on both sides.
Shoppers Landing Limited Partnership, Freeport, Maine -- Shoppers Landing, a commercial landlord, agreed to construct a ramp from the street to the rear door of a retail clothing store; post signs at the inaccessible entrance directing patrons to the accessible entrance; and maintain the walkway to the accessible entrance.
Central Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi -- The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi reached an agreement with Central Mississippi Medical Center resolving a complaint that the Center denied a request for an interpreter for a deaf individual to attend child birth classes. The Center will institute a policy to ensure that individuals will receive the auxiliary aids and services needed for effective communication, including sign language interpreters. For courses or seminars offered by the Center, no more than 48 hours prior notice will be required to receive an interpreter. The Center will also provide ADA training to its employees and pay $1,000 in damages to the complainant.
The Department resolves numerous cases without litigation or a formal settlement agreement. In some instances, the public accommodation, commercial facility, or State or local government promptly agrees to take the necessary actions to achieve compliance.
In others, extensive negotiations are required. Following are some examples of what has been accomplished through informal settlements.
A southern State's department of corrections agreed to provide an inmate with diabetes his prescribed food and the appropriate medical attention for his diabetic condition.
A town in New York agreed to relocate its monthly meetings to an accessible location and to provide notice in local newspapers of the town's policy for providng program accessibility.
A Kentucky city government agreed to provide individuals with disabilities auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreter services, at its public meetings and to provide closed captioning for public meetings and public announcements televised on its cable access channel. It also installed hardware for each of its telephone emergency dispatchers that will provide direct access to 9-1-1 callers using TDD's.
A town in Louisiana completed its self-evaluation and transition plan.
Two northern Virginia franchised fabric stores agreed to make their facilities accessible by adding curb cuts, accessible parking spaces, an accessible entrance, and appropriate signage. The franchiser also installed folding auxiliary shelves at the counters in both stores.
A Michigan hotel agreed to purchase three TDD s, two portable door beacons, two portable tone amplifiers, and two portable sonic alert telephone signalers for guests who are deaf or hard of hearing. The hotel also posted notice of the equipment at the front desk, provided appropriate training to staff, and paid $1,000 in compensatory damages to the complainant.
A national professional board agreed to provide testing accommodations to an individual with a learning disability.
An insurance company agreed to reverse its policy and issue health insurance for a child with pervasive developmental disorder.
A southern State's rural health services organization adopted a policy to provide auxiliary aids and services when requested, including qualified sign language interpreters. The policy requests that the patient provide five days advance notice and guarantees that all interpreter costs will be paid by the organization.
Sixty-four franchise restaurants of a nationally recognized quick service chain in Maine reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine to provide access to individuals who are unable to use drive-through speakers, including persons who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have speech impairments. Each restaurant will post clearly visible signs at the drive-through order board informing customers that picture menus and assistance are available for customers with speech or hearing disabilities at the restaurant's pick-up window. In addition, pencils, pens, and paper will be readily available at the pick-up window for customers who indicate they wish to write their order. Drive-through staff will be fully trained in the ADA's requirements for restaurants.
Under a contract with the Department of Justice, The Key Bridge Foundation is accepting referrals of complaints under titles II and III for mediation by professional mediators who have been trained in the legal requirements of the ADA. More than 450 professional mediators are available **nationwide to mediate ADA cases. Over 80 percent of the cases in which mediation has been completed have been successfully resolved. Following are recent examples of results reached through mediation --
The ADA requires the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to entities and individuals with rights and responsibilities under the law. The Department encourages voluntary compliance by providing education and technical assistance to businesses, governments, and members of the general public through a variety of means. Our activities include providing direct technical assistance and guidance to the public through our ADA Information Line, ADA Home Page, and Fax on Demand, developing and disseminating technical assistance materials to the public, undertaking outreach initiatives, operating an ADA technical assistance grant program, and coordinating ADA technical assistance government-wide.
Card-sized Self-serve Gas Fact Sheet Now Available -- The Department has printed a new card-sized version of it's technical assistance fact sheet on providing assistance at self-serve gas stations. This new version, which is easily stored in a vehicle's glove compartment, may be obtained by calling the ADA Information Line. The **standard-size fact sheet is also available through the ADA Home Page, ADA Fax on Demand (document #3210) and the ADA Home Page.
ADA Home Page
An ADA Home Page is operated by the Department on the Internet's World Wide Web (http://www.ada.gov). The Home Page provides information about:
- the toll-free ADA Information Line,
- the Department's ADA enforcement activities,
- the ADA technical assistance program,
- certification of State and local building codes,
- proposed changes in ADA regulations and requirements,
- and the ADA mediation program.
The Home Page also provides direct access to:
- ADA regulations and technical assistance materials (which may be viewed online or downloaded for later use),
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ADA materials, and
- links to the Department's press releases, ADA Bulletin Board, and Internet Home Pages of other Federal agencies that contain ADA information.
Justice and SBA Intensify Outreach to Small Business -- The Department of Justice and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have begun an outreach initiative to increase the awareness of small businesses of their rights and responsibilities under the ADA. SBA's 53 Business Information Centers and 57 Business Development Centers located in every State will disseminate ADA materials to the existing and new small businesses they serve. Dissemination efforts will also be enhanced by the more than 13,000 representatives of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) who work closely with these SBA offices. The first material disseminated by this initiative will be a jointly issued version of the ** ADA Guide for Small Businesses. This edition will include the toll-free number for the SBA information line for small businesses.
The Department of Justice operates a toll-free ADA Information Line to provide information and free publications to the public about the requirements of the ADA. Automated service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to order materials for delivery by mail or through our fax delivery system. ADA specialists are available on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and on Thursday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). Spanish language service is also available.
To obtain general ADA information, get answers to specific technical questions, order free ADA materials, or ask about filing a complaint, call:
ADA Fax On Demand
The ADA Information Line Fax Delivery Service allows the public to obtain free ADA information by fax 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By calling the number above and following the directions, callers can select from among 32 different ADA technical assistance publications and receive the information, usually within minutes, directly on their fax machines or computer fax/modems. A list of available documents and their code numbers may also be ordered through the ADA Information Line.
Publications and Documents
Copies of the Department's ADA regulations and publications, including the Technical Assistance Manuals for titles II and III, and information about the Department's technical assistance grant program, can be obtained by calling the ADA Information Line, visiting the ADA Home Page on the World Wide Web, or writing to the address listed below. All materials are available in standard print as well as large print, Braille, audiotape, or computer disk for persons with disabilities.
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
Copies of the legal documents and settlement agreements mentioned in this publication can be obtained by writing to:
Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Branch
Administrative Management Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65310
Washington, D.C. 20035-5310
Currently, the FOI/PA Branch maintains approximately 10,000 pages of ADA material. The records are available at a cost of $0.10 per page (first 100 pages free). Please make your requests as specific as possible in order to minimize your costs.
The FOI/PA Branch also provides access to ADA materials on the World Wide Web at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/foia/records.htm. A link to this website is provided from the ADA Home Page.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offers technical assistance to the public concerning the employment provisions of title I of the ADA.
The Federal Communications Commission offers technical assistance to the public concerning the communication provisions of title IV of the ADA.
The U.S. Department of Transportation through the Federal Transit Administration offers technical assistance concerning the transportation provisions of title II and title III of the ADA.
ADA Assistance Line for information, questions, or complaints
ADA documents and general questions
ADA legal questions
The U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, or Access Board, offers technical assistance to the public on the ADA Accessibility Guidelines.
ADA documents and questions
The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund ADA Hotline is funded by the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to the public on all titles of the ADA.
ADA technical assistance
800-466-4232 (voice & TDD)
The Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers are funded by the U.S. Department of Education through the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in ten regions of the country to provide resources and technical assistance on the ADA.
ADA technical assistance
800-949-4232 (voice & TDD)
Project ACTION is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide ADA information and publications on making transportation accessible.
Information on accessible transportation
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a free telephone consulting service funded by the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. It provides information and advice to employers and people with disabilities on reasonable accommodation in the workplace.
Information on workplace accommodation
800-526-7234 (voice & TDD)
Complaints about violations of title I (employment) by units of State and local government or by private employers should be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Call 800-669-4000 (voice) or 800-669-6820 (TDD) to reach the field office in your area.
Titles II and III
Complaints about violations of title II by units of State and local government or violations of title III by public accommodations and commercial facilities should be filed with --
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
Post Office Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
The Attorney General has determined that publication of this periodical is necessary in the transaction of the public business required by law of the Department of Justice.
revised June 27, 2006