Want to Resolve Your ADA Complaint?

Consider Mediation

Would you like to resolve your Americans With Disabilities Act complaint quickly and minimize your costs?

This brochure can help answer your questions about mediation and help you decide whether mediation is the answer to your complaint.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process that brings parties together to resolve their differences through discussion and problem-solving. The goal is to achieve "win-win" solutions. It is not a compromise. The mediator is a "neutral" party who helps facilitate the dialogue, but is not the final decision-maker, arbitrator, or judge.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of mediation?


--Lets you - not a judge or jury -develop your own solutions;
--May offer you fast resolution of your dispute;
--May be less expensive than going to court;
--May mend your relationship with the other parties; and
--Still allows you to go to court if you cannot reach a mutually-acceptable solution.


--May not resolve your dispute;
--You or the other party may not be happy with the solution; and
--You may have to go to court anyway.

How do you know if mediation is right for you?

--Weigh all of your options for settling the dispute.
--Compare the cost of mediation to a lawsuit.

What are your other options?

If you don't reach an agreement:

--Mediation is not binding. As long as you don't sign the contract, you still have the right to sue. If you are not satisfied, inform the other party.

--Consult an attorney or advocate to determine whether to file an ADA case in state or federal court or file a complaint with one of the federal agencies (i.e., DOJ, EEOC, etc.).

If the other party is not willing to participate:

--Either party can withdraw at any time.
--Explain the possible alternatives to the other party. This may convince him or her to participate.

Common ADA disputes that can be mediated

--Lack of accessible parking
--Denial of interpreter services or assistive listening device
--Alternative formats not available for written material
--Denial of access to goods or services
--Barriers to building access

Five questions to ask when selecting a mediator

--What are your qualifications and experience as a mediator?
--What is your familiarity with the ADA?
--How many ADA disputes have you mediated successfully?
--How much will it cost to mediate my complaint?
--How long will mediation take? (Time for individual sessions and for the entire process.)

Mediation Resources

To find a local mediator with an ADA specialization call:

Key Bridge Foundation
1-888-528-1609 (VOICE)
1-800-630-1051 (TTY)
202-274-1824 (Fax)

For information about the ADA call:

Department of Justice
ADA Information Line
800-514-0301 (VOICE)
800-514-0383 (TTY)

For general information about mediation call the:

State office of dispute resolution
State or local bar association
State or local court administrator


This brochure provides general information to promote voluntary compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It was prepared under the grant #94-CR-CX-0003 from the U.S. Department of Justice. This brochure does not constitute the Department's legal analysis or interpretation. For legal guidance, the ADA statute (42 U.S.C. 12101) and the Department's ADA regulations (28 C.F.R. Parts 35 and 36) should be consulted.


Return to the ADA Mediation Program

Return to Enforcement



May 20, 2010