Obtaining visual and oral communication services
You can ask customers to notify you in advance if they need any of the services described in this lesson. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with agencies that provide these services in your area, so that you will be prepared when the need arises. Local disability organizations or ADA Information Line staff can help you identify the local service providers.
Telephone communications using the relay service
You answer the telephone and the caller says, “This is relay CA #___. Have you received a relay call before?” What do you do? [The relay operator is called a "CA" for "communication assistant." The operator will provide his or her state identification number.]
How it works. When a TTY-user types his or her words on a TTY, the words appear on a display in front of the relay operator, and the operator reads those words to the telephone-user. The telephone-user speaks his or her words to the operator, and the operator types those words to send them to the TTY-user.
The relay service is also used to communicate with people who can speak to the telephone-user but cannot hear the response, and by people who can hear the telephone-user but cannot speak clearly enough to respond.
If businesses accept calls from the public, they must accept relay calls. To place a call to a customer who uses a TTY, dial 7-1-1 to access the relay service.
The ADA has limits on how far a business must go in providing effective communication. Businesses are not expected to provide any services that would “fundamentally alter” the business’s goods and services or that would cause an “undue burden.” What does this mean?
A fundamental alteration is a change that is so significant that it alters the essential nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations offered by a business.
The ADA does not require businesses to furnish any communication aids or services that place an undue burden on the business. An undue burden is defined as "significant difficulty or expense." It is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, relative to the business’s overall resources.