Excerpted from the "Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Technical Assistance Manual" www.ada.gov/taman3.htm
III-4.2000 Reasonable modifications
III-4.2100 General. A public accommodation must reasonably modify its policies, practices, or procedures to avoid discrimination. If the public accommodation can demonstrate, however, that a modification would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations it provides, it is not required to make the modification.
III-4.2200 Specialties. It is not considered discriminatory for a public accommodation with a specialty in a particular area to refer an individual with a disability to a different public accommodation if --
1) The individual is seeking a service or treatment outside the referring public accommodation's area of expertise; and
2) The public accommodation would make a similar referral for an individual who does not have a disability.
III-4.2300 Service animals. A public accommodation must modify its policies to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability, unless doing so would result in a fundamental alteration or jeopardize the safe operation of the public accommodation.
Service animals include any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Tasks typically performed by service animals include guiding people with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to the presence of intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or retrieving dropped items.
The care or supervision of a service animal is the responsibility of his or her owner, not the public accommodation. A public accommodation may not require an individual with a disability to post a deposit as a condition to permitting a service animal to accompany its owner in a place of public accommodation, even if such deposits are required for pets.
A number of States have programs to certify service animals. A private entity, however, may not insist on proof of State certification before permitting the entry of a service animal to a place of public accommodation.
III-4.2400 Check-out aisles. If a store has check-out aisles, customers with disabilities must be provided an equivalent level of convenience in access to check-out facilities as customers without disabilities. To accomplish this, the store must either keep an adequate number of accessible aisles open or otherwise modify its policies and practices.
III-4.2500 Accessible or special goods. As a general rule, a public accommodation is not required to alter its inventory to carry accessible or special products that are designed for or easier to use by customers with disabilities. Examples of accessible goods include Brailled books, books in audio tape, closed-captioned video tapes, specially sized or designed clothing, and foods that meet special dietary needs.
On the other hand, a public accommodation may be required to special order accessible goods at the request of a customer with a disability if --
1) It makes special orders for unstocked goods in its regular course of business, and
2) The accessible or special goods requested can be obtained from one of its regular suppliers.
The ADA does not require that manufacturers provide warranties or operating manuals that are packed with the product in accessible formats.
III-4.2600 Personal services and devices. A public accommodation is not required to provide individuals with disabilities with personal or individually prescribed devices, such as wheelchairs, prescription eyeglasses, or hearing aids, or to provide services of a personal nature, such as assistance in eating, toileting, or dressing.
Although discussed here as a limit on the duty to make reasonable modifications, this provision applies to all aspects of the title III rule and limits the obligations of public accommodations in areas such as the provision of auxiliary aids and services, alternatives to barrier removal, and examinations and courses.
However, the phrase "services of a personal nature" is not to be interpreted as referring to minor assistance provided to individuals with disabilities. For example, measures taken as alternatives to barrier removal, such as retrieving items from shelves or providing curb service or home delivery, or actions required as modifications in policies, practices, and procedures, such as a waiter's removing the cover from a customer's straw, a kitchen's cutting up food into smaller pieces, or a bank's filling out a deposit slip, would not be considered "services of a personal nature." Also, if a public accommodation such as a hospital or nursing home customarily provides its clients with what might otherwise be considered services of a personal nature, it must provide the same services for individuals with disabilities.
III-4.1000 Eligibility criteria
III-4.1100 General. A public accommodation may not impose eligibility criteria that either screen out or tend to screen out persons with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying any goods, services, privileges, advantages, or accommodations offered to individuals without disabilities, unless it can show that such requirements are necessary for the provision of the goods, services, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.
III-4.1200 Safety. A public accommodation may impose legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation. However, the public accommodation must ensure that its safety requirements are based on real risks, not on speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities.
III-3.8000 Direct threat. A public accommodation may exclude an individual with a disability from participation in an activity, if that individual's participation would result in a direct threat to the health or safety of others. The public accommodation must determine that there is a significant risk to others that cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level by reasonable modifications to the public accommodation's policies, practices, or procedures or by the provision of appropriate auxiliary aids or services. The determination that a person poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others may not be based on generalizations or stereotypes about the effects of a particular disability; it must be based on an individual assessment that considers the particular activity and the actual abilities and disabilities of the individual.
The individual assessment must be based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical evidence, or on the best available objective evidence, to determine --
1) The nature, duration, and severity of the risk;
2) The probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and
3) Whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate or eliminate the risk.
Such an inquiry is essential to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination based on prejudice, stereotypes, or unfounded fear, while giving appropriate weight to legitimate concerns, such as the need to avoid exposing others to significant health and safety risks. Making this assessment will not usually require the services of a physician. Sources for medical knowledge include public health authorities, such as the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control, and the National Institutes of Health, including the National Institute of Mental Health.