Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all state and local government programs, activities, benefits and services. Federal government entities are required to comply with the Rehabilitation Act, rather than the ADA. Title II also covers public transportation.
State and local government entities must eliminate eligibility criteria that screen out people with disabilities. For example, requiring a driver’s license as the only acceptable form of Identification inadvertently discriminates against people with disabilities. People who are blind or low vision, or people who have seizures, cannot safely operate a motor vehicle.
To avoid discrimination, state and local government agencies may be required to modify policies, practices, or procedures. For instance, buildings prohibiting pets must admit service animals assisting individuals with disabilities.
State and local governments must also operate their programs so that, when viewed in their entirety, they are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. For example, if an agency has a main location and two satellite offices, one of those three sites must be accessible. Another alternative might be to provide services in the person’s accessible home.
It is imperative that police, fire, ambulance and poison control personnel have immediate access to telecommunications equipment designed for people with disabilities. Emergency personnel are required to be trained to initiate and respond to calls using TTY or video relay services.
However, emergency personnel must also be able to receive emergency telephone calls directly. Direct call examples include using their computer modem or TTY without a relay operator or third party.
Regardless of size, all state and local government entities are required to evaluate their policies and practices, assuring compliance with Title II. All agencies must also provide Title II rights and protection information:
State and local programs with over 50 employees must designate an ADA Coordinator to oversee Title II compliance. In addition, state and local government entities with 50 or more employees are required to have a grievance procedure for prompt resolution of ADA complaints.
Over the past four decades, Disability Educator and Sign Language Instructor Cindy Powell has advised businesses, employers, government agencies and nonprofits about best practices with people with disabilities.
Cindy provides customized training on the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), tax incentives and other helpful topics, such as disability etiquette and service animals. Ms. Powell also provides customized sign language training.
Cindy has served on local, state and national disability organization Boards of Directors. Ms. Powell was recipient of International Association of Workforce Professionals' 2006 Services to Specialized Populations award. Cindy’s disability articles appear in print and online.
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