ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

Americans with Disabilities Act

Introduction to the ADA > Employment > Government / Public Transportation > Public Accommodation

Public Accommodations > Take the Test > Definitions > Title III Requirements > Existing Barriers / New Construction

Public Accommodations

Title III covers the private sector. It requires that a wide range of public accommodations in the private sector remove physical, communications and procedural barriers to access by people with disabilities. Title III addresses the widespread exclusion of people with disabilities from the routine activities of everyday life which most Americans take for granted. Title III covers sales, rental and service establishments, as well as educational institutions, recreation facilities and service centers.

Title III covers public accommodations, commercial facilities and private entities that offer examinations or courses related to licensing or certification, and transportation provided to the public by private agencies became effective January 26, 1992 and is enforced by the United States Department of Justice.

Who is Covered by Title III of the ADA?

Title III covers public accommodations defined as private entities that own, operate, lease to places of public accommodation. It covers commercial facilities and private entities or agencies that offer certain examinations and courses related to educational or occupational certification.

What is a Public Accommodation?

Places of public accommodations include, but are not limited to restaurants, hotels, theaters, convention centers, retail stores, shopping malls, dry cleaners, laundromats, pharmacies, doctors' offices, hospitals, museums, libraries, parks, zoos, amusement parks, private schools, day care centers, health spa and bowling alleys.

Commercial facilities are nonresidential facilities, including office buildings, factories and warehouses.

Entities controlled by religious organizations including churches, synagogues and mosques are not covered.

Private clubs are not covered, except to the extent that the facilities of the private club are made available to customers of a place of public accommodation.

State and local governments are not covered by Title III. They are covered by Title II.

Requirements of Title III

Modifications in Policies, Practices and Procedures:

Effective Communication and Auxiliary Aids

What About Examinations and Courses?

Certain examinations or courses offered by private entities such as those that are related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary and postsecondary education, professional or trade purposes, must be offered in a place and manner accessible to people with disabilities or be made accessible by alternative means.

To provide an examination in an accessible place, a private entity must assure that the examination tests what it is intended to measure, rather than point out the person's disability.

To make the examination accessible, the private entity must modify the examination format, for example allow additional time.

The private entity must provide auxiliary aids such as taped examinations, interpreters, large print answer sheets or qualified readers. These auxiliary aids must be provided unless they would fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge that the examination is designed to test or would result in undue burden.

The private entity must offer the examination in a facility that is accessible or provide alternative comparable arrangements, such as providing the examination in the person's home.

In order to provide a course in an accessible place and manner, the private entity may have to modify the course format or requirements, for example, allowing more time for the completion of the course.

The private entity may have to provide auxiliary aids unless a fundamental alteration or undue burden would result.

The private entity would have to offer the course in an accessible place or provide alternative comparable arrangements, for example, providing the course through videotapes, audiocassettes or prepared notes.

Enforcement of Title III of the ADA

Title III of the ADA is enforced by the United States Department of Justice. Private parties can bring law suits to obtain court orders to stop discrimination. No monetary damages will be awarded, but a reasonable attorney's fee may be awarded.

Individuals may also file complaints with the United States Attorney General who is authorized to bring lawsuits in cases of general public importance or where a pattern or practice of discrimination is alleged. In these suits, monetary, not punitive damages and civil penalties may be awarded. The award may not exceed $50,000 for a first violation and $100,000 for any subsequent violation.

Technical Assistance

The ADA requires that Federal agencies responsible for issuing ADA regulations provide technical assistance in the form of information pamphlets, videotapes, Web sites. For additional information contact:

Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
800-514-0301 (Voice)
800-514-0383 (TDD)
202-514-6193(Electronic Bulletin Board)

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