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Title III Technical Assistance Manual (with 1994 supplement)


Regulatory references: 28 CFR 36.301-36.310.

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.

ILLUSTRATION 1: A restaurant has an unofficial policy of seating individuals with visible disabilities in the least desirable parts of the restaurant. This policy violates the ADA because it establishes an eligibility criterion that discriminates against individuals with certain disabilities and that is not necessary for the operation of the restaurant. The restaurant may not justify its policy on the basis of the preferences of its other customers.

ILLUSTRATION 2: A parking garage refuses to allow vans to park inside even though the garage has adequate roof clearance and space for vans. Although the garage operator does not intend to discriminate against individuals with disabilities, the garage's policy unnecessarily tends to screen out people with certain mobility impairments who, in order to have enough space for mobility aids such as wheelchairs, use vans rather than cars.

ILLUSTRATION 3: A cruise ship subject to the ADA discovers that an individual who uses a wheelchair has made a reservation for a cruise and plans to travel independently. The cruise line notifies the individual that she must bring a "traveling companion" or her reservation will be cancelled. Requiring a traveling companion as an eligibility criterion violates the ADA, unless the cruise line demonstrates that its policy is necessary for some compelling reason.

ILLUSTRATION 4: A committee reviews applications from physicians seeking "admitting privileges" at a privately owned hospital. The hospital requires all applicants, no matter their specialty, to meet certain physical and mental health qualifications, because the hospital believes they will promote the safe and efficient delivery of medical care. The hospital must be able to show that the specific qualifications imposed are necessary.

ILLUSTRATION 5: A retail store has a policy of permitting only customers with driver's licenses to write checks for purchases. Customers without driver's licenses must complete credit applications before their checks will be accepted. This policy places an unnecessary burden on persons who have disabilities that prevent them from obtaining driver's licenses. The store must therefore allow customers who cannot obtain driver's licenses due to disability to present state identification cards for check- verification purposes.

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.

ILLUSTRATION: A wilderness tour company may require participants to meet a necessary level of swimming proficiency in order to participate in a rafting expedition.

III−4.1300 Unnecessary inquiries. The ADA prohibits unnecessary inquiries into the existence of a disability.

ILLUSTRATION 1: A private summer camp requires parents to fill out a questionnaire and to submit medical documentation regarding their children's ability to participate in various camp activities. The questionnaire is acceptable if the summer camp can demonstrate that each piece of information requested is needed to ensure safe participation in camp activities. The camp,however, may not use this information to screen out children with disabilities from admittance to the camp.

ILLUSTRATION 2: A retail store requires applicants for a store credit card to supply information regarding their physical or mental health history. This policy violates the ADA because such information is not relevant to a determination of credit worthiness.

III−4.1400 Surcharges. Although compliance may result in some additional cost, a public accommodation may not place a surcharge only on particular individuals with disabilities or groups of individuals with disabilities to cover these expenses.

ILLUSTRATION: The ABC pharmacy is located on the second floor of an older four-story building that does not have an elevator. Because the pharmacy's owner has determined that providing physical access to the pharmacy for those unable to climb stairs would not be readily achievable, she has chosen to provide home delivery as a readily achievable alternative to barrier removal. The pharmacy may not charge an individual who uses a wheelchair for the cost of providing home delivery.

ILLUSTRATION 2: In order to ensure effective communication with a deaf patient during an office visit, a doctor arranges for the services of a sign language interpreter. The cost of the interpreter's services must be absorbed by the doctor.

ILLUSTRATION 3: A community civic association arranges to provide interpreting services for a deaf individual wishing to attend a business seminar sponsored by the organization in rented space at a local motel. The interpreting service requires the organization to provide payment in full prior to the seminar. Due to a business emergency, the individual is unable to attend. The organization may not charge the deaf individual for the cost of the unused interpreting services.

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.

ILLUSTRATION 1: A private health clinic, in collaboration with its local public safety officials, has developed an evacuation plan to be used in the event of fire or other emergency. The clinic occupies several floors of a multistory building. During an emergency, elevators, which are the normal means of exiting from the clinic, will be shut off. The health clinic is obligated to modify its evacuation procedures, if necessary, to provide alternative means for clients with mobility impairments to be safely evacuated from the clinic without using the elevator. The clinic should also modify its plan to take into account the needs of its clients with visual, hearing, and other disabilities.

ILLUSTRATION 2: Under its obligation to remove architectural barriers where it is readily achievable to do so, a local motel has greatly improved physical access in several of its rooms. However, under its present reservation system, the motel is unable to guarantee that, when a person requests an accessible room, one of the new rooms will actually be available when he or she arrives. The ADA requires the motel to make reasonable modifications in its reservation system to ensure the availability of the accessible room.

Also, if the motel's only available accessible rooms were offered at higher rates than the room initially requested, it may be a reasonable modification of policy for the hotel to make the more expensive rooms available at the lower rate.

ILLUSTRATION 3: A retail store has a policy of not taking special orders for out-of-stock merchandise unless the customer appears personally to sign the order. The store would be required to reasonably modify its procedures to allow the taking of special orders by phone from persons with disabilities who cannot visit the store. If the store's concern is obtaining a guarantee of payment that a signed order would provide, the store could, for example, take orders by mail or take credit card orders by telephone from persons with disabilities.

ILLUSTRATION 4: An individual requires assistance in order to use toilet facilities and his only companion is a person of the opposite sex. Permitting a person of the opposite sex to assist an individual with a disability in a toilet room designated for one sex may be a required reasonable modification of policy.

ILLUSTRATION 5: A car rental company has a policy that customers who wish to secure car rentals with cash must have been employed at their present jobs for a year or more. A responsible, cash-paying customer with other sources of income, who is unemployed due to a disability, applies to rent a car and is rejected. The ADA requires the car rental company to reasonably modify its procedures to permit rentals by individuals with other adequate sources of income, including disability-related sources of income such as SSI, SSDI, Veteran's Administration disability benefits, or employer's disability benefits.

ILLUSTRATION 6: An individual is unable to wait in a long line for an amusement park ride because of a disability that carries with it a heightened sensitivity to heat. Another individual cannot wait in line because the line moves along an inaccessible path. In both cases the park may be required to modify its policy requiring all patrons to wait in line for attractions. For example, the amusement park could make available a marker to hold an individual's place in line.

ILLUSTRATION 7: A movie theater has a policy prohibiting patrons from consuming food and beverages purchased outside the theater. The theater may be required to make an exception to permit a parent to bring in appropriate food for a child with diabetes.

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.

ILLUSTRATION: An individual who is blind initially visits a doctor who specializes in family medicine. The doctor discovers that the individual has a potentially cancerous growth. The family practice physician may refer the blind individual to a cancer specialist, if he or she has no expertise in that area, and if he or she would make a similar referral for an individual who is not blind. The cancer specialist who receives the referral may not refuse to treat the individual for cancer-related problems simply because the individual is blind.

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.

ILLUSTRATION: An individual who is blind wishes to be accompanied in a restaurant by her guide dog. The restaurant must permit the guide dog to accompany its owner in all areas of the restaurant open to other patrons and may not insist that the dog be separated from her.

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.

This regulation also acknowledges that in rare circumstances, if the nature of the goods and services provided or accommodations offered would be fundamentally altered or the safe operation of a public accommodation jeopardized, a service animal need not be allowed to enter.

ILLUSTRATION: A showing by appropriate medical personnel that the presence or use of a service animal would pose a significant health risk in certain designated areas of a hospital may serve as a basis for excluding service animals in those areas.

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.

ILLUSTRATION: PQR Foodmart has twenty narrow, inaccessible check-out aisles and one wider, accessible aisle. The accessible aisle is used as an express lane limited to customers purchasing fewer than ten items. K, who uses a wheelchair, wishes to make a larger purchase. PQR Foodmart must permit K to make his large purchase at the express lane.

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 on audio tape, closed-captioned video tapes, specially sized or designed clothing, and foods that meet special dietary needs.

ILLUSTRATION: A local book store has customarily carried only regular print versions of books. The ADA does not require the bookstore to expand its inventory to include large print books or books on audio tape.

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.

ILLUSTRATION: A customer of a local bookstore begins to experience some vision loss and has difficulty reading regular print. Upon request by the customer, the bookstore is required to try to obtain large print books, if it normally fills special orders (of any kind) for its other customers, and if large print books can be obtained from 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.

ILLUSTRATION: An exclusive women's clothing shop provides individualized assistance to its customers in selecting and trying on garments. Although "dressing" might otherwise be considered a personal service, in this case the store must extend the same service to its customers with disabilities. However, a "no frills" merchandiser would not be required to provide assistance in trying on garments, because it does not provide such a service to any of its customers.

III−4.3100 General. A public accommodation is required to provide auxiliary aids and services that are necessary to ensure equal access to the goods, services, facilities, privileges, or accommodations that it offers, unless an undue burden or a fundamental alteration would result.

Who is entitled to auxiliary aids? This obligation extends only to individuals with disabilities who have physical or mental impairments, such as vision, hearing, or speech impairments, that substantially limit the ability to communicate. Measures taken to accommodate individuals with other types of disabilities are covered by other title III requirements such as "reasonable modifications" and "alternatives to barrier removal. "

ILLUSTRATION: W, an individual who is blind, needs assistance in locating and removing an item from a grocery store shelf. A store employee who locates the desired item for W would be providing an "auxiliary aid or service. "

BUT: If G, who uses a wheelchair, receives the same retrieval service, not because of a disability related to communication, but rather because of his inability to physically reach the desired item, the store would be making a required "reasonable modification" in its practices, as discussed in III−4.2000 of this manual.

III−4.3200 Effective communication. In order to provide equal access, a public accommodation is required to make available appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication. The type of auxiliary aid or service necessary to ensure effective communication will vary in accordance with the length and complexity of the communication involved.

ILLUSTRATION 1: H, an individual who is deaf, uses sign language as his primary means of communication and also communicates by writing. He is shopping for film at a camera store. Exchanging notes with the sales clerk would be adequate to ensure effective communication.

ILLUSTRATION 2: H then stops by a new car showroom to look at the latest models. The car dealer would be able to communicate effectively general information about the models available by providing brochures and exchanging notes by pen and notepad, or perhaps by means of taking turns at a computer terminal keyboard. If H becomes serious about making a purchase, the services of a qualified interpreter may be necessary because of the complicated nature of the communication involved in buying a car.

ILLUSTRATION 2a: H goes to his doctor for a bi-weekly check-up, during which the nurse records H's blood pressure and weight. Exchanging notes and using gestures are likely to provide an effective means of communication at this type of check-up.

BUT: Upon experiencing symptoms of a mild stroke, H returns to his doctor for a thorough examination and battery of tests and requests that an interpreter be provided. H's doctor should arrange for the services of a qualified interpreter, as an interpreter is likely to be necessary for effective communication with H, given the length and complexity of the communication involved.

ILLUSTRATION 3: S, an individual who is blind, visits an electronics store to purchase a clock radio and wishes to inspect the merchandise information cards next to the floor models in order to decide which one to buy. Reading the model information to S should be adequate to ensure effective communication. Of course, if S is unreasonably demanding or is shopping when the store is extremely busy, it may be an undue burden to spend extended periods of time reading price and product information.

ILLUSTRATION 4: S also has tickets to a play. When S arrives at the theater, the usher notices that S is an individual who is blind and guides S to her seat. An usher is also available to guide S to her seat following intermission. With the provision of these services, a Brailled ticket is not necessary for effective communication in seating S.

ILLUSTRATION 5: The same theater provides S with a tape-recorded version of its printed program for the evening's performance. A Brailled program is not necessary to effectively communicate the contents of the program to S, if an audio cassette and tape player are provided.

Who decides what type of auxiliary aid should be provided? Public accommodations should consult with individuals with disabilities wherever possible to determine what type of auxiliary aid is needed to ensure effective communication. In many cases, more than one type of auxiliary aid or service may make effective communication possible. While consultation is strongly encouraged, the ultimate decision as to what measures to take to ensure effective communication rests in the hands of the public accommodation, provided that the method chosen results in effective communication.

ILLUSTRATION: A patient who is deaf brings his own sign language interpreter for an office visit without prior consultation and bills the physician for the cost of the interpreter. The physician is not obligated to comply with the unilateral determination by the patient that an interpreter is necessary. The physician must be given an opportunity to consult with the patient and make an independent assessment of what type of auxiliary aid, if any, is necessary to ensure effective communication. If the patient believes that the physician's decision will not lead to effective communication, then the patient may challenge that decision under title III by initiating litigation or filing a complaint with the Department of Justice (see III−8.0000).

ILLUSTRATION 2: S, who is blind, goes to the corner laundromat. Displayed on the laundry machine controls are written instructions for operating the machines. The company that owns and operates the laundromat could make the machines accessible to S by Brailling the instructions onto adhesive labels and placing the labels (or a Brailled template) on the machines. Alternatively, the laundromat company could arrange for a laundry room attendant to read the instructions printed on the machines to S. Any one particular method is not required, so long as effective communication is provided.

Who is a qualified interpreter? There are a number of sign language systems in use by persons who use sign language. (The most common systems of sign language are American Sign Language and signed English.) Individuals who use a particular system may not communicate effectively through an interpreter who uses another system. When an interpreter is required, the public accommodation should provide a qualified interpreter, that is, an interpreter who is able to sign to the individual who is deaf what is being said by the hearing person and who can voice to the hearing person what is being signed by the individual who is deaf. This communication must be conveyed effectively, accurately, and impartially, through the use of any necessary specialized vocabulary.

Can a public accommodation use a staff member who signs "pretty well" as an interpreter for meetings with individuals who use sign language to communicate? Signing and interpreting are not the same thing. Being able to sign does not mean that a person can process spoken communication into the proper signs, nor does it mean that he or she possesses the proper skills to observe someone signing and change their signed or fingerspelled communication into spoken words. The interpreter must be able to interpret both receptively and expressively.

If a sign language interpreter is required for effective communication, must only a certified interpreter be provided? No. The key question in determining whether effective communication will result is whether the interpreter is "qualified," not whether he or she has been actually certified by an official licensing body. A qualified interpreter is one "who is able to interpret effectively, accurately and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary. " An individual does not have to be certified in order to meet this standard. A certified interpreter may not meet this standard in all situations, e.g. , where the interpreter is not familiar with the specialized vocabulary involved in the communication at issue.

III−4.3300 Examples of auxiliary aids and services. Auxiliary aids and services include a wide range of services and devices that promote effective communication. Examples of auxiliary aids and services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing include qualified interpreters, notetakers, computer-aided transcription services, written materials, telephone handset amplifiers, assistive listening systems, telephones compatible with hearing aids, closed caption decoders, open and closed captioning, telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TDD's), videotext displays, and exchange of written notes.

Examples for individuals with vision impairments include qualified readers, taped texts, audio

recordings, Brailled materials, large print materials, and assistance in locating items.

Examples for individuals with speech impairments include TDD's, computer terminals, speech

synthesizers, and communication boards.

III−4.3400 Telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD's). In order to ensure effective communication by telephone, a public accommodation is required to provide TDD's in certain circumstances. Because TDD relay systems required by title IV of the ADA (which must be operational by July 26, 1993) will eliminate many telephone system barriers to TDD users, the auxiliary aids requirements relating to TDD's are limited in nature.

III−4.3410 Calls incident to business operations. A public accommodation is not required to have a TDD available for receiving or making telephone calls that are part of its business operations. Even during the interim period between the effective date of title III and the date the TDD relay service becomes available, there is no requirement that public accommodations have TDD's. Of course, the ADA does not prevent a public accommodation from obtaining a TDD if, for business or other reasons, it chooses to do so.

III−4.3420 Outgoing calls by customers, clients, patients, or participants. On the other hand, TDD's must be provided when customers, clients, patients, or participants are permitted to make outgoing calls on "more than an incidental convenience basis. " For example, TDD's must be made available on request to hospital patients or hotel guests where in-room phone service is provided. A hospital or hotel front desk should also be equipped with a TDD so that patients or guests using TDD's in their rooms have the same access to in-house services as other patients or guests.

It is the hotel's or hospital's responsibility to monitor requests for TDD's to ensure that it has a sufficient supply of such devices. The facility should acquire what it reasonably predicts will be an adequate number of TDD's, and then acquire additional TDD's if experience shows that an increase is necessary to meet actual demand.

Newly constructed hotels must have a certain number of rooms that are accessible to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing (the exact number is dependent on the number of rooms in the hotel). This number of rooms is a useful reference point for a facility attempting to gauge the number of TDD's necessary for effective communication.

III−4.3500 Closed caption decoders. Hospitals that provide televisions for use by patients, and hotels, motels, and other places of lodging that provide televisions in five or more guest rooms, must provide closed caption decoder service upon request.

III−4.3600 Limitations and alternatives. A public accommodation is not required to provide any auxiliary aid or service that would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods or services offered or that would result in an undue burden.

However, the fact that providing a particular auxiliary aid or service would result in a fundamental alteration or undue burden does not necessarily relieve a public accommodation from its obligation to ensure effective communication. The public accommodation must still provide an alternative auxiliary aid or service that would not result in an undue burden or fundamental alteration but that would ensure effective communication to the maximum extent possible, if one is available.

ILLUSTRATION: It may be an undue burden for a small private historic house museum on a shoestring budget to provide a sign language interpreter for a deaf individual wishing to participate in a tour. Providing a written script of the tour, however, would be an alternative that would be unlikely to result in an undue burden.

What is a fundamental alteration? A fundamental alteration is a modification that is so significant that it alters the essential nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations offered.

What is an undue burden? "Undue burden" is defined as "significant difficulty or expense. "

Among the factors to be considered in determining whether an action would result in an undue burden are the following --

1) The nature and cost of the action;

2) The overall financial resources of the site or sites involved; the number of persons employed at the site; the effect on expenses and resources; legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation, including crime prevention measures; or any other impact of the action on the operation of the site;

3) The geographic separateness, and the administrative or fiscal relationship of the site or sites in question to any parent corporation or entity;

4) If applicable, the overall financial resources of any parent corporation or entity; the overall size of the parent corporation or entity with respect to the number of its employees; the number, type, and location of its facilities; and

5) If applicable, the type of operation or operations of any parent corporation or entity, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce of the parent corporation or entity.

Does a public accommodation have to do more or less under the "undue burden" standard than under other ADA limitations such as "undue hardship" and "readily achievable"? The definition of undue burden is identical to the definition of undue hardship used in title I of the ADA as the limitation on an employer's obligation to reasonably accommodate an applicant or employee. Under both limitations, an action is not required if it results in "significant difficulty or expense. " The undue burden standard, however, requires a greater level of effort by a public accommodation in providing auxiliary aids and services than does the "readily achievable" standard for removing barriers in existing facilities (see III−4.4200). Although "readily achievable" is therefore a "lesser" standard, the factors to be considered in determining what is readily achievable are identical to those listed above for determining undue burden.

III−4.4100 General. Public accommodations must remove architectural barriers and communication barriers that are structural in nature in existing facilities, when it is readily achievable to do so.

What is an architectural barrier? Architectural barriers are physical elements of a facility that impede access by people with disabilities. These barriers include more than obvious impediments such as steps and curbs that prevent access by people who use wheelchairs.

In many facilities, telephones, drinking fountains, mirrors, and paper towel dispensers are mounted at a height that makes them inaccessible to people using wheelchairs. Conventional doorknobs and operating controls may impede access by people who have limited manual dexterity. Deep pile carpeting on floors and unpaved exterior ground surfaces often are a barrier to access by people who use wheelchairs and people who use other mobility aids, such as crutches. Impediments caused by the location of temporary or movable structures, such as furniture, equipment, and display racks, are also considered architectural barriers.

What is a communication barrier that is structural in nature? Communication barriers that are "structural in nature" are barriers that are an integral part of the physical structure of a facility. Examples include conventional signage, which generally is inaccessible to people who have vision impairments, and audible alarm systems, which are inaccessible to people with hearing impairments. Structural communication barriers also include the use of physical partitions that hamper the passage of sound waves between employees and customers, and the absence of adequate sound buffers in noisy areas that would reduce the extraneous noise that interferes with communication with people who have limited hearing.

How does the communication barrier removal requirement relate to the obligation to provide auxiliary aids? Communications devices, such as TDD's, telephone handset amplifiers, assistive listening devices, and digital check-out displays, are not an integral part of the physical structure of the building and, therefore, are considered auxiliary aids under the Department's title III regulation. The failure to provide auxiliary aids is not a communication barrier that is structural in nature. The obligation to remove structural communications barriers is independent of any obligation to provide auxiliary aids and services.

What is a "facility"? The term "facility" includes all or any part of a building, structure, equipment, vehicle, site (including roads, walks, passageways, and parking lots), or other real or personal property. Both permanent and temporary facilities are subject to the barrier removal requirements.

III−4.4200 Readily achievable barrier removal. Public accommodations are required to remove barriers only when it is "readily achievable" to do so. "Readily achievable" means easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.

How does the "readily achievable" standard relate to other standards in the ADA? The ADA establishes different standards for existing facilities and new construction. In existing facilities, where retrofitting may be expensive, the requirement to provide access is less stringent than it is in new construction and alterations, where accessibility can be incorporated in the initial stages of design and construction without a significant increase in cost.

This standard also requires a lesser degree of effort on the part of a public accommodation than the "undue burden" limitation on the auxiliary aids requirements of the ADA. In that sense, it can be characterized as a lower standard. The readily achievable standard is also less demanding than the "undue hardship" standard in title I, which limits the obligation to make reasonable accommodation in employment.

How does a public accommodation determine when barrier removal is readily achievable? Determining if barrier removal is readily achievable is necessarily a case-by-case judgment.

Factors to consider include:

1) The nature and cost of the action;

2) The overall financial resources of the site or sites involved; the number of persons employed at the site; the effect on expenses and resources; legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation, including crime prevention measures; or any other impact of the action on the operation of the site;

3) The geographic separateness, and the administrative or fiscal relationship of the site or sites in question to any parent corporation or entity;

4) If applicable, the overall financial resources of any parent corporation or entity; the overall size of the parent corporation or entity with respect to the number of its employees; the number, type, and location of its facilities; and

5) If applicable, the type of operation or operations of any parent corporation or entity, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce of the parent corporation or entity.

If the public accommodation is a facility that is owned or operated by a parent entity that conducts operations at many different sites, the public accommodation must consider the resources of both the local facility and the parent entity to determine if removal of a particular barrier is "readily achievable. " The administrative and fiscal relationship between the local facility and the parent entity must also be considered in evaluating what resources are available for any particular act of barrier removal.

What barriers will it be "readily achievable" to remove? There is no definitive answer to this question because determinations as to which barriers can be removed without much difficulty or expense must be made on a case-by-case basis.

The Department's regulation contains a list of 21 examples of modifications that may be readily achievable:

1) Installing ramps;

2) Making curb cuts in sidewalks and entrances;

3) Repositioning shelves;

4) Rearranging tables, chairs, vending machines, display racks, and other furniture;5) Repositioning telephones;

6) Adding raised markings on elevator control buttons;

7) Installing flashing alarm lights;

8) Widening doors;

9) Installing offset hinges to widen doorways;

10) Eliminating a turnstile or providing an alternative accessible path;

11) Installing accessible door hardware;

12) Installing grab bars in toilet stalls;

13) Rearranging toilet partitions to increase maneuvering space;

14) Insulating lavatory pipes under sinks to prevent burns;

15) Installing a raised toilet seat;

16) Installing a full-length bathroom mirror;

17) Repositioning the paper towel dispenser in a bathroom;

18) Creating designated accessible parking spaces;

19) Installing an accessible paper cup dispenser at an existing inaccessible water fountain;

20) Removing high pile, low density carpeting; or

21) Installing vehicle hand controls.

Businesses such as restaurants may need to rearrange tables and department stores may need to adjust their layout of racks and shelves in order to permit wheelchair access, but they are not required to do so if it would result in a significant loss of selling or serving space.

The list is intended to be illustrative. Each of these modifications will be readily achievable in many instances, but not in all. Whether or not any of these measures is readily achievable is to be determined on a case-by-case basis in light of the particular circumstances presented and the factors discussed above.

Are public accommodations required to retrofit existing buildings by adding elevators? A public accommodation generally would not be required to remove a barrier to physical access posed by a flight of steps, if removal would require extensive ramping or an elevator. The readily achievable standard does not require barrier removal that requires extensive restructuring or burdensome expense. Thus, where it is not readily achievable to do, the ADA would not require a public accommodation to provide access to an area reachable only by a flight of stairs.

Does a public accommodation have an obligation to search for accessible space? A public accommodation is not required to lease space that is accessible. However, upon leasing, the barrier removal requirements for existing facilities apply. In addition, any alterations to the space must meet the accessibility requirements for alterations.

Does the ADA require barrier removal in historic buildings? Yes, if it is readily achievable. However, the ADA takes into account the national interest in preserving significant historic structures. Barrier removal would not be considered "readily achievable" if it would threaten or destroy the historic significance of a building or facility that is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470, et seq.), or is designated as historic under State or local law.

ILLUSTRATION 1: The installation of a platform lift in an historic facility that is preserved because of its unique place in American architecture, or because it is one of few surviving examples of the architecture of a particular period, would not be readily achievable, if the installation of the lift would threaten or destroy architecturally significant elements of the building.

ILLUSTRATION 2: The installation of a ramp or lift in a facility that has historic significance because of events that have occurred there, rather than because of unique architectural characteristics, may be readily achievable, if it does not threaten or destroy the historic significance of the building and is within appropriate cost constraints.

Does the ADA permit a public accommodation to consider the effect of a modification on the operation of its business? Yes. The ADA permits consideration of factors other than the initial cost of the physical removal of a barrier.

ILLUSTRATION 1: CDE convenience store determines that it would be inexpensive to remove shelves to provide access to wheelchair users throughout the store. However, this change would result in a significant loss of selling space that would have an adverse effect on its business. In this case, the removal of the shelves is not readily achievable and, thus, is not required by the ADA.

ILLUSTRATION 2: BCD Hardware Store provides three parking spaces for its customers. BCD determines that it would be inexpensive to restripe the parking lot to create an accessible space and reserve it for use by persons with disabilities. However, this change would reduce the available parking for individuals who do not have disabilities. The loss of parking (not just the cost of the paint for restriping) can be considered in determining whether the action is readily achievable.

ILLUSTRATION 3: A small car rental office for a national chain is located in a rural community. Title III requires the company to install vehicle hand controls if it is readily achievable to do so. However, this procedure may not be readily achievable in a rural, isolated area, unless the company is provided adequate notice by the customer. What constitutes adequate notice will vary depending on factors such as the remoteness of the location, the availability of trained mechanics, the availability of hand controls, and the size of the fleet. For example, notice of an hour or less may be adequate at a large city site where it is readily achievable to stock hand controls and to have a mechanic always available who is trained to install them properly. On the other hand, notice of two days may be necessary for a small, rural site where it is not readily achievable to keep hand controls in stock and where there is only a part-time mechanic who has been trained in the proper installation of controls.

Does the requirement for readily achievable barrier removal apply to equipment? Yes. Manufacturers are not required by title III to produce accessible equipment. Public accommodations, however, have the obligation, if readily achievable, to take measures, such as altering the height of equipment controls and operating devices, to provide access to goods and services.

ILLUSTRATION: Although manufacturers of washing machines are not obligated under the ADA to produce machines of a particular design, laundromats or resort guest laundry rooms must do what is readily achievable to remove barriers to the use of existing machines.

III−4.4300 Standards to apply. Measures taken to remove barriers should comply with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) contained in the appendix to the Department's rule. Barrier removal in existing facilities does not, however, trigger the accessible path of travel requirement (see III−6.2000). Deviations from ADAAG are acceptable only when full compliance with those requirements is not readily achievable. In such cases, barrier removal measures may be taken that do not fully comply with the standards, so long as the measures do not pose a significant risk to the health or safety of individuals with disabilities or others.

ILLUSTRATION: As a first step toward removing architectural barriers, the owner of a small shop decides to widen the shop's 26-inch wide front door. However, because of space constraints, he is unable to widen the door to the full 32-inch clearance required for alterations under ADAAG. Because full compliance with ADAAG is not readily achievable, the shop owner need not widen the door the full 32 inches but, rather, may widen the door to only 30 inches. The 30-inch door clearance does not pose a significant risk to health or safety.

Are portable ramps permitted? Yes, but only when the installation of a permanent ramp is not readily achievable. In order to promote safety, a portable ramp should have railings and a firm, stable, nonslip surface. It should also be properly secured.

III−4.4400 Continuing obligation. The obligation to engage in readily achievable barrier removal is a continuing one. Over time, barrier removal that initially was not readily achievable may later be required because of changed circumstances.

If the obligation is continuing, are there any limits on what must be done? The obligation is continuing, but not unlimited. The obligation to remove barriers will never exceed the level of access required under the alterations standard (or the new construction standard if ADAAG does not provide specific standards for alterations).

ILLUSTRATION 1: A 100-room hotel is removing barriers in guest accommodations. If the hotel were newly constructed, it would be required to provide five fully accessible rooms (including one with a roll-in shower) and four rooms that are equipped with visual alarms and notification devices and telephones equipped with amplification devices. A hotel that is being altered is required to provide a number of accessible rooms in the area being altered that is proportionate to the number it would be required to provide in new construction.

A hotel that is engaged in barrier removal should meet this alterations standard, if it is readily achievable to do so. It is not required to exceed this level of access. Even if it is readily achievable to make more rooms accessible than would be required under the ADAAG alterations standards, once the hotel provides this level of access, it has no obligation to remove barriers in additional guest rooms.

ILLUSTRATION 2: A grocery store that has more than 5000 square feet of selling space and now has six inaccessible check-out aisles is assessing its obligations under the barrier removal requirement. ADAAG does not contain specific provisions applicable to the alteration of check-out aisles, but, in new construction, two of the six check-out aisles would be required to be accessible. The store is never required to provide more than two accessible check-out aisles, even if it would be readily achievable to do so.

ILLUSTRATION 3: An office building that houses places of public accommodation is removing barriers in common areas. If the building were newly constructed, the building would be required to contain areas of rescue assistance. However, the ADAAG alterations standard explicitly specifies that areas of rescue assistance are not required in buildings that are being altered. Because barrier removal is not required to exceed the alterations standard, the building owner need not establish areas of rescue assistance.

III−4.4500 Priorities for barrier removal. The Department's regulation recommends priorities for removing barriers in existing facilities. Because the resources available for barrier removal may not be adequate to remove all existing barriers at any given time, the regulation suggests a way to determine which barriers should be mitigated or eliminated first. The purpose of these priorities is to facilitate long-term business planning and to maximize the degree of effective access that will result from any given level of expenditure. These priorities are not mandatory. Public accommodations are free to exercise discretion in determining the most effective "mix" of barrier removal measures to undertake in their facilities.

The regulation suggests that a public accommodation's first priority should be to enable individuals with disabilities to physically enter its facility. This priority on "getting through the door" recognizes that providing physical access to a facility from public sidewalks, public transportation, or parking is generally preferable to any alternative arrangements in terms of both business efficiency and the dignity of individuals with disabilities.

The next priority is for measures that provide access to those areas of a place of public accommodation where goods and services are made available to the public. For example, in a hardware store, to the extent that it is readily achievable to do so, individuals with disabilities should be given access not only to assistance at the front desk, but also access, like that available to other customers, to the retail display areas of the store.

The third priority should be providing access to restrooms, if restrooms are provided for use by customers or clients.

The fourth priority is to remove any remaining barriers to using the public accommodation's facility by, for example, lowering telephones.

Must barriers be removed in areas used only by employees? No. The "readily achievable" obligation to remove barriers in existing facilities does not extend to areas of a facility that are used exclusively by employees as work areas.

How can a public accommodation decide what needs to be done? One effective approach is to conduct a "self-evaluation" of the facility to identify existing barriers. The Department's regulation does not require public accommodations to conduct a self-evaluation. However, public accommodations are urged to establish procedures for an ongoing assessment of their compliance with the ADA's barrier removal requirements. This process should include consultation with individuals with disabilities or organizations representing them. A serious effort at self-assessment and consultation can diminish the threat of litigation and save resources by identifying the most efficient means of providing required access.

If a public accommodation determines that its facilities have barriers that should be removed, but it is not readily achievable to undertake all of the modifications now, what should it do? The Department recommends that a public accommodation develop an implementation plan designed to achieve compliance with the ADA's barrier removal requirements. Such a plan, if appropriately designed and diligently executed, could serve as evidence of a good faith effort to comply with the ADA's barrier removal requirements.

In developing an implementation plan for readily achievable barrier removal, a public accommodation should consult with local organizations representing persons with disabilities to solicit their suggestions for cost-effective means of making individual places of public accommodation accessible. These organizations may provide useful guidance to public accommodations in identifying the most significant barriers to remove, and the most efficient means of removing them.

If readily achievable modifications are being made in a single facility that has more than one restroom for each sex, should the public accommodation focus its resources on making one restroom for each sex fully accessible or should the public accommodation make some changes (e.g. , lowering towel dispensers or installing grab bars) in each restroom? This is a decision best made on a case-by-case basis after considering the specific barriers that need to be removed in that facility, and whether it is readily achievable to remove these barriers. It is likely that if it is readily achievable to make one restroom fully accessible, that option would be preferred by the clients or customers of the facility.

III−4.4600 Seating in assembly areas. Public accommodations are required to remove barriers to physical access in assembly areas such as theaters, lecture halls, and conference rooms with fixed seating.

If it is readily achievable to do so, public accommodations that operate places of assembly must locate seating for individuals who use wheelchairs so that it --

1) Is dispersed throughout the seating area;

2) Provides lines of sight and choices of admission prices comparable to those offered to the general public;

3) Adjoins an accessible route for emergency egress; and

4) Permits people who use wheelchairs to sit with their friends or family.

If it is not readily achievable for auditoriums or theaters to remove seats to allow individuals who use wheelchairs to sit next to accompanying family members or friends, the public accommodation may meet its obligation by providing portable chairs or other means to allow the accompanying individuals to sit with the persons who use wheelchairs. Portable chairs or other means must be provided only when it is readily achievable to do so.

How many seating locations for persons who use wheelchairs must be provided? Under the general principles applicable to barrier removal in existing facilities, a public accommodation is never required to provide greater access than it would be required to provide under the alterations provisions of the ADAAG.

Must the seating locations be dispersed? The ADA accessibility standard for alterations requires wheelchair seating to be dispersed (i.e. , provided in more than one location) only in assembly areas with fixed seating for more than 300 people. Because the requirements for making existing facilities accessible never exceed the ADAAG standard for alterations, public accommodations engaged in barrier removal are not required to disperse wheelchair seating in assembly areas with 300 or fewer seats, or in any case where it is technically infeasible.

Must a public accommodation permit a person who uses a wheelchair to leave his or her wheelchair and view the performance or program from a stationary seat? Yes. And in order to facilitate seating of wheelchair users who wish to transfer to existing seating when fixed seating is provided, a public accommodation must provide, to the extent readily achievable, a reasonable number of seats with removable aisle-side armrests. Many persons who use wheelchairs are able to transfer to fixed seating with this relatively minor modification. This solution avoids the potential safety hazard created by the use of portable chairs, and it also fosters integration. In situations when a person who uses a wheelchair transfers to existing seating, the public accommodation may provide assistance in handling the wheelchair of the patron with the disability.

May a public accommodation charge a wheelchair user a higher fee to compensate for the extra space required to accommodate a wheelchair or for storing or retrieving a wheelchair? No. People with disabilities may not be subjected to additional charges related to their use of a wheelchair. In fact, to the extent readily achievable, wheelchair seating should provide a choice of admission prices and lines of sight comparable to those for members of the general public.

III−4.4700 Transportation barriers. Public accommodations that provide transportation to their clients or customers must remove barriers to the extent that it is readily achievable to do so. Public accommodations that provide transportation service must also comply with the applicable portions of the ADA regulation issued by the Department of Transportation (56 Fed. Reg. 45,884 (September 6, 1991) to be codified at 49 CFR Part 37)).

What kinds of transportation systems are covered by the Department of Justice's title III rule? The Department of Justice's rule covers any fixed route or demand responsive transportation system operated by a public accommodation that is not primarily engaged in the business of transporting people. Examples include airport shuttle services operated by hotels, customer bus or van services operated by shopping centers, transportation systems at colleges and universities, and transport systems in places of recreation, such as those at stadiums, zoos, and amusement parks. If a public accommodation is primarily engaged in the business of transporting people, its activities are not covered under the Department of Justice's title III regulation. Rather, its activities are subject to the Department of Transportation's ADA regulation.

What requirements apply to the acquisition of new vehicles? Requirements for the acquisition of new vehicles are found in the Department of Transportation regulation and vary depending on both the capacity of the vehicle and its intended use, as follows:

1) Fixed route system: Vehicle capacity over 16. Any vehicle with a capacity over 16 that is purchased or leased for a fixed route system must be "readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs. "

2) Fixed route system: Vehicle capacity of 16 or less. Vehicles of this description must meet the same "readily accessible and usable" standard described in (1) above, unless they are part of a system that already meets the "equivalent service" standard.

3) Demand responsive system: Vehicle capacity over 16. These vehicles must meet the "readily accessible and usable" standard, unless they are part of a system that already meets the "equivalent service" standard.

4) Demand responsive system: Vehicle capacity of 16 or less. Vehicles of this description are not subject to any requirements for purchase of accessible vehicles. However, "equivalent service" must be provided.

What is "equivalent service"? A system is deemed to provide equivalent service if, when the system is viewed in its entirety, the service provided to individuals with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, is provided in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individual and is equivalent to the service provided other individuals. The Department of Transportation regulation lists eight service characteristics that must be equivalent. These include schedules/response time, fares, and places and times of service availability. Is it necessary to install a lift in an existing vehicle? No. The ADA states that the installation of hydraulic lifts in existing vehicles is not required.

Are employee transportation systems covered? Transportation services provided only to employees of a place of public accommodation are not subject to the Department's title III regulation but are covered by the regulation issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to implement title I of the ADA. However, if employees and customers or clients are served by the same transportation system, the provisions of the title III regulation will also apply.

III−4.5100 General. When a public accommodation can demonstrate that the removal of barriers is not readily achievable, the public accommodation must make its goods and services available through alternative methods, if such methods are readily achievable.

ILLUSTRATION 1: A retail store determines that it is not readily achievable to rearrange display racks to make every aisle accessible. However, the store is still required to make the goods and services that are located along inaccessible aisles available to individuals with disabilities through alternative methods. For example, the store could instruct a clerk to retrieve inaccessible merchandise, if it is readily achievable to do so.

ILLUSTRATION 2: A pharmacy that is located in a building that can be entered only by means of a long flight of stairs determines that it is not readily achievable to provide a ramp to that entrance; therefore, it is not required to provide access to its facility. However, the pharmacy is still required to provide access to its services, if any readily achievable alternative method of delivery is available. Therefore, the pharmacy must consider options, such as delivering goods to customers at curbside or at their homes.

ILLUSTRATION 3: A self-service gas station determines that it is not readily achievable to redesign gas pumps to enable people with disabilities to use them; therefore, the gas station is not required to make physical modifications to the gas pumps. However, the gas station is required to provide its services to individuals with disabilities through any readily achievable alternative method, such as providing refueling service upon request to an individual with a disability.

ILLUSTRATION 4: A restaurant determines that it is not readily achievable to remove physical barriers to access in a specific area of the restaurant. The restaurant must offer the same menu in an accessible area of the restaurant, unless it would not be readily achievable to do so.

ILLUSTRATION 5: A laundromat, if it is readily achievable to do so, must modify controls on existing washing machines to be within an accessible reach range. If modification is not readily achievable, then assistive devices or services must be provided, such as a wand, mechanical grabber, or assistance from an on-duty laundromat attendant, if it is readily achievable to do so.

ILLUSTRATION 6: A medical center that operates inaccessible mobile health care screening vans must consider readily achievable alternative methods of providing access to the van's services. Possible alternatives include providing equivalent services at an accessible site in the medical center, using the van to deliver services to persons with disabilities in their own homes, or transporting people with disabilities from their homes or the van site to an accessible facility where they can receive equivalent services.

How can a public accommodation determine if an alternative to barrier removal is readily achievable? The factors to consider in determining if an alternative is readily achievable are the same as those that are considered in determining if barrier removal is readily achievable (see III−4.4200).

If a public accommodation provides its services through alternative measures, such as home delivery, may it charge its customers for this special service? No. When goods or services are provided to an individual with a disability through alternative methods because the public accommodation's facility is inaccessible, the public accommodation may not place a surcharge on the individual with a disability for the costs associated with the alternative method.

ILLUSTRATION 1: A gas station that chooses to provide refueling service to individuals with disabilities at a self-service island, rather than removing the barriers that preclude that individual from refueling his or her own vehicle, must provide the refueling service at the self-service price.

ILLUSTRATION 2: An inaccessible pharmacy that provides home delivery to individuals with disabilities, rather than removing the barriers that prevent those individuals from being served in the pharmacy, must provide the home delivery at no charge to the customer. However, a pharmacy that normally offers home delivery as an option to its customers and charges a fee for that service, may continue to charge a delivery fee to customers with disabilities, if the pharmacy provides at least one "no-cost" alternative, such as delivering its products to a customer at curbside.

May a public accommodation consider security issues when it is determining if an alternative is readily achievable? Yes. Security is a factor that may be considered when a public accommodation is determining if an alternative method of delivering its goods or services is readily achievable.

ILLUSTRATION 1: A service station is not required to provide refueling service to individuals with disabilities at any time when it is operating exclusively on a remote control basis with a single cashier.

ILLUSTRATION 2: A cashier working in a security booth in a convenience store when there are no other employees on duty is not required to leave his or her post to retrieve items for individuals with disabilities.

III−4.5200 Multiscreen cinemas. The Department's regulation expressly recognizes that it may not be readily achievable to remove enough barriers to provide access to all of the theaters in a multiscreen cinema. In this situation, a cinema must make its services available by establishing a film rotation schedule that provides reasonable access for individuals who use wheelchairs to films being presented by the cinema. Public notice must be provided as to the location and time of accessible showings. Methods for providing notice include appropriate use of the international accessibility symbol in a cinema's print advertising and the addition of accessibility information to a cinema's recorded telephone information line.

III−4.6000 Examinations and courses. Any private entity that offers examinations or courses related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary or postsecondary education, professional, or trade purposes must offer such examinations or courses in a place and manner accessible to persons with disabilities, or offer alternative accessible arrangements for such individuals.

III−4.6100 Examinations. Examinations covered by this section include examinations for admission to secondary schools, college entrance examinations, examinations for admission to trade or professional schools, and licensing examinations such as bar exams, examinations for medical licenses, or examinations for certified public accountants.

A private entity offering an examination covered by this section is responsible for selecting and administering the examination in a place and manner that ensures that the examination accurately reflects an individual's aptitude or achievement level or other factor the examination purports to measure, rather than reflecting the individual's impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (except where those skills are the factors that the examination purports to measure).

Where necessary, an examiner may be required to provide auxiliary aids or services, unless it can demonstrate that offering a particular auxiliary aid or service would fundamentally alter the examination or result in an undue burden. For individuals with hearing impairments, for example, oral instructions or other aurally delivered materials could be provided through an interpreter, assistive listening device, or other effective method. For individuals with visual impairments, providing examinations and answer sheets on audio tape, in large print or Braille, or providing qualified readers or transcribers to record answers, may be appropriate. Also, some individuals with learning disabilities may need auxiliary aids or services, such as readers, because of problems in perceiving and processing written information. See III−4.3000 for a general discussion of auxiliary aids and services.

In order to ensure that the examination accurately measures the factors that it purports to measure, the entity administering the examination must ensure that the auxiliary aid or service provided is effective.

ILLUSTRATION 1: MNO Testing Service provides a reader for an applicant who is blind who is taking a bar examination, but the reader is unfamiliar with specific terminology used in the examination, mispronounces words, and, because he or she does not understand the questions, is unable to convey the information in the questions or to follow the applicant's instructions effectively. Because of the difficulty in communicating with the reader, the applicant is unable to complete the examination. MNO is not in compliance with the ADA, because the results of the examination will reflect the reader's lack of skill and familiarity with the material, rather than the applicant's knowledge.

ILLUSTRATION 2: ABC Testing Service administers written examinations designed to test specific skills or areas of knowledge. An individual with a vision impairment or learning disability that limits the ability to read written material may be unable to pass such an examination because of limited reading ability, regardless of his or her knowledge or ability in the area that the test is designed to measure. ABC must administer the test in a manner that enables the applicant to demonstrate his or her skill or knowledge, rather than the ability to read.

BUT: If the test is designed to measure the ability to read written material, it may be administered in written form because the result will accurately reflect the individual's reading ability.

Aside from auxiliary aids or services, what other types of modifications may be required? In order to ensure that an examination provides an accurate measurement of the applicant's aptitude or achievement level, or whatever other factor it purports to measure, the entity administering the examination may also be required to modify the manner in which it is administered.

ILLUSTRATION: X has a manual impairment that makes writing difficult. It may be necessary to provide X with more time to complete the exam and/or permit typing of answers.

What obligations does an examiner have if its facilities are inaccessible? Examinations must be administered in facilities that are accessible to individuals with disabilities or alternative accessible arrangements must be made. If the facility in which the examination is offered is not accessible, it may be administered to an individual with a disability in a different room or other location. For instance, the entity might provide the examination at an individual's home with a proctor. The alternative location must, however, provide comparable conditions to the conditions in which the test is administered to others.

ILLUSTRATION: A nurse licensing examination is administered in a warm, well-lit, second-floor classroom that is not accessible to an individual who uses a wheelchair. The Nursing Board may allow that individual to take it in a classroom or office on the first floor that is accessible, but must ensure that the accessible room is also well-lit and has adequate heat.

Must all testing locations be accessible and offer specially designed exams? No, but if an examination for individuals with disabilities is administered in an alternative accessible location, or in a manner specially designed for individuals with disabilities, it must be offered as often and in as timely a manner as other examinations. Examinations must be offered to individuals with disabilities at locations that are as convenient as the location of other examinations.

ILLUSTRATION: A college entrance examination is offered by LMN Testing Service in several cities in a State, but only one location has either an accessible facility or an alternative accessible facility. X, an individual who uses a wheelchair, lives near an inaccessible test location at which no alternative accessible facility is provided. The nearest test location with an accessible facility is 500 miles away. LMN has violated the ADA, because X is required to travel a longer distance to take the examination than other people who can take the examination in the city that is most convenient for them.

Can individuals with disabilities be required to file their applications to take an examination earlier than the deadline for other applicants? No. This would violate the requirement that examinations designed for individuals with disabilities be offered in as timely a manner as other examinations. Entities that administer tests may require individuals with disabilities to provide advance notice of their disabilities and of any modifications or aids that would be required, provided that the deadline for such notice is no earlier than the deadline for others applying to take the examination.

May an examiner require that an applicant provide documentation of the existence and nature of the disability as evidence that he or she is entitled to modifications or aids? Yes, but requests for documentation must be reasonable and must be limited to the need for the modification or aid requested. Appropriate documentation might include a letter from a physician or other professional, or evidence of a prior diagnosis or accommodation, such as eligibility for a special education program. The applicant may be required to bear the cost of providing such documentation, but the entity administering the examination cannot charge the applicant for the cost of any modifications or auxiliary aids, such as interpreters, provided for the examination.

ILLUSTRATION: A testing service may be required to provide individuals with dyslexia with more time to complete an examination. An individual who requests additional time may, however, be required to notify the testing service of the request at the time he or she applies to take the examination, and to furnish appropriate documentation to establish that the additional time is needed because of a disability.

Can an entity refuse to provide modifications or aids for applicants with disabilities on the grounds that those individuals, because of their disabilities, would be unable to meet other requirements of the profession or occupation for which the examination is given? No. When an examination is one step in qualifying for a license, an individual may not be barred from taking the examination merely because he or she might be unable to meet other requirements for the license. If the examination is not the first stage of the qualification process, an applicant may be required to complete the earlier stages prior to being admitted to the examination. On the other hand, the applicant may not be denied admission to the examination on the basis of doubts about his or her abilities to meet requirements that the examination is not designed to test.

ILLUSTRATION: An individual with a disability may not be required to demonstrate that he or she is capable of practicing medicine in order to be provided with an auxiliary aid in taking a test for admission to medical school.

BUT: An individual may be required to complete medical school before being admitted to a licensing examination for medical school graduates.

III−4.6200 Courses. The requirements for courses under this section are generally the same as those for examinations. Any course covered by this section must be modified to ensure that the place and manner in which the course is given are accessible. Examples of possible modifications that might be required include extending the time permitted for completion of the course, providing auxiliary aids or services (except where to do so would fundamentally alter the course or result in an undue burden), or offering the course in an accessible location or making alternative accessible arrangements.

ILLUSTRATION: If the course is offered in an inaccessible location, alternative accessible arrangements may include provision of the course through videotape, cassettes, or prepared notes.

Alternative arrangements for courses, like those for examinations, must provide comparable conditions to those provided to others, including similar lighting, room temperature, and the like. The entity offering the course must ensure that the course materials that it provides are available in alternate formats that individuals with disabilities can use.

ILLUSTRATION: Class handouts may be provided in Braille or on audio cassettes for individuals with visual impairments.

BUT: If the course uses published materials that are available from other sources, the entity offering the course is not responsible for providing them in alternate formats. It should, however, inform students in advance what materials will be used so that an individual with a disability can obtain them in a usable format, such as Braille or audio tape, before the class begins. An entity offering a variety of courses covered by this section may not limit the selection or choice of courses available to individuals with disabilities. Courses offered to fulfill a continuing education requirement for a profession, for example, are covered by the requirement that they be offered in an accessible place and manner, and an entity that offers such courses may not designate particular courses for individuals with disabilities and refuse to make other courses accessible.


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