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                    Americans with Disabilities Act
                         Questions and Answers


Barriers to employment, transportation, public accommodations, public
services, and telecommunications have imposed staggering economic and
social costs on American society and have undermined our
well-intentioned efforts to educate, rehabilitate, and employ
individuals with disabilities.  By breaking down these barriers, the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will enable society to benefit
from the skills and talents of individuals with disabilities, will allow
us all to gain from their increased purchasing power and ability to use
it, and will lead to fuller, more productive lives for all Americans.

The Americans with Disabilities Act gives civil rights protections to
individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals
on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It
guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public
accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government
services, and telecommunications.

Fair, swift, and effective enforcement of this landmark civil rights
legislation is a high priority of the Federal Government.  This booklet
is designed to provide answers to some of the most often asked questions
about the ADA.

For answers to additional questions, call the ADA Information Line

800-514-0301 (voice) 800-514-0383 (TDD)

Additional ADA resources are listed in the Resources section of this
document, page 30.

July 1996

Employment

Q.   What employers are covered by title I of the ADA, and when is the
     coverage effective?

A.   The title I employment provisions apply to private employers, State
     and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions.
     Employers with 25 or more employees were covered as of July 26,
     1992.  Employers with 15 or more employees were covered two years
     later, beginning July 26, 1994.

Q.   What practices and activities are covered by the employment
     nondiscrimination requirements?

A.   The ADA prohibits discrimination in all employment practices,
     including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement,
     compensation, training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges
     of employment.  It applies to recruitment, advertising, tenure,
     layoff, leave, fringe benefits, and all other employment-related
     activities.

Q.   Who is protected from employment discrimination?

A.   Employment discrimination is prohibited against qualified
     individuals with disabilities.  This includes applicants for
     employment and employees.  An individual is considered to have a
     disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment that
     substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a
     record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an
     impairment.  Persons discriminated against because they have a
     known association or relationship with an individual with a
     disability also are protected.

     The first part of the definition makes clear that the ADA applies
     to persons who have impairments and that these must substantially
     limit major life activities such as seeing, hearing, speaking,
     walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for
     oneself, and working.  An individual with epilepsy, paralysis, HIV
     infection, AIDS, a substantial hearing or visual impairment, mental
     retardation, or a specific learning disability is covered, but an
     individual with a minor, nonchronic condition of short duration,
     such as a sprain, broken limb, or the flu, generally would not be
     covered.

     The second part of the definition protecting individuals with a
     record of a disability would cover, for example, a person who has
     recovered from cancer or mental illness.

     The third part of the definition protects individuals who are
     regarded as having a substantially limiting impairment, even though
     they may not have such an impairment.  For example, this provision
     would protect a qualified individual with a severe facial
     disfigurement from being denied employment because an employer
     feared the negative reactions of customers or co-workers.

Q.   Who is a qualified individual with a disability?

A.   A qualified individual with a disability is a person who meets
     legitimate skill, experience, education, or other requirements of
     an employment position that s/he holds or seeks, and who can
     perform the essential functions of the position with or without
     reasonable accommodation.  Requiring the ability to perform
     essential functions assures that an individual with a disability
     will not be considered unqualified simply because of inability to
     perform marginal or incidental job functions.  If the individual is
     qualified to perform essential job functions except for limitations
     caused by a disability, the employer must consider whether the
     individual could perform these functions with a reasonable
     accommodation.  If a written job description has been prepared in
     advance of advertising or interviewing applicants for a job, this
     will be considered as evidence, although not conclusive evidence,
     of the essential functions of the job.

Q.   Does an employer have to give preference to a qualified applicant
     with a disability over other applicants?

A.   No.  An employer is free to select the most qualified applicant
     available and to make decisions based on reasons unrelated to a
     disability.  For example, suppose two persons apply for a job as a
     typist and an essential function of the job is to type 75 words per
     minute accurately.   One applicant, an individual with a
     disability, who is provided with a reasonable accommodation for a
     typing test, types 50 words per minute; the other applicant who has
     no disability accurately types 75 words per minute.  The employer
     can hire the applicant with the higher typing speed, if typing
     speed is needed for successful performance of the job.

Q.   What limitations does the ADA impose on medical examinations and
     inquiries about disability?

A.   An employer may not ask or require a job applicant to take a
     medical examination before making a job offer.  It cannot make any
     pre-employment inquiry about a disability or the nature or severity
     of a disability.  An employer may, however, ask questions about the
     ability to perform specific job functions and may, with certain
     limitations, ask an individual with a disability to describe or
     demonstrate how s/he would perform these functions.

     An employer may condition a job offer on the satisfactory result of
     a post-offer medical examination or medical inquiry if this is
     required of all entering employees in the same job category.  A
     post-offer examination or inquiry does not have to be job-related
     and consistent with business necessity.

     However, if an individual is not hired because a post-offer medical
     examination or inquiry reveals a disability, the reason(s) for not
     hiring must be job-related and consistent with business necessity.
     The employer also must show that no reasonable accommodation was
     available that would enable the individual to perform the essential
     job functions, or that accommodation would impose an undue
     hardship.  A post-offer medical examination may disqualify an
     individual if the employer can demonstrate that the individual
     would pose a direct threat in the workplace (i.e., a significant
     risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual
     or others) that cannot be eliminated or reduced below the direct
     threat level through reasonable accommodation.  Such a
     disqualification is job-related and consistent with business
     necessity.  A post-offer medical examination may not disqualify an
     individual with a disability who is currently able to perform
     essential job functions because of speculation that the disability
     may cause a risk of future injury.

     After a person starts work, a medical examination or inquiry of an
     employee must be job-related and consistent with business
     necessity. Employers may conduct employee medical examinations
     where there is evidence of a job performance or safety problem,
     examinations required by other Federal laws, examinations to
     determine current fitness to perform a particular job, and
     voluntary examinations that are part of employee health programs.

     Information from all medical examinations and inquiries must be
     kept apart from general personnel files as a separate, confidential
     medical record, available only under limited conditions.

     Tests for illegal use of drugs are not medical examinations under
     the ADA and are not subject to the restrictions of such
     examinations.

Q.   When can an employer ask an applicant to self-identify as having a
     disability?

A.   Federal contractors and subcontractors who are covered by the
     affirmative action requirements of section 503 of the
     Rehabilitation Act of 1973 may invite individuals with disabilities
     to identify themselves on a job application form or by other
     pre-employment inquiry, to satisfy the section 503 affirmative
     action requirements.  Employers who request such information must
     observe section 503 requirements regarding the manner in which such
     information is requested and used, and the procedures for
     maintaining such information as a separate, confidential record,
     apart from regular personnel records.

     A pre-employment inquiry about a disability is allowed if required
     by another Federal law or regulation such as those applicable to
     disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era.  Pre-employment
     inquiries about disabilities may be necessary under such laws to
     identify applicants or clients with disabilities in order to
     provide them with required special services.

Q.   Does the ADA require employers to develop written job descriptions?

A.   No.  The ADA does not require employers to develop or maintain job
     descriptions.  However, a written job description that is prepared
     before advertising or interviewing applicants for a job will be
     considered as evidence along with other relevant factors.  If an
     employer uses job descriptions, they should be reviewed to make
     sure they accurately reflect the actual functions of a job.  A job
     description will be most helpful if it focuses on the results or
     outcome of a job function, not solely on the way it customarily is
     performed.  A reasonable accommodation may enable a person with a
     disability to accomplish a job function in a manner that is
     different from the way an employee who is not disabled may
     accomplish the same function.

Q.   What is reasonable accommodation?

A.   Reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job
     or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or
     employee with a disability to participate in the application
     process or to perform essential job functions.  Reasonable
     accommodation also includes adjustments to assure that a qualified
     individual with a disability has rights and privileges in
     employment equal to those of employees without disabilities.

Q.   What are some of the accommodations applicants and employees may
     need?

A.   Examples of reasonable accommodation include making existing
     facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by an
     individual with a disability; restructuring a job; modifying work
     schedules; acquiring or modifying equipment; providing qualified
     readers or interpreters; or appropriately modifying examinations,
     training, or other programs.  Reasonable accommodation also may
     include reassigning a current employee to a vacant position for
     which the individual is qualified, if the person is unable to do
     the original job because of a disability even with an
     accommodation.  However, there is no obligation to find a position
     for an applicant who is not qualified for the position sought.
     Employers are not required to lower quality or quantity standards
     as an accommodation; nor are they obligated to provide personal use
     items such as glasses or hearing aids.

     The decision as to the appropriate accommodation must be based on
     the particular facts of each case.  In selecting the particular
     type of reasonable accommodation to provide, the principal test is
     that effectiveness, i.e., whether the accommodation will provide an
     opportunity for a person with a disability to achieve the same
     level of performance and to enjoy benefits equal to those of an
     average, similarly situated person without a disability.  However,
     the accommodation does not have to ensure equal results or provide
     exactly the same benefits.

Q.   When is an employer required to make a reasonable accommodation?

A.   An employer is only required to accommodate a known disability of a
     qualified applicant or employee.  The requirement generally will be
     triggered by a request from an individual with a disability, who
     frequently will be able to suggest an appropriate accommodation.
     Accommodations must be made on an individual basis, because the
     nature and extent of a disabling condition and the requirements of
     a job will vary in each case.  If the individual does not request
     an accommodation, the employer is not obligated to provide one
     except where an individual's known disability impairs his/her
     ability to know of, or effectively communicate a need for, an
     accommodation that is obvious to the employer.  If a person with a
     disability requests, but cannot suggest, an appropriate
     accommodation, the employer and the individual should work together
     to identify one.  There are also many public and private resources
     that can provide assistance without cost.

Q.   What are the limitations on the obligation to make a reasonable
     accommodation?

A.   The individual with a disability requiring the accommodation must
     be otherwise qualified, and the disability must be known to the
     employer. In addition, an employer is not required to make an
     accommodation if it would impose an undue hardship on the operation
     of the employers business.  Undue hardship is defined as an action
     requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in
     light of a number of factors. These factors include the nature and
     cost of the accommodation in relation to the size, resources,
     nature, and structure of the employer's operation.  Undue hardship
     is determined on a case-by-case basis.  Where the facility making
     the accommodation is part of a larger entity, the structure and
     overall resources of the larger organization would be considered,
     as well as the financial and administrative relationship of the
     facility to the larger organization.  In general, a larger employer
     with greater resources would be expected to make accommodations
     requiring greater effort or expense than would be required of a
     smaller employer with fewer resources.

     If a particular accommodation would be an undue hardship, the
     employer must try to identify another accommodation that will not
     pose such a hardship.  Also, if the cost of an accommodation would
     impose an undue hardship on the employer, the individual with a
     disability should be given the option of paying that portion of the
     cost which would constitute an undue hardship or providing the
     accommodation.

Q.   Must an employer modify existing facilities to make them
     accessible?

A.   The employer's obligation under title I is to provide access for an
     individual applicant to participate in the job application process,
     and for an individual employee with a disability to perform the
     essential functions of his/her job, including access to a building,
     to the work site, to needed equipment, and to all facilities used
     by employees.  For example, if an employee lounge is located in a
     place inaccessible to an employee using a wheelchair, the lounge
     might be modified or relocated, or comparable facilities might be
     provided in a location that would enable the individual to take a
     break with co-workers.  The employer must provide such access
     unless it would cause an undue hardship.

     Under title I, an employer s not required to make its existing
     facilities accessible until a particular applicant or employee with
     a particular disability needs an accommodation, and then the
     modifications should meet that individual's work needs.  However,
     employers should consider initiating changes that will provide
     general accessibility, particularly for job applicants, since it is
     likely that people with disabilities will be applying for jobs.
     The employer does not have to make changes to provide access in
     places or facilities that will not be used by that individual for
     employment-related activities or benefits.

Q.   Can an employer be required to reallocate an essential function of
     a job to another employee as a reasonable accommodation?

A.   No.  An employer is not required to reallocate essential functions
     of a job as a reasonable accommodation.

Q.   Can an employer be required to modify, adjust, or make other
     reasonable accommodations in the way a test is given to a qualified
     applicant or employee with a disability?

A.   Yes.  Accommodations may be needed to assure that tests or
     examinations measure the actual ability of an individual to perform
     job functions rather than reflect limitations caused by the
     disability. Tests should be given to people who have sensory,
     speaking, or manual impairments in a format that does not require
     the use of the impaired skill, unless it is a job-related skill
     that the test is designed to measure.

Q.   Can an employer maintain existing production/performance standards
     for an employee with a disability?

A.   An employer can hold employees with disabilities to the same
     standards of production/performance as other similarly situated
     employees without disabilities for performing essential job
     functions, with or without reasonable accommodation.  An employer
     also can hold employees with disabilities to the same standards of
     production/performance as other employees regarding marginal
     functions unless the disability affects the person's ability to
     perform those marginal functions.  If the ability to perform
     marginal functions is affected by the disability, the employer must
     provide some type of reasonable accommodation such as job
     restructuring but may not exclude an individual with a disability
     who is satisfactorily performing a job's essential functions.

Q.   Can an employer establish specific attendance and leave policies?

A.   An employer can establish attendance and leave policies that are
     uniformly applied to all employees, regardless of disability, but
     may not refuse leave needed by an employee with a disability if
     other employees get such leave.  An employer also may be required
     to make adjustments in leave policy as a reasonable accommodation.
     The employer is not obligated to provide additional paid leave, but
     accommodations may include leave flexibility and unpaid leave.

     A uniformly applied leave policy does not violate the ADA because
     it has a more severe effect on an individual because of his/her
     disability.  However, if an individual with a disability requests a
     modification of such a policy as a reasonable accommodation, an
     employer may be required to provide it, unless it would impose an
     undue hardship.

Q.   Can an employer consider health and safety when deciding whether to
     hire an applicant or retain an employee with a disability?

A.   Yes.  The ADA permits employers to establish qualification
     standards that will exclude individuals who pose a direct threat 
     i.e., a significant risk of substantial harm  to the health or
     safety of the individual or of others, if that risk cannot be
     eliminated or reduced below the level of a direct threat by
     reasonable accommodation. However, an employer may not simply
     assume that a threat exists; the employer must establish through
     objective, medically supportable methods that there is significant
     risk that substantial harm could occur in the workplace.  By
     requiring employers to make individualized judgments based on
     reliable medical or other objective evidence rather than on
     generalizations, ignorance, fear, patronizing attitudes, or
     stereotypes, the ADA recognizes the need to balance the interests
     of people with disabilities against the legitimate interests of
     employers in maintaining a safe workplace.

Q.   Are applicants or employees who are currently illegally using drugs
     covered by the ADA?

A.   No.  Individuals who currently engage in the illegal use of drugs
     are specifically excluded from the definition of a qualified
     individual with a disability protected by the ADA when the employer
     takes action on the basis of their drug use.

Q.   Is testing for the illegal use of drugs permissible under the ADA?

A.   Yes.  A test for the illegal use of drugs is not considered a
     medical examination under the ADA; therefore, employers may conduct
     such testing of applicants or employees and make employment
     decisions based on the results.  The ADA does not encourage,
     prohibit, or authorize drug tests.

     If the results of a drug test reveal the presence of a lawfully
     prescribed drug or other medical information, such information must
     be treated as a confidential medical record.

Q.   Are alcoholics covered by the ADA?

A.   Yes.  While a current illegal user of drugs is not protected by the
     ADA if an employer acts on the basis of such use, a person who
     currently uses alcohol is not automatically denied protection.  An
     alcoholic is a person with a disability and is protected by the ADA
     if s/he is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job.
     An employer may be required to provide an accommodation to an
     alcoholic.  However, an employer can discipline, discharge or deny
     employment to an alcoholic whose use of alcohol adversely affects
     job performance or conduct.  An employer also may prohibit the use
     of alcohol in the workplace and can require that employees not be
     under the influence of alcohol.

Q.   Does the ADA override Federal and State health and safety laws?

A.   The ADA does not override health and safety requirements
     established under other Federal laws even if a standard adversely
     affects the employment of an individual with a disability.  If a
     standard is required by another Federal law, an employer must
     comply with it and does not have to show that the standard is job
     related and consistent with business necessity.  For example,
     employers must conform to health and safety requirements of the
     U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  However, an
     employer still has the obligation under the ADA to consider whether
     there is a reasonable accommodation, consistent with the standards
     of other Federal laws, that will prevent exclusion of qualified
     individuals with disabilities who can perform jobs without
     violating the standards of those laws.  If an employer can comply
     with both the ADA and another Federal law, then the employer must
     do so.

     The ADA does not override State or local laws designed to protect
     public health and safety, except where such laws conflict with the
     ADA requirements.  If there is a State or local law that would
     exclude an individual with a disability from a particular job or
     profession because of a health or safety risk, the employer still
     must assess whether a particular individual would pose a direct
     threat to health or safety under the ADA standard.  If such a
     direct threat exists, the employer must consider whether it could
     be eliminated or reduced below the level of a direct threat by
     reasonable accommodation.  An employer cannot rely on a State or
     local law that conflicts with ADA requirements as a defense to a
     charge of discrimination.

Q.   How does the ADA affect workers compensation programs?

A.   Only injured workers who meet the ADA's definition of an individual
     with a disability will be considered disabled under the ADA,
     regardless of whether they satisfy criteria for receiving benefits
     under workers compensation or other disability laws.  A worker also
     must be qualified (with or without reasonable accommodation) to be
     protected by the ADA. Work-related injuries do not always cause
     physical or mental impairments severe enough to substantially limit
     a major life activity.  Also, many on-the-job injuries cause
     temporary impairments which heal within a short period of time with
     little or no long-term or permanent impact. Therefore, many injured
     workers who qualify for benefits under workers compensation or
     other disability benefits laws may not be protected by the ADA.  An
     employer must consider work-related injuries on a case-by-case
     basis to know if a worker is protected by the ADA.

     An employer may not inquire into an applicant's workers
     compensation history before making a conditional offer of
     employment.  After making a conditional job offer, an employer may
     inquire about a person's workers compensation history in a medical
     inquiry or examination that is required of all applicants in the
     same job category.  However, even after a conditional offer has
     been made, an employer cannot require a potential employee to have
     a medical examination because a response to a medical inquiry (as
     opposed to results from a medical examination) shows a previous
     on-the-job injury unless all applicants in the same job category
     are required to have an examination.  Also, an employer may not
     base an employment decision on the speculation that an applicant
     may cause increased workers compensation costs in the future.
     However, an employer may refuse to hire, or may discharge an
     individual who is not currently able to perform a job without
     posing a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or
     safety of the individual or others, if the risk cannot be
     eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.

     An employer may refuse to hire or may fire a person who knowingly
     provides a false answer to a lawful post-offer inquiry about
     his/her condition or workers compensation history.

     An employer also may submit medical information and records
     concerning employees and applicants (obtained after a conditional
     job offer) to state workers compensation offices and second injury
     funds without violating ADA confidentiality requirements.

Q.   What is discrimination based on relationship or association under
     the ADA?

A.   The ADA prohibits discrimination based on relationship or
     association in order to protect individuals from actions based on
     unfounded assumptions that their relationship to a person with a
     disability would affect their job performance, and from actions
     caused by bias or misinformation concerning certain disabilities.
     For example, this provision would protect a person whose spouse has
     a disability from being denied employment because of an employers
     unfounded assumption that the applicant would use excessive leave
     to care for the spouse.  It also would protect an individual who
     does volunteer work for people with AIDS from a discriminatory
     employment action motivated by that relationship or association.

Q.   How are the employment provisions enforced?

A.   The employment provisions of the ADA are enforced under the same
     procedures now applicable to race, color, sex, national origin, and
     religious discrimination under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
     196, as amended, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.  Complaints
     regarding actions that occurred on or after July 26, 1992, may be
     filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or
     designated State human rights agencies.  Available remedies will
     include hiring, reinstatement, promotion, back pay, front pay,
     restored benefits, reasonable accommodation, attorneys fees, expert
     witness fees, and court costs. Compensatory and punitive damages
     also may be available in cases of intentional discrimination or
     where an employer fails to make a good faith effort to provide a
     reasonable accommodation.

Q.   What financial assistance is available to employers to help them
     make reasonable accommodations and comply with the ADA?

A.   A special tax credit is available to help smaller employers make
     accommodations required by the ADA.  An eligible small business may
     take a tax credit of up to $5,000 per year for accommodations made
     to comply with the ADA.  The credit is available for one-half the
     cost of eligible access expenditures that are more than $250 but
     less than $10,250.

     A full tax deduction, up to $15,000 per year, also is available to
     any business for expenses of removing qualified architectural or
     transportation barriers.  Expenses covered include costs of
     removing barriers created by steps, narrow doors, inaccessible
     parking spaces, restroom facilities, and transportation vehicles.
     Information about the tax credit and the tax deduction can be
     obtained from a local IRS office, or by contacting the Office of
     Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service.

     Tax credits are available under the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit
     Program (TJTCP) for employers who hire individuals with
     disabilities referred by State or local vocational rehabilitation
     agencies, State Commissions on the Blind, or the U.S. Department of
     Veterans Affairs, and certified by a State Employment Service.
     Under the TJTCP, a tax credit may be taken for up to 40 percent of
     the first $6,000 of first-year wages of a new employee with a
     disability.  This program must be reauthorized each year by
     Congress.  Further information about the TJTCP can be obtained from
     the State Employment Services or from State Governors Committees on
     the Employment of People with Disabilities.

Q.   What are an employers recordkeeping requirements under the
     employment provisions of the ADA?

A.   An employer must maintain records such as application forms
     submitted by applicants and other records related to hiring,
     requests for reasonable accommodation, promotion, demotion,
     transfer, lay-off or termination, rates of pay or other terms of
     compensation, and selection for training or apprenticeship for one
     year after making the record or taking the action described
     (whichever occurs later).  If a charge of discrimination is filed
     or an action is brought by EEOC, an employer must save all
     personnel records related to the charge until final disposition of
     the charge.

Q.   Does the ADA require that an employer post a notice explaining its
     requirements?

A.   The ADA requires that employers post a notice describing the
     provisions of the ADA.  It must be made accessible, as needed, to
     individuals with disabilities.  A poster is available from EEOC
     summarizing the requirements of the ADA and other Federal legal
     requirements for nondiscrimination for which EEOC has enforcement
     responsibility.  EEOC also provides guidance on making this
     information available in accessible formats for people with
     disabilities.

Q.   What resources does the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
     have available to help employers and people with disabilities
     understand and comply with the employment requirements of the ADA?

A.   The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has developed several
     resources to help employers and people with disabilities understand
     and comply with the employment provisions of the ADA.

Resources include:

A Technical Assistance Manual that provides how-to guidance on the
employment provisions of the ADA as well as a resource directory to help
individuals find specific information.

A variety of brochures, booklets, and fact sheets.

For information on how to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, see page 30.


State and Local Governments

Q.   Does the ADA apply to State and local governments?

A.   Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified
     individuals with disabilities in all programs, activities, and
     services of public entities.  It applies to all State and local
     governments, their departments and agencies, and any other
     instrumentalities or special purpose districts of State or local
     governments.  It clarifies the requirements of section 504 of the
     Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for public transportation systems that
     receive Federal financial assistance, and extends coverage to all
     public entities that provide public transportation, whether or not
     they receive Federal financial assistance.  It establishes detailed
     standards for the operation of public transit systems, including
     commuter and intercity rail (AMTRAK).

Q.   When do the requirements for State and local governments become
     effective?

A.   In general, they became effective on January 26, 1992.

Q.   How does title II affect participation in a State or local
     government's programs, activities, and services?

A.   A state or local government must eliminate any eligibility criteria
     for participation in programs, activities, and services that screen
     out or tend to screen out persons with disabilities, unless it can
     establish that the requirements are necessary for the provision of
     the service, program, or activity.  The State or local government
     may, however, adopt legitimate safety requirements necessary for
     safe operation if they are based on real risks, not on stereotypes
     or generalizations about individuals with disabilities.  Finally, a
     public entity must reasonably modify its policies, practices, or
     procedures to avoid discrimination. If the public entity can
     demonstrate that a particular modification would fundamentally
     alter the nature of its service, program, or activity, it is not
     required to make that modification.

Q.   Does title II cover a public entity's employment policies and
     practices?

A.   Yes.  Title II prohibits all public entities, regardless of the
     size of their work force, from discriminating in employment against
     qualified individuals with disabilities.  In addition to title IIs
     employment coverage, title I of the ADA and section 504 of the
     Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit employment discrimination
     against qualified individuals with disabilities by certain public
     entities

Q.   What changes must a public entity make to its existing facilities
     to make them accessible?

A.   A public entity must ensure that individuals with disabilities are
     not excluded from services, programs, and activities because
     existing buildings are inaccessible.  A State or local government's
     programs, when viewed in their entirety, must be readily accessible
     to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  This standard,
     known as program accessibility, applies to facilities of a public
     entity that existed on January 26, 1992.  Public entities do not
     necessarily have to make each of their existing facilities
     accessible.  They may provide program accessibility by a number of
     methods including alteration of existing facilities, acquisition or
     construction of additional facilities, relocation of a service or
     program to an accessible facility, or provision of services at
     alternate accessible sites.

Q.   When must structural changes be made to attain program
     accessibility?

A.   Structural changes needed for program accessibility must be made as
     expeditiously as possible, but no later than January 26, 1995.
     This three-year time period is not a grace period; all alterations
     must be accomplished as expeditiously as possible.  A public entity
     that employs 50 or more persons must have developed a transition
     plan by July 26, 1992, setting forth the steps necessary to
     complete such changes.

Q.   What is a self-evaluation?

A.   A self-evaluation is a public entity's assessment of its current
     policies and practices.  The self-evaluation identifies and
     corrects those policies and practices that are inconsistent with
     title IIs requirements.  All public entities must complete a
     self-evaluation by January 26, 1993.  A public entity that employs
     50 or more employees must retain its self-evaluation for three
     years.  Other public entities are not required to retain their
     self-evaluations, but are encouraged to do so because these
     documents evidence a public entity's good faith efforts to comply
     with title IIs requirements.

Q.   What does title II require for new construction and alterations?

A.   The ADA requires that all new buildings constructed by a State or
     local government be accessible.  In addition, when a State or local
     government undertakes alterations to a building, it must make the
     altered portions accessible.

Q.   How will a State or local government know that a new building is
     accessible?

A.   A State or local government will be in compliance with the ADA for
     new construction and alterations if it follows either of two
     accessibility standards.  It can choose either the Uniform Federal
     Accessibility Standards or the Americans with Disabilities Act
     Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities, which is the
     standard that must be used for public accommodations and commercial
     facilities under title III of the ADA.  If the State or local
     government chooses the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, it is not
     entitled to the elevator exemption (which permits certain private
     buildings under three stories or under 3,000 square feet per floor
     to be constructed without an elevator).

Q    What requirements apply to a public entity's emergency telephone
     services, such as 911?

A.   State and local agencies that provide emergency telephone services
     must provide direct access to individuals who rely on a TDD or
     computer modem for telephone communication.  Telephone access
     through a third party or through a relay service does not satisfy
     the requirement for direct access.  Where a public entity provides
     911 telephone service, it may not substitute a separate seven-digit
     telephone line as the sole means for access to 911 services by
     nonvoice users.  A public entity may, however, provide a separate
     seven-digit line for the exclusive use of nonvoice callers in
     addition to providing direct access for such calls to its 911 line.

Q.   Does title II require that telephone emergency service systems be
     compatible with all formats used for nonvoice communications?

A.   No.  At present, telephone emergency services must only be
     compatible with the Baudot format.  Until it can be technically
     proven that communications in another format can operate in a
     reliable and compatible manner in a given telephone emergency
     environment, a public entity would not be required to provide
     direct access to computer modems using formats other than Baudot.

Q.   How will the ADA's requirements for State and local governments be
     enforced?

A.   Private individuals may bring lawsuits to enforce their rights
     under title II and may receive the same remedies as those provided
     under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, including
     reasonable attorney's fees.  Individuals may also file complaints
     with eight designated Federal agencies, including the Department of
     Justice and the Department of Transportation.



Public Accommodations

Q.   What are public accommodations?

A.   A public accommodation is a private entity that owns, operates,
     leases, or leases to, a place of public accommodation.  Places of
     public accommodation include a wide range of entities, such as
     restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors' offices, pharmacies, retail
     stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care
     centers.  Private clubs and religious organizations are exempt from
     the ADA's title III requirements for public accommodations.

Q.   Will the ADA have any effect on the eligibility criteria used by
     public accommodations to determine who may receive services?

A.   Yes.  If a criterion screens out or tends to screen out individuals
     with disabilities, it may only be used if necessary for the
     provision of the services.  For instance, it would be a violation
     for a retail store to have a rule excluding all deaf persons from
     entering the premises, or for a movie theater to exclude all
     individuals with cerebral palsy. More subtle forms of
     discrimination are also prohibited.  For example, requiring
     presentation of a drivers license as the sole acceptable means of
     identification for purposes of paying by check could constitute
     discrimination against individuals with vision impairments.  This
     would be true if such individuals are ineligible to receive
     licenses and the use of an alternative means of identification is
     feasible.

Q.   Does the ADA allow public accommodations to take safety factors
     into consideration in providing services to individuals with
     disabilities?

A.   The ADA expressly provides that a public accommodation may exclude
     an individual, if that individual poses a direct threat to the
     health or safety of others that cannot be mitigated by appropriate
     modifications in the public accommodation's policies or procedures,
     or by the provision of auxiliary aids.  A public accommodation will
     be permitted to establish objective safety criteria for the
     operation of its business; however, any safety standard must be
     based on objective requirements rather than stereotypes or
     generalizations about the ability of persons with disabilities to
     participate in an activity.

Q.   Are there any limits on the kinds of modifications in policies,
     practices, and procedures required by the ADA?

A.   Yes.  The ADA does not require modifications that would
     fundamentally alter the nature of the services provided by the
     public accommodation. For example, it would not be discriminatory
     for a physician specialist who treats only burn patients to refer a
     deaf individual to another physician for treatment of a broken limb
     or respiratory ailment.  To require a physician to accept patients
     outside of his or her specialty would fundamentally alter the
     nature of the medical practice.

Q.   What kinds of auxiliary aids and services are required by the ADA
     to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing or
     vision impairments?

A.   Appropriate auxiliary aids and services may include services and
     devices such as qualified interpreters, assistive listening
     devices, notetakers, and written materials for individuals with
     hearing impairments; and qualified readers, taped texts, and
     Brailled or large print materials for individuals with vision
     impairments.

Q.   Are there any limitations on the ADA's auxiliary aids requirements?

A.   Yes.  The ADA does not require the provision of any auxiliary aid
     that would result in an undue burden or in a fundamental alteration
     in the nature of the goods or services provided by a public
     accommodation. However, the public accommodation is not relieved
     from the duty to furnish an alternative auxiliary aid, if
     available, that would not result in a fundamental alteration or
     undue burden.  Both of these limitations are derived from existing
     regulations and caselaw under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
     and are to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Q.   Will restaurants be required to have brailled menus?

A.   No, not if waiters or other employees are made available to read
     the menu to a blind customer.

Q.   Will a clothing store be required to have brailled price tags?

A.   No, not if sales personnel could provide price information orally
     upon request.

Q.   Will a bookstore be required to maintain a sign language
     interpreter on its staff in order to communicate with deaf
     customers?

A.   No, not if employees communicate by pen and notepad when necessary.

Q.   Are there any limitations on the ADA's barrier removal requirements
     for existing facilities?

A.   Yes.  Barrier removal need be accomplished only when it is readily
     achievable to do so.


Q.   What does the term readily achievable mean?

A.   It means easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without
     much difficulty or expense.

Q.   What are examples of the types of modifications that would be
     readily achievable in most cases?

A.   Examples include the simple ramping of a few steps, the
     installation of grab bars where only routine reinforcement of the
     wall is required, the lowering of telephones, and similar modest
     adjustments.

Q.   Will businesses need to rearrange furniture and display racks?

A.   Possibly.  For example, restaurants may need to rearrange tables
     and department stores may need to adjust their layout of racks and
     shelves in order to permit access to wheelchair users.

Q.   Will businesses need to install elevators?

A.   Businesses are not required to retrofit their facilities to install
     elevators unless such installation is readily achievable, which is
     unlikely in most cases.

Q.   When barrier removal is not readily achievable, what kinds of
     alternative steps are required by the ADA?

A.   Alternatives may include such measures as in-store assistance for
     removing articles from inaccessible shelves, home delivery of
     groceries, or coming to the door to receive or return dry cleaning.

Q.   Must alternative steps be taken without regard to cost?

A.   No, only readily achievable alternative steps must be undertaken.

Q.   How is readily achievable determined in a multisite business?

A.   In determining whether an action to make a public accommodation
     accessible would be readily achievable, the overall size of the
     parent corporation or entity is only one factor to be considered.
     The ADA also permits consideration of the financial resources of
     the particular facility or facilities involved and the
     administrative or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities
     to the parent entity.

Q.   Who has responsibility for ADA compliance in leased places of
     public accommodation, the landlord or the tenant?

A.   The ADA places the legal obligation to remove barriers or provide
     auxiliary aids and services on both the landlord and the tenant.
     The landlord and the tenant may decide by lease who will actually
     make the changes and provide the aids and services, but both remain
     legally responsible.

Q.   What does the ADA require in new construction?

A.   The ADA requires that all new construction of places of public
     accommodation, as well as of commercial facilities such as office
     buildings, be accessible.  Elevators are generally not required in
     facilities under three stories or with fewer than 3,000 square feet
     per floor, unless the building is a shopping center or mall; the
     professional office of a health care provider; a terminal, depot,
     or other public transit station; or an airport passenger terminal.

Q.   Is it expensive to make all newly constructed places of public
     accommodation and commercial facilities accessible?

A.   The cost of incorporating accessibility features in new
     construction is less than one percent of construction costs.  This
     is a small price in relation to the economic benefits to be derived
     from full accessibility in the future, such as increased employment
     and consumer spending and decreased welfare dependency.

Q.   Must every feature of a new facility be accessible?

A.   No, only a specified number of elements such as parking spaces and
     drinking fountains must be made accessible in order for a facility
     to be readily accessible.  Certain nonoccupiable spaces such as
     elevator pits, elevator penthouses, and piping or equipment
     catwalks need not be accessible.

Q.   What are the ADA requirements for altering facilities?

A.   All alterations that could affect the usability of a facility must
     be made in an accessible manner to the maximum extent feasible.
     For example, if during renovations a doorway is being relocated,
     the new doorway must be wide enough to meet the new construction
     standard for accessibility.   When alterations are made to a
     primary function area, such as the lobby of a bank or the dining
     area of a cafeteria, an accessible path of travel to the altered
     area must also be provided. The bathrooms, telephones, and drinking
     fountains serving that area must also be made accessible.  These
     additional accessibility alterations are only required to the
     extent that the added accessibility costs do not exceed 20% of the
     cost of the original alteration.  Elevators are generally not
     required in facilities under three stories or with fewer than 3,000
     square feet per floor, unless the building is a shopping center or
     mall; the professional office of a health care provider; a
     terminal, depot, or other public transit station; or an airport
     passenger terminal.

Q.   Does the ADA permit an individual with a disability to sue a
     business when that individual believes that discrimination is about
     to occur, or must the individual wait for the discrimination to
     occur?

A.   The ADA public accommodations provisions permit an individual to
     allege discrimination based on a reasonable belief that
     discrimination is about to occur.  This provision, for example,
     allows a person who uses a wheelchair to challenge the planned
     construction of a new place of public accommodation, such as a
     shopping mall, that would not be accessible to individuals who use
     wheelchairs.  The resolution of such challenges prior to the
     construction of an inaccessible facility would enable any necessary
     remedial measures to be incorporated in the building at the
     planning stage, when such changes would be relatively inexpensive.

Q.   How does the ADA affect existing State and local building codes?

A.   Existing codes remain in effect.  The ADA allows the Attorney
     General to certify that a State law, local building code, or
     similar ordinance that establishes accessibility requirements meets
     or exceeds the minimum accessibility requirements for public
     accommodations and commercial facilities.  Any State or local
     government may apply for certification of its code or ordinance.
     The Attorney General can certify a code or ordinance only after
     prior notice and a public hearing at which interested people,
     including individuals with disabilities, are provided an
     opportunity to testify against the certification.

Q.   What is the effect of certification of a State or local code or
     ordinance?

A.   Certification can be advantageous if an entity has constructed or
     altered a facility according to a certified code or ordinance.  If
     someone later brings an enforcement proceeding against the entity,
     the certification is considered rebuttable evidence that the State
     law or local ordinance meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of
     the ADA. In other words, the entity can argue that the construction
     or alteration met the requirements of the ADA because it was done
     in compliance with the State or local code that had been certified.

Q.   When are the public accommodations provisions effective?

A.   In general, they became effective on January 26, 1992.

Q.   How will the public accommodations provisions be enforced?

A.   Private individuals may bring lawsuits in which they can obtain
     court orders to stop discrimination.  Individuals may also file
     complaints with the Attorney General, who is authorized to bring
     lawsuits in cases of general public importance or where a pattern o
     practice of discrimination is alleged.  In these cases, the
     Attorney General may seek monetary damages and civil penalties.
     Civil penalties may not exceed $50,000 for a first violation or
     $100,000 for any subsequent violation.


Miscellaneous

Q.   Is the Federal government covered by the ADA?

A.   The ADA does not cover the executive branch of the Federal
     government.  The executive branch continues to be covered by title
     V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination
     in services and employment on the basis of handicap and which is a
     model for the requirements of the ADA.  The ADA, however, does
     cover Congress and other entities in the legislative branch of the
     Federal government.

Q.   Does the ADA cover private apartments and private homes?

A.   The ADA does not cover strictly residential private apartments and
     homes.  If, however, a place of public accommodation, such as a
     doctor's office or day care center, is located in a private
     residence, those portions of the residence used for that purpose
     are subject to the ADA's requirements.

Q.   Does the ADA cover air transportation?

A.   Discrimination by air carriers in areas other than employment is
     not covered by the ADA but rather by the Air Carrier Access Act (49
     U.S.C. 1374 (c)).

Q.   What are the ADA's requirements for public transit buses?

A.   The Department of Transportation has issued regulations mandating
     accessible public transit vehicles and facilities.  The regulations
     include requirements that all new fixed-route, public transit buses
     be accessible and that supplementary paratransit services be
     provided for those individuals with disabilities who cannot use
     fixed-route bus service. For information on how to contact the
     Department of Transportation, see page 30.

Q.   How will the ADA make telecommunications accessible?

A.   The ADA requires the establishment of telephone relay services for
     individuals who use telecommunications devices for deaf persons
     (TDD's) or similar devices.  The Federal Communications Commission
     has issued regulations specifying standards for the operation of
     these services.

Q.   Are businesses entitled to any tax benefit to help pay for the cost
     of compliance?

A.   As amended in 1990, the Internal Revenue Code allows a deduction of
     up to $15,000 per year for expenses associated with the removal of
     qualified architectural and transportation barriers.

     The 1990 amendment also permits eligible small businesses to
     receive a tax credit for certain costs of compliance with the ADA.
     An eligible small business is one whose gross receipts do not
     exceed $1,000,000 or whose workforce does not consist of more than
     30 full-time workers. Qualifying businesses may claim a credit of
     up to 50 percent of eligible access expenditures that exceed $250
     but do not exceed $10,250.  Examples of eligible access
     expenditures include the necessary and reasonable costs of removing
     architectural, physical, communications, and transportation
     barriers; providing readers, interpreters, and other auxiliary
     aids; and acquiring or modifying equipment or devices.


Telephone Numbers for ADA Information

     This list contains the telephone numbers of Federal agencies that
     are responsible for providing information to the public about the
     Americans with Disabilities Act and organizations that have been
     funded by the Federal government to provide information through
     staffed information centers.

     The agencies and organizations listed are sources for obtaining
     information about the law's requirements and informal guidance in
     understanding and complying with the ADA.


ADA Information Line U.S. Department of Justice

     For ADA documents                  800-514-0301 (voice) and questions
                                        800-514-0383 (TDD)

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

     For ADA documents                  800-669-3362 (voice)
                                        800-800-3302 (TDD)

     For ADA questions                  800-669-4000 (voice)
                                        800-669-6820 (TDD)

U.S. Department of Transportation

     ADA documents and information      202-366-1656 (voice)
                                        202-366-4567 (TDD)

     ADA legal questions                202-366-1936 (voice)
                                        TDD: use relay service

Federal Communications Commission       202-418-0190 (voice)
                                        202-418-2555 (TDD)

Architectural and Transportation        800-872-2253 (voice)
Barriers Compliance Board               800-993-2822 (TDD)

Job Accommodation Network               800-526-7234 (voice)
                                        800-526-7234 (TDD)

President's Committee on Employment     202-376-6200 (voice)
of People with Disabilities             202-376-6205 (TDD)

U.S. Department of Education Regional Disability and Business Technical
Assistance Centers

   Call automatically connects to       800-949-4232 (voice)
   your regional center                 800-949-4232 (TDD)



Addresses for ADA Information

     U.S. Department of Justice
     Civil Rights Division
     Disability Rights
     Section P.O. Box 66738
     Washington, DC  20035-6738

     U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
     1801 L Street, NW
     Washington, DC  20507

     U.S. Department of Transportation
     Federal Transit Administration
     400 Seventh Street, SW
     Washington, DC  20590

     Architectural and Transportation Barriers
     Compliance Board
     1331 F Street, NW Suite 1000
     Washington, DC  20004-1111

     Federal Communications Commission
     1919 M Street, NW
     Washington, DC 20554

This document is available in the following alternate formats:
     - Braille
     - Large print - Audiocassette
     - Electronic file on computer disk and
       electronic bulletin board (202) 514-6193.

Note:  Reproduction of this document is encouraged.