Does the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act change any criteria for reasonable accommodations?

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[Question] Does the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act change any criteria for reasonable accommodations? Mary, Kentucky

Mary, great question. The answer is 99% no changes. A very helpful DOJ publication of the new 2010 ADA shows all new or changed additions to the original 1990 regulations in bold. You can acquired the document, here.

Following is the section that relates to your question. The 1% change is the very last paragraph of this section in bold. It covers the all-too-often misuse of safety concerns as an excuse not to provide reasonable accommodations.

Subpart B – General Requirements

§ 35.130 General prohibitions against discrimination (this bold is mine not regulations)

  • (b)
    • (7) A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity.
    • (8)…………………….
  • Nothing in this part prohibits a public entity from providing benefits, services, or advantages to individuals with disabilities, or to a particular class of individuals with disabilities beyond those required by this part.
  • (d) A public entity shall administer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.
  • (e)
    • (1) Nothing in this part shall be construed to require an individual with a disability to accept an accommodation, aid, service, opportunity, or benefit provided under the ADA or this part which such individual chooses not to accept.
    • (2) Nothing in the Act or this part authorizes the representative or guardian of an individual with a disability to decline food, water, medical treatment, or medical services for that individual.
  • (f) A public entity may not place a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the costs of measures, such as the provision of auxiliary aids or program accessibility, that are required to provide that individual or group with the nondiscriminatory treatment required by the Act or this part.
  • (g) A public entity shall not exclude or otherwise deny equal services, programs, or activities to an individual or entity because of the known disability of an individual with whom the individual or entity is known to have a relationship or association.
  • (h) A public entity may impose legitimate safety requirements necessary for the safe operation of its services, programs, or activities. However, the public entity must ensure that its safety requirements are based on actual risks, not on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities.

I hope this refreshes the importance of providing reasonable accommodations in all areas of your public entity.

Best of Luck, Michele



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About the Blogger

Michele Ohmes

thumbnail image Michele S. Ohmes is an Americans with Disabilities Act specialist and wheelchair user who works with public works departments, facility managers, and contractors. Her design manual — ADA and Accessibility: Let's Get Practical — is available on CD-ROM through the American Public Works Association's Web site. Author's note: Michele & Associates does not render legal advice and has no enforcement authority regarding the ADA or other federal disability-rights legislation.