Entities of state and local governments may not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities in the provision of any program or service.
State and local governments refers to all activities, services and programs offered by a public entity including employment, town meetings, police and fire departments, motor vehicle licensing and activities of the courts. Services contracted to private businesses are also covered by Title II guidelines.
Programs, services, and activities provided by state and local governments must also make reasonable changes in their policies, practices, and procedures where necessary to avoid discrimination against people with disabilities; and must provide equal access to the program and/or activity as other members of the community, and must be offered in an integrated setting.
Auxiliary aids must be provided when they are necessary to ensure that people with hearing, vision or speech impairments are as effective as communication to everyone else. Auxiliary aids include, but are not limited to, qualified interpreters, assistive listening devices, Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDD), Braille and large print materials. The type of auxiliary aid or service a public entity is required to provide depends upon the length and complexity of the communication. Note: There cannot be a surcharge or fee for providing an auxiliary aid.
State and local governments are required to follow specific architectural standards in the new construction and alteration of their buildings. They also must relocate programs or otherwise provide access in inaccessible older buildings, and communicate effectively with people who have hearing, vision, or speech disabilities. Public entities are not required to take actions that would result in undue financial and administrative burdens. They are required to make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures where necessary to avoid discrimination, unless they can demonstrate that doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity being provided.
Complaints of title II violations may be filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) within 180 days of the date of discrimination. In certain situations, cases may be referred to a mediation program sponsored by the DOJ. The DOJ may bring a lawsuit where it has investigated a matter and has been unable to resolve violations.
Title II may also be enforced through private lawsuits in Federal court. It is not necessary to file a complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ) or any other Federal agency, or to receive a “right-to-sue” letter, before going to court.
For more information, contact:
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Disability Rights Section – NYAV
Washington, D.C. 20530
(800) 514-0301 (voice)
(800) 514-0383 (TTY)