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Public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care centers, may not discriminate on the basis of disability. Bona fide private clubs (except to the extent that the facilities of the private club are made available to customers or patrons of a place of public accommodation) and religious organizations are exempt from Title III.

Public accommodations must provide goods and services in an integrated setting, unless separate or different measures are necessary to ensure equal opportunity; eliminate unnecessary eligibility standards or rules that deny individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy the goods and services of a place of public accommodation; and make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures that deny equal access to individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would cause a fundamental alteration in the nature of the goods and services provided. Reasonable changes in policies, practices, and procedures must be made to avoid discrimination.

Auxiliary aids and services must be provided to people with sensory impairments to allow an equal opportunity to participate or benefit, unless undue burden would result.

Physical barriers and communication barriers in existing facilities must be removed if such removal is readily achievable (e.g. able to be accomplished without much difficulty and expense). If not, alternative methods of providing the services must be offered, if those methods are readily achievable.

Twenty Percent Rule:  The added accessibility costs are disproportionate if they exceed 20 percent of the original alteration.  Elevators are not required in facilities under three stories or with fewer than 3,000 square feet per floor, unless the building is a shopping center, shopping mall, professional office of a health care provider, or station used for public transportation

If you feel you or another person have been discriminated against by an entity covered by title III, send a letter to the Department of Justice, at the address below, including the following information:

  • Your full name, address, and telephone number, and the name of the party discriminated against;
  • The name of the business, organization, or institution that you believe has discriminated;
  • A description of the act or acts of discrimination, the date or dates of the discriminatory acts, and the name or names of the individuals who you believe discriminated; and
  • Other information that you believe necessary to support your complaint. Please send copies of relevant documents. Do not send original documents. (Retain them.)

Sign and send the letter to the address below:

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights – NYAVE
Washington, D.C. 20530

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