# 20 III-1.

2000 DJ 202-PL-00103 July 8, 1992

Deborah C. Craytor, Esq. Fisher & Phillips 1500 Resurgens Plaza Atlanta, GA 30326 Dear Ms. Craytor: I am responding to your request for an opinion concerning the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and this Department's regulation implementing title III of the ADA, to your client, a private university that conducts pharmaceutical trials on behalf of manufacturers. This research is conducted by members of the university's medical faculty whose test subjects are selected from among their patients and the general public. Your letter asserts that the primary purpose of these tests is pharmaceutical research, not medical treatment or education; therefore, title III's barrier removal requirements should not apply. The ADA authorizes the Department to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities having rights or obligations under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a determination by the Department of Justice of your rights or responsibilities under the ADA and it is not binding on the Department of Justice. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by public accommodations. In order to be considered a public accommodation, an entity must be private and it must own, operate, lease, or lease to a place of public accommodation. A place of public accommodation is a facility whose operations affect commerce and fall within at

least one of the 12 categories identified in the ADA. You have correctly noted that a place of education is a place of public accommodation. The professional office of a health care provider is a also place of public accommodation. Under the Department's title III regulation, a public accommodation is responsible for ensuring compliance with title III in all of the activities of the place of public accommodation that it owns or operates. This provision is intended to be read broadly. Nothing in the ADA or the Department's regulation supports the conclusion that a place of education is a place of public accommodation only with respect to the administration of its curriculum. Research activities are an integral part of the operations of many colleges and universities, and, in our view, are subject to the requirements of title III. Please note that the obligations of a public accommodation under title III include more than the obligation to remove barriers. A public accommodation may not discriminate against an individual with a disability in the operation of a place of public accommodation. Individuals with disabilities may not be denied full and equal enjoyment of the "goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations" offered by a place of public accommodation. The phrase "goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations" applies to whatever type of good or service a public accommodation provides to its customers, clients, or participants. A public accommodation has an affirmative obligation to modify its policies and practices to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from participation. The public accommodation must provide auxiliary aids when it is necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities; it must remove architectural, communication, and transportation barriers to the extent that it is readily achievable to do so; and it must ensure that all new construction and alterations comply with the accessibility standards established in the title III regulation. This Department recently issued a technical assistance manual to assist individuals and entities subject to the ADA to understand the requirements of title III. I have enclosed a copy for your information. I hope that this information is helpful to you.

Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Director Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act Enclosure