# 58

III-7.8200

March 2, 1993

The Honorable Robert Dole United States Senator 636 Minnesota Avenue Kansas City, Kansas 66101 Dear Senator Dole: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Laurence M. Silver, who seeks information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities having rights or obligations under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist your constituent in understanding the ADA's requirements. However, it does not constitute a legal interpretation and it is not binding on the Department. Mr. Silver's letter states that his company markets a restaurant table that can be adjusted to different heights to accommodate persons who use wheelchairs. It appears, from the diagram of the table Mr. Silver enclosed with his letter, that the table is free-standing. Mr. Silver asks whether the ADA requires or permits his company's table to be used. He states that one potential buyer claimed that using such tables would violate the ADA, because the table's height adjustment controls would be inaccessible to persons with disabilities. The ADA regulation issued by this Department (enclosed) contains height requirements for fixed tables in newly constructed restaurants, if fixed tables are provided. Sections 5.1 and 4.32.4 of the enclosed ADA Accessibility Guidelines

(ADAAG), at pages 35517 and 35514, require at least 5% of fixed tables to be between 28 and 34 inches from the finish floor. A table like Mr. Silver's may meet these height requirements, but the Department of Justice cannot certify or endorse any specific products. The ADA regulation also includes requirements for controls and operating mechanisms. Section 4.27 of ADAAG requires operating controls to be accessible to persons with disabilities. Mr. Silver's tables appear to have height adjustment controls under the table, in a location that would be inaccessible to many persons with mobility impairments. However, as long as Mr. Silver's tables are free-standing, their installation should not violate the ADA, because the requirements for controls do not apply to free-standing tables. Section 5.1 of ADAAG, at page 35517 of the enclosed volume, states only that "fixed tables . . . shall be accessible." The ADAAG preamble (page 35415) further states that only equipment "fixed or built into the structure of the building" must comply with ADAAG standards. Therefore, the ADA's control standards should not bar use of Mr. Silver's tables. I hope this information is helpful to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely,

James P. Turner Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosure