# 60 II-3.6000 III-4.

2000 March 2, 1993

The Honorable Bob Graham United States Senator Post Office Box 3050 Tallahassee, Florida 32315 Dear Senator Graham: This responds to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, concerning persons with disabilities and their use of rest area facilities on highways. Her specific concern has to do with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as it relates to the use of toilet facilities by individuals who need assistance when their only companion is a person of the opposite sex. The ADA authorizes the Department to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that have rights and responsibilities under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in responding to your constituent. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a determination by the Department of Justice of specific rights or responsibilities under the ADA and is not a binding determination by the Department of Justice. Federal law establishes strict architectural accessibility requirements for new construction and alterations, including specifications for accessible toilet rooms. The Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG) is the standard for private buildings that was issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (the Access Board) under title III of the ADA and has been adopted by the Department of Justice as the standard for places of public accommodation and commercial facilities covered by the Department of Justice's regulation implementing title III of the ADA. The ADAAG is published as Appendix A to the Department's title III regulation, 28 CFR Part 36.

Another federal provision, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires that newly constructed or altered buildings and facilities of federal executive agencies comply with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS), and the Department's regulation under title II of the ADA provides that State and local governments can follow either ADAAG or UFAS in new construction and alterations. However, neither ADAAG nor UFAS requires "unisex" restrooms. In issuing ADAAG, the Access Board considered recommendations that such facilities should be required in newly constructed buildings for individuals with disabilities who need assistance from another person. Although it did not adopt that recommendation, the Board included specifications for accessible unisex toilet rooms in the Appendix to ADAAG at A4.22.3, and suggested that they be provided in certain facilities, in addition to the accessible stalls required in multi-stall toilet rooms. As explained in the enclosed Technical Assistance Manuals for titles II (II-3.6000) and III (III-4.2000), however, the ADA does require that covered entities make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures where necessary to enable individuals with disabilities to participate, and this requirement would require a covered entity (a State or local government under title II or a public accommodation under title III) to permit a person of the opposite sex to assist an individual with a disability in a toilet room designated for one sex. Federal agencies are subject to the same requirement under section 504. I hope this information is helpful to you in responding to XXXXXXXXXXXXX. Sincerely,

James P. Turner Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division