# 144 III-3.3000 III-3.

5000

May 23, 1994

The Honorable Peter A. DeFazio Member, U.S. House of Representatives 211 East Seventh Avenue Eugene, Oregon 97401 Dear Congressman DeFazio: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XXXXXXXXXXXXX, which you sent to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and was by that agency forwarded to the Department of Justice. According to XXXXXXXXX, he has attempted to establish a vocational program for persons with developmental disabilities in downtown Coos Bay, Oregon, but has met with opposition from at least one member of the city's Downtown Association, who allegedly has encouraged building owners not to rent space to XXXXXXXXX because persons with developmental disabilities do not belong in the downtown area. XXXXXXXXX inquires whether he has any recourse in this situation. A vocational rehabilitation program, such as a social service center establishment, would likely be considered a place of public accommodation within the meaning of title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the title III regulation, 42 U.S.C. 12181(7); 28 C.F.R. 36.104. Private entities that lease to places of public accommodation are also considered public accommodations under title III. 42 U.S.C. ​ 12182(a); 28 C.F.R. 36.104. Under title III, public accommodations are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation. 42 U.S.C. 12182(a); 28 C.F.R. 36.201(a). It is also a violation of title III for a

public accommodation to discriminate against any individual or entity based upon that individual's or entity's known relationship with a person who has a disability. 42 U.S.C. 12182(b) (2)(E); 28 C.F.R. 36.205. Thus, the ADA does not permit a commercial landlord to refuse to lease space for the operation of a place of public accommodation because of the disabilities of the anticipated clientele of the place of public accommodation. While it does not appear that the Downtown Association, as a group, operates a place of public accommodation, interference with an individual's attempt to exercise or enjoy any rights under the Act is also prohibited, see 42 U.S.C. 12203; 28 C.F.R. 36.206, even if the person responsible for the interference does not operate a place of public accommodation. Thus, XXXXXXXXX and persons with developmental disabilities who might use the vocational program may be able to seek redress under this portion of the ADA. XXXXXXXXX may seek enforcement of his rights under the ADA by filing a suit in Federal court. He may also file a complaint with the Department of Justice by writing to the address below outlining in detail the facts giving rise to the alleged discrimination and, to the extent he knows them, providing the names and addresses of individuals and entities responsible for the discrimination. Public Access Section Civil Rights Division U.S. Department of Justice P.O. Box 66738 Washington, D.C. 20035-6738 The Department is authorized to investigate complaints of discrimination and to file suits where there is a pattern or practice of discrimination or discrimination that involves an issue of general public importance. XXXXXXXXX should be advised, however, that the Department is not able to investigate every complaint that it receives but, in the event he does file a complaint with us, he will be notified as soon as possible concerning the action the Department intends to take on his complaint. I have also enclosed a list of organizations in Oregon that may be of some assistance to XXXXXXXXX in pursuing his claim, as well as copies of the Department of Justice title III

implementing regulation and the ADA Title III Technical Assistance Manual. I hope this information will be helpful to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely,

Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures