NOV 25 1992 The Honorable Thomas W. Ewing U.S. House of Representatives 1632 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C.

20515-1315 Dear Congressman Ewing: This letter responds to your inquiry regarding the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that are subject to the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist your constituents in understanding the requirements of the ADA. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a determination by the Department of rights or responsibilities under the ADA, and it is not binding on the Department. As you may know, a member of the Public Access Section at the Department of Justice spoke to Eric Nicoll, a staff person in your Washington office, several weeks ago regarding the questions posed in your letter of inquiry. This letter provides written confirmation of the information provided to Mr. Nicoll. You have asked how the ADA would apply to a small manufacturing plant in your district. Manufacturing plants are not considered public accommodations and thus are not required to undertake removal of barriers in existing facilities. A manufacturing plant would, however, be considered a commercial facility for purposes of the ADA. This means that any alterations undertaken by the plant after January 26, 1992, must be in accordance with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. New construction undertaken by the plant is also covered by the ADA. For more information about requirements for alterations and new construction, please refer to sections 36.401-36.406 of the title III regulation and pages 43-53 of the Title III Technical Assistance Manual (enclosed).

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-2A manufacturing plant may also be required to comply with title I of the ADA, the provisions that require nondiscrimination in employment. For more information on the requirement to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, please see section III of the enclosed Title I Technical Assistance Manual. Your letter also asks a series of questions about the applicability of the ADA to businesses with financial difficulties. A business covered by the ADA is only required to remove barriers in existing facilities where "readily achievable" to do so. "Readily achievable" means easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. Further discussion of section 36.304 of the title III regulation can be found in the interpretive guideline or preamble to the regulation at 56 Fed. Reg. 35568-35570 and pages 29-35 of the Title III Technical Assistance Manual. There are several sources of financial assistance to help businesses comply with ADA requirements. An eligible small business may take a tax credit of up to $5000 per year for a wide variety of expenditures made to improve access. There is also a tax deduction of up to $15,000 per year for any business for expenses of removing specified architectural and transportation barriers. Information on the Section 44 tax credit and the Section 190 tax deduction can be obtained from a local IRS Office or by contacting the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service. I hope this information will assist you in responding to your constituent.

Sincerely,

John R. Dunne Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division

Enclosures (3)

01-01755 THOMAS W. EWING BUILDING 151TH DISTRICT, ILLINIOS 1315 WASHINGTON OFFICE 1632 LONGWORTH HOUSE OFFICE WASHINGTON, DC 20515-

(202) 225-2371 COMMITTEES: AGRICULTURE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT OFFICES SUBCOMMITTEE ON 70 MEADOWVIEW CENTER, SUITE 200 DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS RESEARCH KANKAKEE, IL 60901-2047 AND FOREIGN AGRICULTURE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (815) 937-0875 PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION 2401 E. WASHINGTON STREET, SUITE 101 WASHINGTON, DC 20515-1315 SUBCOMMITTEES: BLOOMINGTON, IL 61704-4409 AVIATION (309) 662-9371 WATER RESOURCES PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS 210 WEST WATER STREET

PONTIAC, IL 61764 (815) 844-7660 September 21, 1992 Ms. Thomasina Rogers Legal Counsel Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 1801 L Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20507 Dear Ms. Rogers: I am writing to you because I have some questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act. I was not in Congress when this legislation was enacted, and I hope you can be of assistance. Please get back to me by October 15. I know of a small manufacturing plant in my district which produces wood trusses and wall panels. The company has approximately 45 employees. The company has a small office with two small bathrooms. The owner of the company tells me that there is no room for a bathroom which is accessible to the disabled even if he were to combine the present two small bathrooms. Such a modification would require a major structural change at great expense. The owner of this company tells me that he cannot afford this expense and that other expenses already have left the company with a difficult financial burden. This business is not a retail building supplier dealing with the general public. Their customers are building contractors who are not disabled. The owner has even informed me that if he did have a disabled customer, he would go to that customer to conduct his business. This situation brings up many questions which I would like you to answer. Does the Act allow for exemption in the case of businesses facing financial difficulties? If the Act does not allow this flexibility, is there some federal program which can assist financially-strapped businesses to meet these mandates? If so, please give me the specifics and

how a business can obtain an exemption from the Act or he could go for financial assistance. After all, if the expenses incurred by this Act drive businesses out of businesses, many jobs can be lost. Can an exemption be obtained for a business which can clearly demonstrate that there is not a demand for handicapped accessibility at his place of business? How would a businessman apply for an exemption? Again, I would like specifics.

01-01756​ I would greatly appreciate it if you would get back to me with the answers to these questions by October 15. Any additional comments you have would be appreciated. If you have any questions, please have your staff contact Eric Nicoll in my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-2371.

Sincerely,

Thomas W. Ewing Member of Congress

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