November 12, 1993 The Honorable Lane Evans Member, U.S.

House of Representatives 1535 47th Avenue, #5 Moline, Illinois 61265 Dear Congressman Evans: This letter is in response to your inquiry to the Equal Employment opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of your constituent, Mr. Larry Plachno, concerning his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"). The EEOC referred your letter to us because the issues raised by Mr. Plachno are not within the jurisdiction of that agency. 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. Plachno first expresses a concern that the ADA and its implementing regulations may offer protection only for individuals who use wheelchairs, but not for other individuals with disabilities. In particular, Mr. Plachno is concerned about individuals who, like himself, have disabilities which necessitate frequent access to restroom facilities. The ADA and the implementing regulations developed by the Department of Justice in no way limit their application to individuals who use wheelchairs. Both the statute and the regulations define the term "disability" to mean any physical or mental condition that substantially limits one or more major life activities, like walking, seeing, hearing, working, caring for oneself, or performing manual tasks. Indeed, the Department of Justice's regulation implementing title III of the ADA, the title of the ADA that prohibits discrimination on the basis of cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, McDowney, Blizard, Contois, FOIA, MAF Udd:Contois:CGL:Evans.JLB

01-02688 ​ -2disability by privately owned and operated places of public accommodation, lists several examples of physical impairments, other than mobility impairments, that may be considered disabilities under the ADA, including impairments of the sense organs, or impairments of the respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, and genitourinary systems. In sum, the individuals Mr. Plachno is concerned about are quite probably individuals who come within the protections of the ADA, and the Department's implementing regulations. At the same time, however, it must be noted that the ADA generally does not require either privately owned places of public accommodation, or publicly owned buildings or facilities, to provide a particular number of restroom facilities, or even to provide restrooms at all. Typically, the question of whether and how many restrooms a particular type of facility must provide for the public is an issue that is addressed by state and local building codes. The approach of the ADA is simply to require that if they are provided, restroom facilities must be accessible to all of our citizens, including all of our citizens with disabilities. Thus, if Mr. Plachno has concerns that not enough restrooms are provided by certain types of facilities, he should address those concerns to the officials or organizations responsible for the state and local building codes which govern whether particular types of facilities must provide restrooms, and how many. Mr. Plachno next expresses his concern about the accessibility of restrooms in municipal buses and intra-city rail facilities. Under the ADA, the Department of Transportation has jurisdiction over public transit systems; accordingly, we are not able to provide guidance or assistance on this issue. Rather, Mr. Plachno should address his questions and comments to the Assistant General Counsel for Regulation and Enforcement, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Room 10424, Washington, D.C. 20590. Similarly, the Department of Transportation sets the passenger safety rules which prohibit use of restroom facilities on aircraft during takeoff and landing, another of Mr. Plachno's

concerns. If Mr. Plachno wishes to petition the Department of Transportation for changes in those rules, he may write to them at the address in the preceding paragraph. Finally, Mr. Plachno suggests that places of public accommodation be required to provide parking spaces for recreational vehicles, so that individuals with disabilities who use such vehicles for mobility will have better access to places of public accommodation. Title III does not currently require places of public accommodation to provide parking for 01-02689 -3recreational vehicles, and there are many places of public accommodation, particularly in urban or other heavily developed areas, which might have great difficulty in providing sufficient space for parking recreational vehicles. Nonetheless, we contacted the Architectural and transportation Barriers compliance Board, the federal agency which has responsibility for drafting the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, the architectural standards governing the design and construction of new places of public accommodation and commercial facilities. Representatives of the Board indicated that they had also received a letter from Mr. Plachno, and were considering his comments. Indeed, they may have already responded to him directly. I have enclosed for your information copies of the Department of Justice's title III implementing regulation, and the Department's Title III Technical Assistance Manual. The regulation defines the term disability and gives examples of the kinds of conditions that are covered in section 36.104 (page 35593), and the definition of the term disability is discussed at length in the preamble to the regulation (pages 35548-35550). In addition, the Technical Assistance Manual explains the coverage of the ADA on pages 8-12. I hope this information is useful to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely,

Brian K. Landsberg Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures