(b)(6) XX

Ms. Elena Wahbeh-Foster President American Rehabilitation Centers, Inc. 6724 Troost, Suite 310 Kansas City, Missouri 64131 MAY 3 1994 Dear Ms. Wahbeh-Foster: This letter is in response to your request for information regarding the obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") for private entities that sponsor educational seminars to provide sign language interpreters for hearing impaired persons who attend their seminars. 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 you in understanding the ADA requirements. However, it does not constitute a legal interpretation or legal advice, and is not binding on the Department. Title III of the ADA requires all public accommodations to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities. A public accommodation must provide the necessary auxiliary aids unless it can demonstrate that providing the auxiliary aids would fundamentally alter the nature of the public accommodation's services or would result in an undue burden to the public accommodation. Places of education, such as educational seminars, are considered places of public accommodation under the ADA. Your correspondence indicates that two companies that sponsor educational seminars failed to provide interpreters for your hearing impaired employee. These entities, as public accommodations, are required to provide qualified interpreters only when such interpreters are necessary for effective

communication with an individual with disabilities. If, for example, the. information being conveyed at a particular seminar

FOIA 01-03021

-2is lengthy and complex then the use of a interpreter may be necessary. If the provision of an interpreter by a public accommodation results in a fundamental alteration of the nature of the services provided by the public accommodation or creates an undue burden on the public accommodation, then the public accommodation still must provide an alternative auxiliary aid to ensure effective communication to the maximum extent possible. I have enclosed for your information a copy of the title III regulation promulgated by the Department of Justice. The provisions regarding auxiliary aids are found in section 36.303 (pp. 35597) of these regulations, and are discussed in the enclosed Technical Assistance Manual in section III-4.3000 (pp. 26-30). If you feel that an interpreter was necessary to provide effective communication for your employee at the two seminars in question, then you or your employee may file a complaint in Federal court to enforce the Act, or may file a complaint with the Department of justice, which is authorized to investigate allegations of violations of title III in cases of general public importance or a pattern and practice of discrimination. If you or your employee wish to file a complaint with the Department of Justice under title III, you may address it to the Public Access Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, P.O. Box 66738, Washington, D.C. 20035-6738. You also asked what your responsibilities are as an employer to make sure that seminars are handled properly for your employees with disabilities. Title I of the ADA governs the application of the ADA in the employment relationship. Under

that title an employer must provide reasonable accommodation for the physical or mental limitations of its otherwise qualified employees with disabilities. For questions regarding the scope of the reasonable accommodation requirement and other requirements of title I, you can contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Federal agency that enforces title I. I hope this information is useful to you in understanding the requirements of the ADA. Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Chief Public Access Section Enclosures 01-03022