National Association of the Deaf

Americans with Disabilities Act



Title I – Employment

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to private employers and state or local governments as employers.  ADA Title I prohibits employers, employment agencies, labor unions and joint labor-management committees from discriminating against persons with disabilities.  Title I applies only to employers with 15 or more employees.

Statute and Regulations:  http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm

Filing a Complaint under ADA Title I (Employment)

Title I complaints must be filed with the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the date of discrimination, or 300 days if the charge is filed with a designated State or local fair employment practice agency.  Individuals may file a lawsuit in court only after they receive a “right-to-sue” letter from the EEOC.  For more information about filing employment-related disability discrimination complaints, please visit http://www.eeoc.gov.

Related Issue:  Employment

Title II – State and Local Governments

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires state and local governments to make their programs, services, and activities accessible to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

Statute and Regulations:  http://www.ada.gov/publicat.htm

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice proposed new rules for Title II of the ADA, which apply to state and local governments.  The NAD filed comprehensive comments in response to those proposed new rules.  See NAD Comments to ADA Title II Proposed Rules. No new rules have been issued, yet.

You may use the NAD Memo State and Local Government Services to inform and advocate for equal access to state and local government programs, services, and activities.  This NAD Memo provides general information about Title II of the ADA that applies to all types of state and local agencies, including courts, schools, social service agencies, hospitals, legislatures, commissions and councils, recreational facilities, libraries, and state/county/city departments and agencies of all kinds.

Other NAD Memos apply to specific state and local government activities, such as health care providers, hospitals and other health care facilities, police and law enforcement, state and local courts, and jails and prisons.




See also LaCheen, Cary, “Improving Remote Communication Between Public Benefits Agencies and Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Individuals,” Clearinghouse Review, Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, Vol. 43, Nos. 9-10, 431-439 (2001).


Filing a Complaint under ADA Title II (State and Local Governments)

When you encounter discrimination by state and local governments, you may file an ADA Title II complaint.  A form for filing a complaint is available online at http://www.ada.gov/t2cmpfrm.htm.  You do not need to use the form, but the form will help you know the kind of information you should include in your complaint.  You must file a complaint within 180 days of the discrimination.  You may also file a lawsuit in state or federal court.

Title III – Public Accommodations (Businesses)

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses open to the public to ensure that individuals with a disability have equal access to all that the businesses have to offer.  ADA Title III covers a wide range of places of public accommodation, including retail stores and the wide range of service businesses such as hotels, theaters, restaurants, doctors' and lawyers' offices, optometrists, dentists, banks, insurance agencies, museums, parks, libraries, day care centers, recreational programs, social service agencies, and private schools.  It covers both profit and non-profit organizations.  Unlike the employment section of the ADA, which only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, ADA Title III applies to all businesses, regardless of size.

Statute and Regulations:  http://www.ada.gov/publicat.htm

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice proposed new rules for Title III of the ADA, which apply to places of public accommodation (businesses).  The NAD filed comprehensive comments in response to those proposed new rules.  See NAD Comments to ADA Title III Proposed Rules.  No new rules have been issued, yet.

You may use the NAD Memo Public Accommodations, which provides general information about ADA Title III, to inform and advocate for equal access to many different kinds of businesses. 

Other NAD Memos apply to specific businesses, such as private schools, higher education, and other educational opportunities, health care providers, hospitals and other health care facilities, lawyers and legal services, and hotels and motels.

An additional NAD Memo can be used to inform and advocate for access to Trade Shows and Exhibitions (which includes a “Model ADA Policy”).

Filing a Complaint under ADA Title III (Public Accommodations)

When you encounter discrimination by businesses that are open to the public, you can file a Title III complaint.  You can find more information about filing a Title III complaint at http://www.ada.gov/t3com