Hello! My name is Chris and I am an information specialist here at the RMADAC. The aspect of the law I emphasize is physical accessibility in combination with State and Local Government and Public Accommodation responsibilities. However, I do know enough about other areas of the ADA to be helpful. I wanted to start my first entry into blogging by explaining who we are and what we do so that we can be used by you, the reader, more effectively.
Who are we?
We are a federally-funded organization with the responsibility to distribute information on the ADA. We are funded through a federal grant and only allowed to speak to the ADA with any authority. We listen to your questions, comments, and concerns, then use our insight of the ADA to assist you to understand what parts of the law apply to your unique situation.
I’d like to take a moment to explain a little about how the ADA is structured, so you know where your rights or responsibilities may lie. There are several sections of the ADA that apply to different situations which include employment, State and Local Governments, places of Public Accommodation, and telecommunication requirements. A point of clarification I’d like to make clear is that a Public Accommodation is any private business or non-profit organization that the public can normally patronize or benefit from. Many people mistake a Public Accommodation to mean any government building or operation supported by public tax dollars.
What we do
We often refer individuals to further organizations because we have no authority to enforce the law. We do not report any non-compliance; we are strictly an information center, a resource for your understanding of your rights and responsibilities under the ADA. This aspect of how we operate is somewhat of a double-edged sword. We cannot advocate for any induvial who has experienced discrimination, but on that same notion we do not report businesses or organizations for not being compliant with the ADA. This means that there is no reason to fear contacting us if you own or operate a business on the basis that calling us would invite getting into “trouble” with ADA law. We are purely a resource for anyone to achieve greater understanding of a very complicated law. Best of all, we are free to utilize!
The ADA is synonymous to Access for many people, but it’s helpful to understand that there are different accessibility laws that exist for different circumstances. Accessibility situations occurring at places such as HOA’s, Federal Government facilities, the Post Office, airline travel, apartment living all have accessibility laws that apply to them that are generally not the ADA. We are familiar with these accessibility laws, but we’re not experts. Sometimes the ADA will interplay with the situations I just mentioned, so if in doubt, anyone can call us, and we will help to decipher which laws may be at play. The important thing to remember is that although the ADA is about accessibility, accessibility is not always covered under the ADA.
The RMADAC is one of 10 regional ADA Centers across the country. We are here to serve our region to the best of our abilities, to share information on this civil rights law. We understand that the individual cannot exercise his or her rights if they do not know what they are in the first place.