You ask, we answer
10/30/2020 10:00:38 AM
I am hard of hearing and have been advocating for my local city and county government to obey ADA law and provide closed captioning for all open meetings. They also have bad habits with using the microphone properly, such as leaning back in their chairs away from the microphones and not repeating comments from people who are not using the microphone like their staff seated in the audience. What are my options for making sure my city is ADA accessible?
Thank you for your question. There are many different steps that you can take to make sure that your city is accessible. If you believe your city is not following the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the first step is often to let the city know about the problems you are experiencing. Usually, a letter or email to the city is a good way to raise your complaints. For cities that have 50 or more employees, there should be an ADA coordinator with the city who is designated to receive and respond to complaints. Often, cities are unaware of access problems, and simply explaining the issue is enough to resolve the problem.
If raising the issue in a letter is not successful, you could file an administrative complaint. There are two main agencies in Minnesota that will investigate and respond to accessibility complaints: the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR).
You should know that these agencies receive many complaints, so the complaint and investigation process often can take years to complete.
You also have the option of filing a civil lawsuit against your city if you believe they are violating the ADA. Lawsuits can be filed in either state or federal court. Filing a lawsuit can be a difficult and complex process, so we recommend that you try to find a lawyer to represent you. If you are interested in getting legal help from the Minnesota Disability Law Center, you may call our intake line at 1-800-292-4150, or visit us online.
You can also search for private attorneys online using different attorney referral services, available here: Minnesota State Bar Association and here: Minnesota Lawyer Referral.
Whatever method you choose, it is important to know that the ADA only works if people with disabilities are willing to enforce it. So if you are experiencing a problem with accessibility, or believe you are victim of disability discrimination, do not hesitate to raise your concerns!
For this "Ask MNCDHH" question, MNCDHH decided to ask the Minnesota Disability Law Center to provide a guest response. The response is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. We appreciate their assistance.
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