Title II Overview
The basic mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is that no qualified individual with a disability will be excluded from participation, denied benefits, services, or access to programs or activities, or be subjected to discrimination by any public entity. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a public entity as:
- any state or local government
- any department agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a state or local government
- certain commuter authorities and AMTRAK
This definition includes everything from the smallest departments and towns with only one or two employees to the largest cities with several thousands of employees.
The ADA assures people with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in the programs and activities offered by state and local governments. Services and programs must be delivered in the most integrated setting appropriate to the person’s level of need. Although an entity can provide separate benefits or services, it should do so only when necessary to provide an equal opportunity. Even if separate programs exist that comply with Title II, a public entity cannot deny individuals with disabilities the right from participating in integrated programs and activities solely because the separate programs are available. Public entities cannot require a person to accept an accommodation or auxiliary aid or service nor can they charge individuals with disabilities for the costs of providing auxiliary aids and services including the cost of interpreter services.
A public entity may not use official written policies, criteria or other methods of administration that have the effect of discriminating on the basis of disability or that allow the discriminatory actions of another public entity. This includes direct actions by the entity, actions undertaken on behalf of the entity under a contractual relationship and actions by another Title II entity.
Government entities cannot deny licensor or certification to a person with a disability if the person meets the essential eligibility requirements for the task involved. Whether or not particular requirements are essential must be determined on a case-by-case basis. This requirement extends to any private entity contracted with to handle licensing and certification responsibilities. Licensing and certification examinations must be offered in an accessible place and manner, including the provision of auxiliary aids. In addition, public entities may not establish requirements for programs that have the effect of limiting opportunities for participation or employment of people with disabilities.
Policies, practices and procedures of a public entity must be modified when necessary to avoid discrimination against people with disabilities, unless to do so would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program or activity.
Public entities cannot use eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out people with disabilities unless such eligibility criteria are necessary for the provision of the service, program or activity.
It is not permissible for a public entity to assess a surcharge on people with disabilities to offset costs associated with providing access.
What activities are covered?
How is disability defined?
How is Title II enforced?