Americans with Disabilities Act

The ADA considers both the presence of a recognized disability or the PERCEPTION of a recognized disability to qualify for protection. Recognized disabilities include alcoholism and addiction in recovery, mental illness, physical illness, etc.  More than one physician we know of has achieved meaningful results by filing this type of complaint, and once the federal government has become involved the complainants have been legally protected from retaliation.  These complaints can be filed separately against employers (ADA title I), state medical boards (ADA title II) and public accomodations, commercial facilities and private non-profit entities (ADA title III). 

Any US citizen can easily file a complaint with the federal government for violation of their civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You don't need an attorney or any legal counsel to do so, and such complaints can trigger federal investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice (US DOJ) and result in federal lawsuits against violators. For more information or to file a complaint, go to the following website:

http://www.ada.gov/enforce.htm

The US DOJ is also currently developing a program to monitor civil litigation initiated pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), by parties other than the United States. Litigation involving all titles of the ADA is ongoing across the country. The US DOJ believes that better coordination between the Department and private attorneys will benefit everyone interested in ADA enforcement and litigation by locating problems and issues, sharing successful strategies, and promoting winning arguments.

http://www.ada.gov/litmon.htm

 

Finally, the US DOJ maintains a mediation program to help parties resolve ADA Title II and Title III disputes through informal methods where possible, in order to avoid the generally considerable delay and expense of formal litigation. 

 

http://www.ada.gov/mediate.htm

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The ADA is also enforced by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.  According to their website, "OCR is the 'designated agency' to investigate complaints of discrimination on the basis of disability by state and local government health and social service agencies."  The HHS-OCR will not represent you in your civil rights complaint.  According to their website,

"The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is a neutral fact-finding agency. Our charge is to ensure that the laws under our jurisdiction are not violated. If your complaint is accepted for investigation, we may, for example, obtain a promise that the program will change its practices or provide you with a service. Although we will consult with you, you may not be satisfied with any individual remedies proposed. You should consult an attorney about your right to file a private law suit in court if you wish to protect fully your individual rights and remedies. Delay in doing so may foreclose your right to bring a law suit."

If you want to help improve a governmental health agency (like your state medical board) compliance with Title II of the ADA, go to http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/complaints/index.html to file a complaint with the HHS-OCR.  Complaints usually must be filed within 180 days from the date of the alleged discriminatory act. (The Office for Civil Rights may extend the 180-day period if good cause to do so is shown.)

This group (and this website) are still under construction.  The website was last updated 1/25/2011.