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When ADA Calls: Responding to a Complaint
August 16, 2011 -
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I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, responding to an ADA notification.
If an institutional or commercial facility receives notification of a violation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), that means either a complaint has been filed in federal court or, the U.S. Department of Justice has received a complaint or is investigating the facility.
The best reaction is to read or listen to what the notification says, particularly if it came from the DOJ. If a facility receives a complaint filed in court, read the allegations as just that — allegations. An individual with a disability might make allegations that are not actually violations under the ADA.
Managers also need to evaluate the facility before responding or agreeing to a settlement in order to understand the facility's status regarding ADA requirements. Do not jump into a settlement with the individual or group by agreeing to remedy only the items they identified because they probably have not identified all issues. In that scenario, the next complaint filed with items other than those the facility agreed to correct becomes a new complaint.
Review the entire facility, put a plan together, and start the corrections so that when the next complaint or question arises, an answer and a plan are ready and available.