LAWS AND PUBLIC BUILDINGS|
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
PUBLIC NOTICE REMINDER
LAWS AND PUBLIC BUILDINGS
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, Title II, requires that the services, programs and activities of local and state governments, as well as other non-federal government agencies, shall operate their programs so that when viewed in their entirety they are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Title III of the ADA deals with public accommodations. With respect to existing facilities of public accommodations, physical barriers must be removed when it is "readily achievable" to do so (i.e., when it can be accomplished easily and without much expense). A modification that would be readily achievable in most cases is the ramping of a few steps. All construction of new facilities and alterations of existing facilities in public accommodations, as well as in commercial facilities such as office buildings, must comply with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADDAG) so they are accessible to people with disabilities.
Wyoming state statutes provide for accessibility to all public buildings. W.S. 16-6-501 requires that plans and specifications for construction of, or additions to, all buildings for use by the general public conform with the specifications set forth in the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (No. A117.1-1961, Rev. 1979 which refers to requirements for elevator controls, curb cuts and ramps). This includes all buildings built by the state, governmental subdivisions, school districts, or any other public administrative body within the state. It also states that any contract let or performed in violation of this statute shall be null and void and no funds shall be paid for the performance thereof.
The ADA requires that all facilities designed, constructed or altered by, on behalf of, or for the use of a public entity (local and state governments) must be readily accessible and usable by individual with disabilities, if the construction or alteration is begun after January 26, 1992. Public entities were allowed to choose from two design standards for new construction and alterations. In 1994, at a regular meeting of the Capitol Building Commission (now known as the State Building Commission, (SBC)) the commission adopted the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) as the design standard to follow. The ADA also allows entities to follow standards which are "as stringent" or "more stringent" than the ADAAG. At the time of this publication, no other standards for accessible design were considered as stringent as the ADAAG, including the American National Standards Institute, Inc, A117.1-1961, Rev. 1979 which is the design standard stated in Wyoming Statute, W.S. 16-6-501. A new ADAAG has been drafted and is expected to be enforceable in the summer of 2002. Significant changes to the format and style of ADAAG have been made to provide a guideline that is organized and written in a manner that can be more readily understood, interpreted and applied. The new ADAAG changes will also make the arrangement and format of ADAAG more consistent with model building codes and industry standards.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
The purpose of this grievance procedure is to provide an organized process for handling complaints of unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability in public services and employment provided by the State of Wyoming. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against qualified persons with disabilities in all services, programs, activities and employment provided by state government. The State of Wyoming endorses the clear mandate of the ADA to remove barriers which prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities.
II. EFFECTIVE DATE
October 2, 1992
This procedure applies to the State of Wyoming, Executive Branch, excluding the University of Wyoming. This procedure does not apply to employment related complaints of state employees and is not a substitute for or an alternative to the grievance procedure established by the State of Wyoming Personnel Rules.
A permanent or temporary physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities (e.g., caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, breathing, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning and working); or
1. Disability shall include a record or history of disability (e.g., persons who have a history of mental illness, persons who have had cancer, epilepsy, etc.); or
2. Disability shall include being regarded as having such an impairment (a person who is treated as if they have an impairment, e.g., facial disfigurement, ect.), or having a family, business, social or other relationship or association with qualified person with a disability.
B. Qualified Person with a Disability
1. With respect to public services, a person with a disability who meets the essential eligibility requirement for a specific program, service or activity with or without:
a. reasonable modification to rules, policies, practices; or
b. removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers; or
c. the provision of auxiliary aids and services.
Applicants for State of Wyoming employment.
V. ADA COORDINATORS
Each agency, commission or board shall designate an ADA coordinator. For purposes of handling complaints under this procedure, deputy ADA coordinators may be designated where the agency, commission or board has a large number of employees and/or is geographically divided. The agency, commission or board shall ensure that the agency and state ADA coordinators' name, address and office phone number are easily accessible to persons with disabilities complaining of discrimination.
This procedure is available for use by persons with disabilities to resolve complaints of discrimination on the basis of disability in programs, activities, services and employment provided by the State of Wyoming. It should be used responsibly and only when conditions or circumstances warrant its use.
VII. FIRST LEVEL COMPLAINT
The complainant and/or the complainant's representative shall present a written complaint to the ADA coordinator of the agency, commission or board where the alleged discrimination has occurred within twenty (20) calendar days of the incident. The complainant shall describe the event including an explanation of the reasons why complainant believes that he/she has experienced discrimination and what relief is requested. The ADA coordinator shall within ten (10) calendar days after receiving the complaint, in consultation with the agency director and appropriate staff, reach a decision and communicate the decision in writing to the complainant or complainant's representative.
Agencies, commissions and boards will attempt to settle complaints at the first level. If the complaint is not resolved at the first level, the complainant may seek relief through the second level.
VIII. SECOND LEVEL COMPLAINT BEFORE ADA COMMITTEE
If the complaint cannot be resolved at the first level, the complainant or his or her representative may submit the written complaint to the Office of Administrative Hearings.
The Office of Administrative Hearings shall provide an informal, independent and non-adversarial forum for assistance in the resolution of the complaint.
The services provided by the Office of Administrative Hearings shall be in the nature of mediation and settlement assistance and not those of a contested case evidentiary hearing.
After consideration of the issues, the Office of Administrative Hearings will recommend what it determines to be an appropriate resolution of the matter to the agency against which the complaint was made.
Any costs associated with the provision of these services shall be billed to the affected agency at the standard rate as established by the Director of the Office of Administrative Hearings pursuant to W.S. 9-2-2202 (b) (ii).
All documents generated under this procedure shall be kept in the office of the State ADA Coordinator for a period of no less than five (5) years.
X. STATUTORY REMEDIES
The complainant may file a complaint with:
A. State of Wyoming, Division of Labor Standards, 6101 North Yellowstone, Room 259C, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 82002, (307) 777-7261 when the complaint is employment related.
B. United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1845 Sherman Street, Denver, Colorado, 80203, (303) 866-1300 when the complaint is employment related.
C. United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Public Access Section, P.O. Box 66738, Washington, DC, 20035-9998, TEL: (202)-514-0301 TDD: (202)-514-0383, when the complaint relates to public services, programs or activities.
A. Alternative formats of the State of Wyoming Americans with Disabilities Grievance Procedure may be available upon request.
B. The State of Wyoming Americans with Disabilities Grievance Procedure is an informal procedure, and, thus, does not afford complaints an evidentiary hearing. Available in alternate formats upon request.
During the 1994 budget session of the fifty-second legislature, five million dollars in remaining funds from the GAAP holding account was appropriated for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) projects and improvements of state owned facilities. A statewide evaluation system and review committee was developed to insure costs and appropriateness of projects were taken into consideration. In a regular meeting of the State Building Commission (formerly Capitol Building Commission) on April 4th, 1995, approval of ADA Plans and Procedures established by the ADA Review Committee was initiated.
The ADA Review Committee established that projects for the Department of Commerce, State Parks & Historic Sites would receive priority. This was a result of evaluations and requests made for the accessibility funds that represent nearly one-half of the total ADA appropriated funds. It was and is the intent of the Committee to proceed with bidding Parks, Historic Sites and Capitol Complex projects while continuing to evaluate the remaining projects.
Procedures followed toward meeting the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding architectural (structural) barriers, are that no funds appropriated for ADA accessibility requirements shall be expended until the State Building Commission has established a statewide evaluation system for reviewing each ADA accessibility project for appropriateness at the lowest cost. During a meeting of the State Building Commission on April 4, 1995, approval of ADA Plan/Procedures established by the ADA Review Committee was received. Listed below are the steps that are followed as directed in the statute:
1. Is the recommended approach the most appropriate concerning ADA requirements?
2. Are the cost estimates in line with ADA, Means Cost Estimating Guides, and with current market rates? If not, is there another solution?
3. Has the State Historic Preservation Office reviewed and approved the project for historic preservation/appropriateness?
4. Final approval obtained from the ADA review committee and the release of the project for bidding process.
PUBLIC NOTICE REMINDER
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires publications by public entities to include within the notice the designation of a responsible employee that may be contacted for the benefit of obtaining the information in alternate accessible formats. Publications must be provided in alternate formats such as large print, Braille and audio tape upon the request of a qualified person with a disability. Special fees may not be imposed for these services. A public entity must provide this information not just once, but on an ongoing basis.
Announcements of public meetings, training and activities also need to include this information. This will also urge the host to initially schedule the activity at an accessible facility in an accessible manner. A public notice may be phrased like the following examples:
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, special assistance or alternate formats may be made available upon request by contacting John Doe at 307-777-XXXX or TDD 307-777-XXXX during regular business hours or write to (your address) to make arrangements.
This notice may be available in large print, on audio tape or in Braille. Please contact John Doe at 307-777-XXXX or TTD 307-777-XXXX during regular business or write to (your address).
Persons needing special accommodation to participate in the (public hearing, meeting or activity) should contact this agency's ADA Coordinator, Jane Doe, before July 4, 1998 at 307-777-XXXX during regular business hours. Alternate accessible formats may be available upon request.
If you wish to attend this (meeting, training, etc.) and you require reasonable accommodation, please contact the (name of agency) at (your address and phone number). Communication impaired persons may also contact (name of agency) by contacting Wyoming Relay (TTY) at 1-800-877-9965 or 1-800-9975 for voice.
Please contact us as soon as possible to help us to serve you better.
As you can see, a deadline should be added for requests of assistive devices. This will allow time to arrange for an interpreter, have a large print version, or other effective methods of communication.
Please keep in mind: Simple fonts work best.
Use 16-point type or larger (18 is best).
Use high-contrast backgrounds, black lettering on yellow or off-white paper provides maximum legibility, with less glare than plain white paper. This benefits everyone, including people with limited vision.
This notice is provided by the State of Wyoming, Department of Administration and Information, Construction Management Division, ADA Compliance Section as a public service announcement.