Chapter 8: Legal Rights and Legal Assistance Resources
Section 1: Disability Laws and Complaint Procedures
A Guide to Disability Rights Laws. A 21-page booklet that provides a brief overview of ten Federal laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities and provides information about the federal agencies to contact for more information.
The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination in air transportation by domestic and foreign air carriers against qualified individuals with physical or mental impairments. It applies only to air carriers that provide regularly scheduled services for hire to the public. Requirements address a wide range of issues including boarding assistance and certain accessibility features in newly built aircraft and new or altered airport facilities. People may enforce rights under the Air Carrier Access Act by filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation, or by bringing a lawsuit in Federal court.
The Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) was enacted in 1968 and requires that buildings and facilities that are designed, constructed, altered or leased with federal funds must be accessible. Section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act (amended) established the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (ATBCB or The Access Board) and designated among its duties the development of access standards under the ABA and enforcement of the ABA.
Filing a Complaint
Complaints under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) can be filed with the Access Board through an on-line form, follow this link to form.; by e-mail, send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail or fax, send to:
Compliance and Enforcement
U.S. Access Board
1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1111
To get an investigation started, the Access Board needs:
- the name and address of the facility; and
- a brief description of the access problems or barriers.
Additional information about the facility, such as when it was built or known sources of Federal funding, is helpful but not necessary. Personal information, including one's name, is optional and, where provided, is kept confidential. Nonetheless, complaints can be filed anonymously.
Americans with Disabilities Act Employer Information For information about ADA requirements affecting employment and small businesses follow this link, www.eeoc.gov/employers/index.cfm. Or you can follow this link to the EEOC's Disability Discrimination webpage.
Oklahoma EEOC Area Office: 210 Park Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73102, 405-231-4911 Voice or 405-231-5745 TTY.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:
- Race or color,
- National origin,
- Familial status (including children in the household) or
Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In some cases, there is an exemption for owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
In the sale and rental of housing, no one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap:
- Refuse to rent or sell housing;
- Refuse to negotiate for housing;
- Make housing unavailable or deny a dwelling;
- Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling;
- Provide different housing services or facilities;
- Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental;
- For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting); or
- Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.
In mortgage lending, no one may take any of the these actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap:
- Refuse to make a mortgage loan;
- Refuse to provide information regarding loans;
- Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees;
- Discriminate in appraising property;
- Refuse to purchase a loan; or
- Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.
It is also illegal for anyone to threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right. No one may advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.
If you have a disability as defined in the Act and rent your home or apartment, your landlord may not refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for a disabled person to use the housing. Nor may he refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your own expense, if necessary for the disabled resident to use the housing. The landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move. Important Note: If you live in federally-assisted housing, the housing provider must pay for modifications.
In buildings that are ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, and have an elevator and four or more units:
- Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities;
- Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs;
- All units must have an accessible route into and through the unit;
- Units must have accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls;
- Units must have reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and
- Kitchens and bathrooms must be usable by people in wheelchairs.
If a building with four or more units has no elevator and will be ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, these standards apply to ground floor units, but not the upper floors.
There are several ways in which a fair housing complaint can be filed.
- A person can use HUD's on-line form by following this link.
- A person may call the toll free number at 1 (800) 669-9777.
- A person may print out the form by following this link and mailing it to: Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Room 5204, 451 Seventh St. SW, Washington, DC 20410-2000.
- A person may write a letter that includes: your name and address; the name and address of the person your complaint is about; the address of the house or apartment you were trying to rent or buy; the date when this incident occurred; a short description of what happened; and then mail it to the Fair Housing Hub closest to you. For Oklahoma that is the Fort Worth Regional Office of FHEO, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 801 Cherry Street, 27th Floor, P.O. Box 2905, Fort Worth, Texas 76113-2905.
The Client Assistance Program (CAP) is an advocacy program established by Section 112 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Each State and Territory of the United States has a CAP to help individuals with disabilities get the services they need to prepare for, keep or get employment from programs funded under the Act.
United Spinal Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization. Their mission is to provide expertise, create access to resources and strengthen hope thereby enabling people with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D) to fulfill their potential as active members of their communities.
Accessible Air Travel: A Guide for People With Disabilities - Although air travel today is available to most people, barriers to access still exist. A passenger with a disability may encounter obstacles just to reach an airplane seat. To eliminate these hindrances, the federal government passed the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (ACAA). It is vitally important for travelers with disabilities and their companions, travel agents and others involved in air travel to know what to expect from the time an airline reservation is booked to the moment the flight touches down. The ACAA affects all aspects of air travel. This booklet provides people who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids with all the information they need to have a safe and enjoyable flight. Direct Link: http://www.unitedspinal.org/pdf/2015-accessible-air-travel-brochure.pdf .