Government - Public Entities

Under State and Federal Law, government agencies, also known as public entities, must provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from its programs. Services provided to persons with disabilities must be as effective in affording equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement as those provided to others. The laws apply to all state and local Government programs, activities and services regardless of funding sources.

For public entities, program access is not limited to making facilities physically accessible. Adhering to program access requirements includes effective communication practices, proper public meeting protocols, accessible signage, and the designation of a responsible employee to serve as contact for concerns or grievances and other aspects of program services that mere physical accessibility does not fulfill.

Public entities are required to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communications with individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the program or service or in an undue burden. Auxiliary aids include taped texts, Braille materials, large print materials, captioning and other methods of making audio and visual media available to people with disabilities.

The effective communication rules applies to public entities using the Internet for communications regarding their programs, goods or services since they must be prepared to offer those communications via an accessible medium.

Also, public entities must adhere to all non-discrimination laws and regulations regarding employment of people with disabilities.