When is a Covered Entity Not Required to Provide Specified Services?

The regulations for implementing Titles II and III of the ADA include “defenses.” These are circumstances in which the covered entity is not required to provide specified services. For example, a covered entity is not required to provide auxiliary aids and services if it can demonstrate that they would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity, or in undue financial and administrative burdens. 

However, in this circumstance, the covered entity must still take other action that would ensure “equally effective alternate access.” In short, individuals with disabilities must receive the benefits of services provided by the covered entity to the maximum extent possible.

The “alternative access” is not required to produce the identical result or level of achievement for people without disabilities. However, it must afford equal opportunity. This means it must be reasonably possible for a person with a disability to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement, in the most integrated setting appropriate to the person’s needs. 

Read DOJ settlement agreements related to Defenses

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