NEWS FROM NW ADA IDAHO
How to Start a Dialogue to Make Change
Develop a Plan of Action- If you believe that you have been denied access to a place of business, the first thing for you to consider is what steps you should take and what order you are going to take them, so the access problem can be effectively be eliminated. Remember: whatever you decide to do, YOU MUST SAVE ALL DOCUMENTATION!
- Identify the accessibility problem – Clearly identify what barrier(s) exists that prevents you from accessing the particular place. You can take pictures, make a written description, take measurements, etc. It is important to remember that whatever your method of documentation is, make sure that you are clear and specific. For example, if a parking space is not marked properly explain what the issue is and why this keeps you from entering the business. Take pictures of the inaccessible parking spaces.
2. Consider the solutions – Have specific details for your proposed solutions to speed up the process. When a business asks you: ‘What do you want me to do about it?’ Make sure you have an answer for them. Think about what you need in order to make the j location accessible: To make a parking space into a van accessible space, stripes need to be painted clearly meeting the 132 inches minimum width. The space must also also be marked with a sign and the correct inches minimum wide. The space must have an adjacent access aisle that is 60 wording and picture. (For further information contact the NW ADA Center-Idaho.)
- Figure out who should receive your letter – Many accessibility problems deal with a private business. You can start by talking to a customer service representative at the particular site if possible. This may be a cashier or a front desk receptionist. S/he may have a contact number or address for a manager in charge of such complaints. If not, then you should contact the senior manager at the company.
- Be persistent – In your initial written contact, make sure that you include a date by which you expect a response (see sample letter.) If you do not hear back from the person whom you originally contacted, try sending a second letter. If he or she continues to refuse to speak to you, then you may eventually have to move on to filing a complaint, but you should consider filing a complaint only as a last resort.
- Always be polite, firm not angry– stay calm – Although you may feel anger or frustration with people who are not being helpful, and in some cases being unhelpful, it is extremely important that you stay calm. If you give the business some reason to say that you are being unreasonable, they probably will be unreasonable, despite the fact that you are making a very reasonable request.
- Keep all documentation – This really does mean ALL documentation however trivial it may seem at the time. If your complaint ends up requiring legal action, an enforcement agency will need as much information as you can give them, every piece of correspondence, business cards, tickets, receipts, records of phone conversations, names of people, etc. We suggest that you keep either a file or a small box in which you can store everything.
7. Who Are You Going to Call? At anytime you are not sure what to do or you cannot reach a resolution with the people you have been communicating with, contact the Northwest ADA Center-Idaho and we will listen to you and advise you. Northwest ADA Center-Idaho at 208-841-9422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Communicate Your Issue
The following template and sample letter will help you discuss your issue with the business.
- Your Name
- Your Address
- Your City, State Zip Code
- Name of Contact Person Title, if available Business Name
- Street Address
- City, State Zip Code
Dear (Contact Person):
On (date), I visited (name of place) at (location including address). Unfortunately, I was unable to access your business because (name the barrier(s) you encountered and explain the situation in which you encountered them).
I believe that these problems need to be addressed in the following way:
(Explain what exactly needs to be done for them to remedy the situation.)
If you would like more information about the Americans with Disabilities Act Requirements please contact the Northwest ADA Center-Idaho at 208-841-9422 or by email: email@example.com.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your prompt response by (2 weeks from the date you send the letter), and to improved access to your facility.
Dana Gover, MPA, and ACTCP Certification, ADA Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator
For more information about ADA Technical Assistance visit the NW ADA Center Idaho website: nwadacenter.org/idaho
Phone: Voice and Text 208-841-9422
Idaho Relay Service: 711