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RGMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 16347
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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My company runs a sci fi convention and we've been contacted

Customer Question

My company runs a sci fi convention and we've been contacted by a potential customer who is asking for captioning of the event which consists of mainly celebrity speakers. While we have made deaf interpreters available in the past, she does not sign read and captioning is a challenge. We do have two large screens to show video but no real way to quickly type celebrity non scripted dialogue, often consisting of more than one or two guest speakers at a time.
We want to be ADA compliant but this request seems virtually impossible to employ, though I have suggested we offer her a complimentary seat for a friend who might be abel to type the dialogue onto an iPAD quickly enough for them.
Please let me know what the law requires. I also notice that at the San Diego Comicon they only supply sign interpreters for the largest panels, how do they make that distinction, which disenfranchises deaf customers who want to attend smaller lectures?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  RGMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. The ADA doesn't require that all disabilities be accommodated whatever the cost. Rather, The regulation states that a public accommodation "shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication" with individuals with disabilities. 28 C.F.R. § 36.303(c). Furthermore, a public accommodation:. . . shall take those steps that may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that taking those steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations being offered or would result in an undue burden, i.e., significant difficulty or expense. 28 C.F.R. § 36.303(a).The U.S. Department of Justice has defined the term "auxiliary aids and services" for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to include qualified interpreters. 28 C.F.R. § 36.303(b)(1). The term "auxiliary aids and services" also includes amplification, assistive listening systems, oral interpreters, captioning, and other methods of making aurally delivered material available to persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The regulation defines a qualified interpreter as:. . . an interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary. 28 C.F.R. § 36.104. Again, if it "would result in an undue burden, i.e., significant difficulty or expense" it's not necessary. So while larger panels at other conventions can be accommodated (because the "payoff" is greater) smaller ones would require a significantly larger number of actual interpreters, and would be much more expensive. If it's impractical given the costs, etc... then it's not necessary to be in compliance with the law. Again, the law does not require accommodation whatever the cost, but does consider cost and feasibility. Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!