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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 19296
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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I am president of a deaf service center. Can you tell me in

Customer Question

I am president of a deaf service center. Can you tell me in the ADA law, under Title III entities, the term "encouraged" is used: Title III entities are ENCOURAGED to consult with the person with a disability to discuss what aid or service is appropriate. Whereas Title II entities "are required" to give primary consideration to the choice of aid or service requesting by the person who has the communication disability.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Florida
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: we are in Pensacola, FL. The Medical Center Clinic is a large facility. They constantly try to use a signer (a former employee of the Clinic) who does not have the receptive language (she cannot read American Sign Language as signed by native Deaf people) and therefore the deaf patients have to "voice" when she "interprets. She has no credentials as an interpreter and the Deaf community feels she is not "ADA Qualified" to interpret. The Clinic insists that they are "providing her" and if the Deaf patients do not like if, they have to provide their own qualified interpreter at their own expense.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Hello: This isCustomer Welcome to JustAnswer! I am reviewing your post, and I will post my response very shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 11 months ago.

I have carefully reviewed your post. However, I did not see a specific question. What is your specific question?

Thank you for your cooperation,

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
We are trying to explain to the doctors and administrators at The Medical Center Clinic in Pensacola FL that the sign language interpreter they contract to interpret for their patients is not a qualified interpreter per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so we are gathering documentation to give them. The first thing we have for them is the ADA definition of a "qualified interpreter". The ADA states: "A "qualified" interpreter is someone who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively (i.e., understanding what the person with the disability is saying/signing) and expressively (i.e., having the skill needed to covey information back to that person) using any necessary specialized vocabulary."
So we have that. Additionally we have the U.S. Department of Justice's 2014 revised regulations for Title II and Title III entities ADA Requirements for Effective Communication. That publication states under "Who Decides Which Aid or Service in Needed?", title II entities are "REQUIRED" to give primary consideration to the of aid or service requested by the person who has a communication disability. The term "required" is great! But under title III entities, the same document says "Title III entities are ENCOURAGED to consult with the person with a disability to discuss what aid or service is appropriate" Both words, "required" and "encouraged" are in bold font in the document. I understand the federal government can require title II entities to give primary consideration as to the accommodation, in this case the interpreter, to the deaf or hard-of-hearing (D/HH) person because title II entities are government businesses. And I understand the federal government cannot "require" that a title III entity (private businesses and not-for-profits) does the same. But I'm interested in what meaning the term "encouraged" holds in a legal context. In a court case involving D/HH persons with a complaint against a title III entity (like The Medical Center Clinic), do attorneys and judges have a more in depth meaning to the term "encouraged"? Do they equate it to "required" but in application to title III entities. I am wondering this because I am aware that in a legal context the term SHALL means "must" or "will do so". And I am hopeful that we can share with title III entities that the sentence from this document that tells title III entities they are "encouraged" to consider the D/HH person's judgement/opinion as to the proposed "interpreter's" ability to provide "effective communication".
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I realized I have failed to give you some background information that may be of assistance to you. The Medical Center Clinic has a former employee who knows some sign language. It is the woman they contract with to provide sign language interpretation. But this woman holds no credentials as a state qualified interpreter for the Deaf, much less any national level credentials. Florida does not at this time have any state law requiring sign language interpreters to hold any kind of credentials that prove their competence and skill. Over the last 5 years, deaf people in the area have repeatedly complained about the woman The Medical Center Clinic wants to use as their interpreter. The most recent incident happening now is a deaf couple was told by their pain management doctor at the Clinic that they provide this woman and if the deaf couple "doesn't like her" they can provide their own interpreter (at their cost-which the ADA prohibits).
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for the information.

The word "encouraged" means that the Title III entities do not have to. They can try or make reasonable efforts to provide the services, but they are not required or mandated to do so.