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Accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act

REQUESTING REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION:

OAH complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, (42 U.S.C.A. § 12101 et seq.), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C.A. § 794 et seq.), the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code, § 51 et seq.) and all laws governing accessibility of government services to persons with disabilities. A party or participant to a case, such as a witness, requiring reasonable accommodation to participate in the mediation or hearing may contact the assigned calendar staff identified above, or the OAH Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator, Nicole Buckowski, Staff Attorney, (916) 263- 0880.

If you have a disability that restricts your ability to participate in a legal proceeding before OAH, you may request a reasonable and appropriate accommodation by contacting the local office assigned to your case in General Jurisdiction matters or the calendar clerk assigned to your case in Special Education disputes.  The request should include a statement of the impairment, a description of the accommodation sought, and an explanation of why the accommodation is needed.  This request can be submitted using the Request for Accommodation by a Person with Disabilities form (DGS OAH-31), which can be found at the link: Form DGS-OAH 31.  OAH may request additional information about the qualifying impairment in order to determine the most appropriate accommodation under the circumstances.  This form is available in other languages.  For Arabic, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog, or Vietnamese please go to Forms under Special Education.  For all other languages please submit a request in your native language and OAH will obtain a translated version.

Accessibility requests should be made as far in advance as possible to give OAH time to review and process the request.  OAH cannot provide legal assistance or advice.

The Office of Administrative Hearings is dedicated to ensuring that all qualified individuals with disabilities have equal access to our legal proceedings.  Set forth below are some questions designed to provide the public with information about accessibility at OAH and are not intended as legal advice.  For more information about accessibility, please contact contact the assigned calendar staff identified above, or the OAH Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator, Nicole Buckowski, Staff Attorney, (916) 263- 0880

ACCESSIBILITY OF HEARING AND MEDIATION FACILITIES:

The named local educational agency shall provide facilities for the scheduled mediation and hearing that fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C.A. § 12101 et seq.), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C.A. § 794 et seq.), the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code, § 51 et seq.) and all laws governing accessibility of government facilities to persons with disabilities. The named local educational agency shall certify that the facilities used for this case comply with the law. If the signed Local Education Agency Certification Form or a comparable certification is not received by OAH within five days of the date of this order, OAH may schedule the case at another legally compliant location and report this failure to the Department of Education. If the assigned ALJ determines a location provided by the local education agency does not fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C.A. § 12101 et seq.), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C.A. § 794 et seq.), the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code, § 51 et seq.) and all laws governing accessibility of government facilities to persons with disabilities, the ALJ may order the proceedings moved or continued, and report the failure to the Department of Education.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Q. Who is a qualified individual with a disability?

A qualified individual with a disability is a person covered by the ADA or the Unruh Civil Rights Act. A qualified individual has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major bodily functions or major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Examples of major life activities are caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

Examples of disabilities include mobility or other motor impairments, psychological and mental illness, visual impairments, and deafness and hearing loss. Temporary disabilities may also qualify. 

Individuals with qualifying disabilities may receive reasonable accommodations to provide them with equal access to OAH proceedings.


Q: Which qualified individuals may request a reasonable accommodations? 
Any attorney, party, witness, or other person with an interest in attending any proceeding before OAH may make a request for accommodation. 


Q: How do I request an accommodation? 
You may request an accommodation in writing or orally. Requests should submitted to the local office assigned to your case in a General Jurisdiction matter, the calendar clerk assigned to your case in a Special Education matter

The request should include a statement of the impairment, a description of the accommodation sought, and an explanation of why the accommodation is needed. This request can be submitted using the Request for Accommodation by a Person with Disabilities form (DGS-OAH 31), which can be found at the link: Form DGS-OAH 31.  OAH may request additional information about the qualifying impairment in order to determine the most appropriate accommodation under the circumstances.


Q: How will OAH handle my request?
Your request will be handled by the OAH office handling your case or the OAH ADA coordinator. You will be notified if additional information about your impairment is needed in order to determine what type of accommodation should be provided. You will be promptly notified as to whether your request is granted or denied, or whether an alternative accommodation is being provided to you.  


Q: When do I need to make my request?
Requests regarding accessibility should be made as far in advance as possible before the date of the proceedings, so that OAH has adequate time to arrange for the accommodation. 


Q: What type of accommodation can OAH provide? 
The type of accommodation will depend on the requestor’s impairment. Accommodations may include making reasonable modifications in practices, or providing auxiliary aids and services, equipment, devices, or materials. 

OAH cannot provide an accommodation that would fundamentally alter the nature of OAH’s services, activities, or programs or cause an undue financial or administrative burden. OAH is also prohibited from exceeding the law in granting a request for an accommodation. For instance, OAH cannot extend the statute of limitations for hearing a case. OAH is restricted from providing legal counsel, personal equipment or services, and transportation as accommodations. 


Q: Can OAH offer a different accommodation from what I asked? 
Yes. OAH may offer a different, or alternative, accommodation than what was requested. OAH is required to find an accommodation that will enable full participation in the legal proceedings, which means that the accommodation provided may not be your first choice. 


Q: Can OAH deny my request? 
Yes. Requests for accommodation can be denied if: 1) the requestor has failed to meet the requirements as a qualified individual with disabilities as covered under the ADA, or 2) providing the accommodation would cause an excessive financial burden, or 3) providing the accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of services provided being provided.


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