Title II Basics


This post contains information and resources related to the basic components of what it means to comply with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title II), which primarily applies to state and local governments. If you have an issue with your state and/or local government, you will probably find a good start on figuring out what you can do by going through the resources in this post. The information provided here will also help you understand what your local government is required to do to ensure its activities, programs, and services are accessible to those of us who have disabilities.

If you use assistive technology, like a screen reader, you may want to know the individual sections of this post begin at the heading two level.

Post Roadmap

  • Code of Federal Regulations
  • Defining a Public Entity
  • Project Civic Access
  • ADA coordinator
  • Notice of rights
  • Grievance procedure
  • Self-evaluation
  • Transition plan

Code of Federal Regulations

  • Laws don’t often contain all their legal requirements.
  • Congress regularly directs federal agencies to develop (promulgate) what the law will require.
  • Under the ADA, several federal agencies have developed what it means to comply with the law.
  • When a federal agency establishes what constitutes compliance, those requirements are published in the Code of Federal regulations.
  • When I cite to a section of law (either during the episodes or on the website) I will almost always be citing to the Code of Federal Regulations.
  • Often, the Code of Federal Regulations is referred to as C.F.R.
  • When I refer to a section of C.F.R, I’m referring to a section in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Defining a Public Entity

  • A public entity is defined in 28 C.F.R. § 34.104.
  • Section 35.104 is the list of definitions under the ADA.
  • The definition of public entity has three parts:
    • any state or local government
    • any department, special purpose district, or instrumentality of state, states, or local government
    • the National Railroad Passenger Corporation and other commuter authorities
  • All public entities with at least 50 employees should appoint their own ADA coordinator and have their own grievance procedure.
  • Most local governments, if they have an ADA coordinator at all, do not have one in every agency or department.

Project Civic Access

  • Project Civic Access is the primary way the Department of Justice (DOJ) enforces Title II.
  • It has conducted audits of communities in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.
  • It has done more than 200 audits in total.
  • The agreements are posted online to help communities come into compliance with the ADA.
  • The settlement between DOJ and the City and County of Denver, Colorado is representative of what is typically covered.
  • The settlement includes:
    • Notice
    • Grievance procedure
    • ADA coordinator
    • Physical accessibility of facilities
    • Accessible web content
    • Emergency preparedness

ADA Coordinator

Information about the requirements for an ADA coordinator, to provide public notice of rights, and grievance procedures can be found in Chapter Two of DOJ’s Title II Tool Kit.

  • The requirement for an ADA coordinator is established in 28 C.F.R. § 35.107(a).
  • Public entities with at least 50 employees must designate a “responsible employee”.
  • Most people refer to the responsible employee as an ADA coordinator.
  • The ADA coordinator is supposed to investigate and resolve complaints filed under Title II and ensure compliance.
  • The law does not specifically list any qualifications an ADA coordinator must have.
  • Every public entity is required to notify the public of their ADA coordinator and provide that person’s contact information.

Notice of Rights

  • Notice of rights is established in 28 C.F.R. § 35.106.
  • The notice requirement applies to all public entities regardless of number of employees
  • The notice should include the following:
    • employment
    • effective communication
    • reasonable modifications
    • no surcharges
    • filing complaints
  • The notice Should be published in all facilities, on the website, and included in event notices.
  • The notice must be available in alternative formats

Grievance Procedure

  • The grievance procedure requirement is established in 28 C.F.R. § 35.107(b).
  • Every public entity with at least 50 employees is required to adopt and publish a grievance procedure.
  • The grievance procedure is to allow for the “prompt and equitable” resolution of complaints filed under Title II.
  • The DOJ sample grievance procedure calls for the following:
    • the complaint filed preferably in writing
    • date of and description of the problem
    • should be submitted by the grievant or their designee within 60 days of the discrimination
    • Meeting within 15 days of complaint being received
    • Offer appeal process
    • Correspondence are to be accessible (alternative formats)


The self-evaluation is an examination of a public entity’s activities, programs, and services for accessibility to people with disabilities.

  • The self-evaluation requirement is established in 28 C.F.R. § 35.105.
  • The Deadline for completion was January 26, 1993.
  • It is required of all Public entities regardless of number of employees.
  • People with disabilities must be given a chance to comment.
  • If there are more than 50 employees, it must be available for public inspection for three years.
  • Documentation to include
    • list of people consulted
    • facilities inspected
    • description of made modifications
  • If a Self-evaluation was completed under Section 504 it is sufficient.
  • There is no requirement for updating the self-evaluation.

Transition Plan

The transition plan is a public entities schedule to remove physical barriers that must be removed to achieve programmatic access. .

  • The transition plan is established in 28 C.F.R. § 35.150(d).
  • Public entities with 50 or more employees must complete a transition plan.
  • Transition plans were to be completed by July 26, 1992.
  • All barriers were to be removed by July 26, 1995.
  • A transition plan should include the following:
    • identify physical barriers
    • Describe how barriers will be removed
    • Set forth a schedule
    • A transition plan should name the person in charge of compliance.

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