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To be covered as a public accommodation under Title III of the ADA, a building must fall within at least one of the following 12 categories:

  1. Places of lodging (for example, inns, hotels, motels) except for owner-occupied establishments renting fewer than six rooms
  2. Establishments serving food or drink (for example, restaurants and bars)
  3. Places of exhibition or entertainment (for example, cinemas, theaters, concert halls, stadiums)
  4. Places of public gathering (for example, auditoriums, convention centers, lecture halls)
  5. Sales or rental establishments (for example, bakeries, grocery stores, hardware stores, shopping centers)
  6. Service establishments (for example, coin-operated laundries, dry-cleaners, banks, barber shops, beauty shops, travel services, shoe repair services, funeral parlors, gas stations, offices of accountants or lawyers, pharmacies, insurance offices, professional offices of health care providers, hospitals)
  7. Public transportation terminals, depots or stations (not including airports or related places)
  8. Places of public display or collection (for example, museums, libraries, galleries)
  9. Places of recreation (for example, parks, zoos, amusement parks)
  10. Places of education (for example, nursery schools, elementary, secondary, undergraduate or postgraduate private schools)
  11. Social service center establishments (for example, day care centers, senior citizen centers, homeless shelters, food banks, adoption agencies)
  12. Places of exercise or recreation (for example, gymnasiums, health spas, bowling alleys, golf courses)

No. You do not need to register your seizure alert dog with in Illinois. There are a handful of laws that protect you as an individual who has a service animal.

Under the ADA, there is no certification/registration requirement for your service animal. To be protected by the law, your dog must meet the ADA’s definition of service animal, which is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks directly related to your disability. The DOJ has a FAQ document about service animals and the ADA that is very helpful.

Illinois also has two state laws called the White Cane Law and the Service Animal Access Act, neither of which require you to provide identification or certification that your dog is a service animal. The Illinois Attorney General’s Office has a brochure about services animals, the ADA and state law that is helpful.

A public entity must ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from services, programs and activities because buildings are inaccessible. This standard is known as “program accessibility.” Public entities do not necessarily have to make all buildings accessible. They may:

  • Alter buildings
  • Buy or construct other buildings
  • Move a service or program to an accessible space

A state or local government must eliminate all requirements for participation in programs, activities and services that screen out or tend to screen out people with disabilities, unless it can show that the requirements are necessary.

Yes.  A public entity must reasonably modify its policies, practices or procedures to avoid discrimination, unless a modification would fundamentally alter the nature of its service, program or activity.

Employment discrimination is prohibited against “qualified individuals with disabilities.” This includes applicants and employees. A person is considered to have a “disability” if he or she:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Has a record of such an impairment
  • Is regarded as having such an impairment

People who experience discrimination because they have an association or relationship with a person with a disability also are protected.

A qualified person with a disability meets legitimate skill, experience, education or other requirements of a job, and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

This depends on the stage of employment:

  1. Pre-offer: An employer may not ask or require an applicant to take a medical exam before making a job offer. It cannot ask questions that would reveal an applicant’s disability. An employer may, however, ask questions about the ability to perform specific job functions and may, with certain limitations, ask a person with a disability to describe or demonstrate how he or she would perform these functions.
  2. Post-offer: An employer may condition a job offer on the satisfactory result of a post-offer medical examination or medical inquiry if this is required of all entering employees in the same job category.  If a person is not hired because a post-offer medical examination or inquiry reveals a disability, the reason for not hiring must be job-related and consistent with business necessity.
  3. Current employees: After a person starts work, a medical examination or inquiry of an employee must be job-related and consistent with business necessity. Employers may conduct:
    • Employee medical examinations where there is evidence of a job performance or safety problem
    • Examinations required by other federal laws
    • Examinations to determine fitness to perform a particular job
    • Voluntary examinations that are part of employee health programs

Before you can file a lawsuit in court under the ADA, you must exhaust your administrative remedies by filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You must file within 300 days of the adverse employment action.

You may also exhaust your administrative remedies by filing a charge of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. You must file within 180 days of the adverse employment action.

Federal employees have a different enforcement process.

In addition, depending on where you live and/or work, you may be able to file a charge of discrimination with your local civil rights commission. This typically does not count as “exhausting” your administrative remedies, but provides another forum for you to seek relief.

Available remedies include:

  • Hiring
  • Reinstatement
  • Promotion
  • Back pay
  • Front pay
  • Restored benefits
  • Reasonable accommodation
  • Attorneys’ fees
  • Expert witness fees
  • Court costs

Compensatory and punitive damages also may be available in cases of intentional discrimination or where an employer fails to make a good faith effort to provide a reasonable accommodation.


Last updated: October 24, 2018

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