August 4, 1999
The Honorable Mary L. Landrieu
United States Senator
Room 326, Federal Building
707 Florida Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801
Dear Senator Landrieu:
This letter responds to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, xxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx, regarding the fine she received for parking in a space designated for individuals with disabilities.
The Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division enforces titles I, II, and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Title I protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination in employment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles most employment-related complaints. Title II protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in all of the services, programs, and activities of State and local government entities. Title III protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination by most privately owned businesses that offer goods and services to the public.
xxx xxxxxxxxx letter does not specify the location of the parking area in question, but the assumption is that it is on church property. Religious organizations or entities controlled by religious organizations, including places of worship, however, are specifically exempted from coverage under the ADA. The exclusion of religious entities set forth in the title III implementing regulation is derived from section 307 of the ADA, Public Law 101-336, codified at 42 U.S.C. 12187. This section states that "[t}he provisions of this title [Title III Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities] shall not apply to ... religious organizations or entities controlled by religious entities, including places of worship."
With respect to designated parking, the ADA only requires that public facilities and places of public accommodation provide accessible parking spaces for their clients and customers. The enforcement of parking regulations that govern the use of these accessible spaces, however, is a matter governed by State or local law. The ADA does not contain provisions specifically requiring law enforcement officials to ensure that accessible parking spaces are occupied only by persons with disabilities. Accordingly, the problem encountered by xxx xxxxxxx, whether the parking space was on or off the church's property, would be handled by local law enforcement officials.
Because the enforcement of parking regulations is a matter that falls within the jurisdiction of local officials, this Department cannot assist xxx xxxxxxx. Your constituent, however, may wish to continue working with the appropriate city offices that have the authority to handle this matter.
I hope this information is helpful to you in responding to your constituent. Please do not hesitate to contact the Department if we can be of assistance in other matters.
Bill Lann Lee
Civil Rights Division>