August 4, 1998
The Honorable Ted Strickland
Member, U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Congressman Strickland:
This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Mr. xxxxxxxxxxx. Mr. xxxxxxx has asked you to determine if the Kardex Systems "Lektriever," complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Please excuse the delay in responding.
The ADA is a comprehensive civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, in transportation, in public services, and in the operation of places of public accommodation and commercial facilities. Among the ADA's requirements is a mandate for all public facilities, places of public accommodation, and commercial facilities to be designed, constructed, or altered in compliance with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (ADA Standards), which were cited in Mr. xxxxxxx's letter to you.
The ADA Standards set the number and type of fixed building elements that must be accessible. The standards also establish the technical specifications that accessible elements must meet. The ADA does not apply to manufacturers of products such as the Lektriever. However, the ADA requires covered entities, in selecting products for use in new or altered accessible spaces to ensure that fixed equipment purchased complies with the ADA Standards.
In addition, the Department of Justice regulations implementing titles II and III of the ADA require covered entities to ensure that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in, or receive the benefits of, the programs and services that they offer. This provision requires covered entities to purchase and use accessible equipment when it is necessary to provide equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities.
Mr. xxxxxxx's letter to you indicates that the Lektriever system does not comply with the provisions of the ADA Standards that establish "reach range" or knee clearance requirements. Therefore, the ADA would not permit the use of the Lektriever in a space that is required to be accessible or in a situation where the use of accessible equipment is required as a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a disability. However, nothing in the ADA precludes the use of inaccessible equipment in spaces that are not required to be accessible.
I hope that this information is useful to you in addressing the concerns of your constituent.
Bill Lann Lee
Civil Rights Division>