Settlement Agreement Under The Americans With Disabilities Act Between The United States Of America And City Of Raleigh

  1. The parties to this Settlement Agreement (Agreement) are the United States of America and the City of Raleigh (City).
  2. This Agreement resolves a complaint filed with the Department of Justice (Department) under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12131-12134, and its implementing regulations, 28 C.F.R. pt. 35. Department of Justice Complaint Number DJ 204-54-61 was filed by XX XXX. The complaint was investigated by the Department under the authority granted by section 203 of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ァ 12132.

Jurisdiction

  1. The City is a public entity within the meaning of section 201 of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ァ 12131(1). The City operates the 9-1-1 telephone emergency service system for Raleigh, North Carolina, and the surrounding area which include the residence of XX XXX.
  2. XX XXX is an individual with a disability within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. ァ 12102(2).

Complaint

  1. The Department contends that the City discriminated against XX XXX on the basis of her hearing disability by operating its emergency 9-1-1 system in a manner that denied her direct, effective, and equal access to the 9-1-1 system and by failing to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures relating to its emergency 9-1-1 system to avoid discrimination on the basis of a hearing disability. The City denies that it discriminated against Ms. XXX. By signing this agreement, the City does not admit a violation of the ADA or its implementing regulations and this agreement should not be construed as an admission of any violation.

Agreement

  1. To avoid unnecessary and costly litigation, the parties have conferred and agreed to the provisions set forth in paragraphs 7 through 24, below.
  2. General Agreement. The City shall provide telephone emergency services for users of telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD), also called teletypewriters, that are as effective as those provided for persons who make voice calls in terms of response time, response quality, hours of operation, and all other features offered, including automatic number identification, automatic location identification, and automatic call distribution. Each call taker shall query every silent, open line call, and each disconnected call in which it is not certain if the call was a TDD call, as a potential TDD call.
  3. Equipment Maintenance, Testing and Repair. Within ten (10) days of the effective date of this Agreement the City shall commence regular and routine maintenance and testing of the TDD-compatible telephone emergency system at the City's Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center (ECC), including the multiplexer printer and the audiotape recording device, at least as often as voice telephone equipment, but at a minimum, every thirty (30) days. The City shall promptly and effectively repair any equipment malfunction that affects TDD calls, and shall require any contractors the City uses for equipment malfunction to employ equally effective methods. The City shall make record of the maintenance, testing, testing results, and repairs performed, and shall retain that information for at least one year from the date of the maintenance, test, and repair.
  4. Equipment Purchase. The City has already purchased additional TDD keyboards sufficient so that all call-taking positions in the ECC, including positions of dispatchers who may take overflow emergency calls when all dedicated call-takers are busy, are continuously equipped with a TDD keyboard. Every person who takes emergency calls from the public under any circumstances will have his or her own TDD equipment and keyboard. The City agrees to follow the ADA and all other applicable laws as they are amended from time to time. The City agrees to follow 9-1-1 and Telephone Emergency Assistance guidelines contained in technical assistance guidance documents published by the United States Justice Department, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section. The City also specifically agrees to follow the document entitled Americans With Disabilities Act Access for 9-1-1 and Telephone Emergency Services, a copy of which is attached as Exhibit 1.
  5. Operating Procedures. Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City shall amend the General Operating Procedures of the Departmental Operating Instructions for the ECC so that the main body of the procedures affirmatively provides:
    1. that TDD keyboards shall remain continuously attached to the computer port for each call-taking position;
    2. that there are currently three types of TDD calls which a call taker may receive, namely, a TDD call emitting a recorded, spoken announcement that a TDD call is being placed, a TDD call emitting audible tones when a TDD caller presses a key or the space bar, and a TDD call that is perceived by the call taker as a silent, open line call because the caller's equipment does not recognize the call has been answered until the call taker sends a TDD response;
    3. that each silent, open line call and each disconnected call in which it is not certain if the call was a TDD call must be queried as a potential TDD call, and if a call taker responds to a silent call by speaking instead of sending a TDD response, a TDD caller may hang up and try another call, so that a TDD response must be sent promptly after obtaining no response from a caller to a spoken inquiry;
    4. that no space bar or key pressing may be required of TDD callers for ECC call takers to implement TDD call-taking procedures;
    5. that the abbreviations attached hereto as Exhibit 2 are included among the appropriate abbreviations to use when responding to TDD and relayed calls;
    6. that it is the position of the Department of Justice that the requirements of the ADA are not met by merely dispatching police or sheriff officials to the origins of all silent, open line calls in lieu of querying the lines with a TDD and the City agrees to take the steps set out herein in addition to dispatching assistance to appropriate calls and
    7. that for complaints on service, whether or not denoted by the term "complaint" and whether or not filed directly by the affected person, including complaints of inadequate service for disabled persons, the City shall preserve audiotapes and printed call traffic information for at least one year from the date of the complaint or until the complaint is resolved, whichever date is later. The City adequately preserves an audiotape by making an authentic copy of the master tape.
  6. Training. Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City shall commence regular and comprehensive training of call takers in the use of TDD equipment and supplied with information about communication protocol with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who have speech impairments. The training shall include:
    1. information about the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for telephone emergency service providers;
    2. information about communication issues regarding individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who have speech impairments, including information about American Sign Language;
    3. practical instruction on identifying and processing of TDD calls, including importance of recognizing silent TDD calls; using proper syntax, abbreviations including, but not limited to, those attached hereto as Exhibit 2, and protocol when responding to TDD calls and relayed calls; hands-on experience in TDD communications, especially for new call takers as part of their initial training orientation; the handling of call-backs for disconnected and silent, open line calls; and the need not to require TDD callers to engage in key or space bar pressing in order to obtain a response from the call taker. The City shall consult the Emergency Access Self-Evaluation (EASE) program of the Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc., or its equivalent to ensure effectiveness of training;
    4. refresher training at least as often as the City requires training for voice calls, but at a minimum every six (6) months for each incumbent call taker; and
    5. supplemental training for any call taker who does not satisfactorily complete the required training. Record of the elements and completion of training, as well as the call taker's name, employee number, job title, and date of training shall be recorded and retained for at least one year from the date thereof.
  7. Internal Testing. At least as often as the City requires for voice calls, but at a minimum on a quarterly basis, and within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City shall conduct internal testing of TDD call-handling to ascertain if TDD equipment functions properly and if personnel have been adequately trained to recognize TDD calls quickly, to operate TDD equipment, and to conduct TDD conversations. Two types of test calls shall be made: silent, open line calls in which no tones are emitted, and calls in which the caller introduces the call by transmitting TDD tones. These tests shall be unannounced and conducted from off-premises so as not to reveal the fact that the call is a test. The tests shall be documented to include the date and time of each test call, the call taker's identification, the call-taking position, and identification of each test call as silent or transmitting tones, whether the call received a TDD response and the content of the TDD response, the time elapsed and the number of seconds from the initiation of the TDD call until the call taker responds by TDD after any recorded announcement has been played, and whether the call was processed according to the City's General Operating Procedures. These off-premise tests shall be made randomly and for all shifts. The City shall also conduct announced tests of TDD call-handling at a minimum on a quarterly basis. During these announced tests, each call taker and each call-taking position shall be tested. The purpose of the testing program is to test each call taker and each call-taking position, and the City shall conduct the testing in a manner that accomplishes this purpose. As part of the testing, the City shall review the audiotapes and printed call traffic information from the multiplexer printer and the audiotape recording device to determine the results of each test call. If the testing reveals technical or equipment deficiencies or inadequacies in the call taker's handling of calls, the City shall take immediate remedial action, which may include additional training, employee discipline, repair or replacement of equipment, and additional policy or procedural changes.
  8. Public Education. Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City shall begin working directly with organizations representing persons who are hearing- or speech-impaired to develop and implement a public education program to promote the use of 9-1-1 services by individuals who use TDD. The City will ensure that TDD numbers are publicized as effectively as voice numbers and displayed as prominently as voice numbers wherever telephone emergency numbers are listed.
  9. Progress Report. Within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City shall submit its first report to counsel for the United States describing the actions it has taken to comply with this Agreement. Within one hundred-eighty (180) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City shall submit its second report to counsel for the United States describing the actions it has taken to comply with this Agreement.
  10. Audit Reports. During the three-year period following the effective date of this Agreement, the City shall describe and send summarized results from each round of equipment purchase, installation, maintenance, testing, and repairs, and from all call taker testing and training required by this Agreement in an audit report to the United States on an annual basis along with a description of any actions taken to remedy inadequacies or equipment deficiencies uncovered by the testing.
  11. Final Report. The City shall provide a final report to the United States forty-five (45) days prior to the termination date of this Agreement, detailing the actions taken to comply with this Agreement and describing any actions taken to remedy inadequacies or equipment deficiencies uncovered by the testing.
  12. Records. The City shall retain during the life of this Agreement records necessary to document the implementation of and continued compliance with this Agreement, and shall allow the United States to review and copy such records upon reasonable notice.

Implementation and Enforcement of This Agreement

  1. The Attorney General is authorized, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ァ 12132, to bring a civil action to enforce title II of the ADA. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit under title II in this matter.
  2. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department believes that this Agreement or any portion of it has been violated, it may institute a civil action in an appropriate federal district court seeking specific performance of the provisions of this Agreement. However, the Department reserves its right to seek all available remedies, including but not limited to specific performance, for any future violation by the City with respect to the operation of its 9-1-1 telephone emergency service system.
  3. A failure by the Department to enforce any term of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce any other portion of this Agreement.
  4. This Agreement is a public document. Copies of this Agreement, any Attachment, and any information contained in them may be made available to any person at any time.
  5. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below. This Agreement shall be binding on the City and the United States. The term of this Agreement is three years from the effective date thereof.
  6. This document constitutes the entire Agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or the agents of either party that is not contained in this written Agreement shall be enforceable. This Agreement is limited to the matters raised in the Complaint and does not address any other issues of ADA compliance by the City. This Agreement does not affect the continuing responsibility of the City to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

 

Entered this _________day of ____________, 1999

FOR THE UNITED STATES

BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

DEMPSEY E. BENTON
City Manager

ATTEST:

______________________________      Date__________,1999
GAIL SMITH
City Clerk

EXHIBIT 2
TDD Abbreviations

 

ASAP......................As soon as possible

CD or CLD.............Could

GA .........................Go ahead, your turn to talk

GA or SK ...............Go ahead or Goodbye

HCO ......................(Hearing Carry Over) TDD user will use his/her hearing during call

HD or HLD .............Hold, Please

MSG .......................Message

NBR or NU .............Number

PLS .........................Please

Q or QQ .................Question mark

R .............................Are

SHD ........................Should

SKSK......................Stop keying, means end of conversation

TMW ......................Tomorrow

TDD ........................Telecommunications Device for the Disabled

TTY .........................Teletypewriter

U .............................You

UR ...........................Your

VCO .......................(Voice Carry Over) TDD user will use his/her voice during the call

XXXX......................Error, erase.

Updated August 22, 2016

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