Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy and Procedures
The State Law Library is committed to complying with all applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and ensuring that no qualified individual with a disability shall be discriminated against due to their disability. This policy will detail the ways in which individuals should request accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the ways in which the State Law Library will make reasonable accommodations to all individuals upon request, provided that the accommodation does not constitute an undue hardship to the library.
To ensure fair treatment by the State Law Library of any patron with a disability and to state how this agency implements and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act with respect to providing public accommodations and services by government entities.
Disability A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.
Major Life Activities Include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
Person with a Disability A library patron who has a known physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity.
Physical or Mental Impairment Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or an anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder.
Reasonable Accommodation A modification or adjustment to the library’s policies or environment that does not cause an undue hardship and permits an individual with a disability to participate in the resources and services that the State Law Library offers. Reasonable accommodations may include: making existing facilities used by patrons readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, staff retrieval of print documents in library stacks, screen magnifiers, readers, use of transparent masks, use of service animals in the library, assistance via telephone (including Texas Relay services) and email, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
Undue Hardship An action requiring significant difficulty or expense, when considered in light of the nature and cost of the accommodation needed, the overall financial resources of the facility or facilities involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodation, the overall size of the facility, and the effect on expenses and resources, or the impact otherwise of such accommodation upon the operation of the facility. Undue hardship not only applies to financial burdens, but also to accommodations that are unduly disruptive, extensive, endanger the safety of others, or those that would fundamentally change the operation of the library. Requested accommodations that impose risk of COVID-19 transmission upon library employees or patrons will be considered to be undue hardships.
A person with a disability who would like to use the State Law Library’s resources and services.
- The State Law Library prohibits discrimination and does not discriminate when providing resources and services to individuals with a disability.
- The State Law Library will provide reasonable accommodations to an individual with a disability to enable them to perform legal research and access the library’s resources and services, as long as the accommodation can be provided without undue hardship.
- Each request for accommodation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. As a goal, the process of reviewing and providing a decision on a request for accommodation will be completed within five (5) working days.
Procedures For Requests For Accommodation
- The patron requesting an accommodation is responsible for notifying the Human Resources Coordinator as soon as practical of the nature of their disability and the need for a reasonable accommodation.
- Any library employee notified of a patron’s disability and request for accommodations shall inform the patron of the procedure for submitting a request for consideration. The request must be submitted in a way that will protect its confidentiality. The confidential written notification shall state the name of the patron, the patron’s contact information, the disability claimed, the accommodation requested, and the date reported. A copy shall be provided to the patron.
- After receiving a patron’s request for accommodation, the Human Resources Coordinator, the Executive Director, and Assistant Director shall meet (either in person or remotely) to determine if the patron is a qualified person with a disability, as defined in this policy, and to identify and evaluate possible reasonable accommodations. At this time, the individual will be consulted for input as to possible accommodations and whether they will meet the needs of the individual. The requested accommodations will be considered but will not be given preferential ranking. If the requested accommodation cannot be provided due to an undue hardship, alternate accommodations will be offered.
- The Human Resources Coordinator will determine what, if any, reasonable accommodation will be made and provide a written decision to the individual, the Executive Director, and the Assistant Director.
- If the accommodation would constitute an undue hardship for the agency, the agency will provide an explanation of the hardship and documentation required to support the explanation. An undue hardship must conform to definitions provided by the courts, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.
- The agency shall make a good faith effort to provide a reasonable accommodation to the individual with a disability unless it poses an undue hardship for the agency.
Procedures On Accommodations
A reasonable accommodation can be any change that will enable a patron to access the State Law Library’s resources and services to perform legal research. The accommodations that may be provided include, but are not limited to, any of the following alternatives:
- Adaptive technology Use of equipment or devices, including speech output computer equipment, screen magnifiers, and other devices that facilitate legal research.
- Use of alternate methods of communication The library provides reference services via telephone, email, and postal mail for use by patrons who have difficulty hearing staff through personal protective equipment like masks. Telephone relay services like Texas Relay can also be employed for communication with people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
- Assistance with physical navigation of the library Patrons who are physically unable to retrieve items from bookshelves can request assistance from staff members.
- Alternate PPE to accommodate lip reading Patrons who are Deaf or hard of hearing may request that staff members wear face masks with a transparent window.
Requesting staff to entirely remove any personal protective equipment will not be considered a reasonable accommodation under this policy. Requests for staff to reduce physical distancing to less than six feet will also not be considered to be a reasonable accommodation due to the risks of COVID-19 transmission imposed on both patron and employee.
Procedures For ADA Grievances
The State Law Library will provide a prompt and fair resolution of complaints alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If a patron believes that they have been discriminated against or retaliated against on the basis of being a person with a disability, they may submit a grievance in the following manner.
Use the procedure outlined below for the following:
- A grievance alleging discrimination in public accommodations due to the patron’s disability
- A grievance regarding an accommodation request
- A grievance regarding an accommodation request and alleging disability discrimination
To pursue an ADA Accommodation Grievance, the patron must submit the grievance in writing to the Human Resource Coordinator within five (5) business days after the patron receives the last written response regarding their request for accommodation. The written grievance must contain a brief description of the grievance, all pertinent facts and information, and the requested accommodation. If the patron fails to appeal the grievance within the allotted time, the grievance is considered concluded.
Upon receiving an appeal from a patron, Human Resources Officer will immediately notify the Director and Assistant Director and forward the appeal for review. Management must meet with the patron within five (5) business days of receiving an appealed grievance to hear and consider it and will respond in writing to the patron within five (5) business days of the meeting.
The grievance process concludes with a review by the Executive Director (or the Executive Director’s designee).
Requests for accommodation are confidential and may only be disclosed for purposes directly related to a request for accommodation or a grievance related to a request for accommodation.
Prohibition Against Retaliation
No person shall be subject to any form of retaliation for submitting a request for an ADA accommodation, a grievance related to an ADA accommodation or discrimination due to a disability. Retaliation against anyone participating in the grievance procedure is also prohibited. Retaliation is a violation of SLL policies and may be the basis of corrective action, including termination without warning.