Getting Ready to File a Discrimination Complaint Based on Disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the law that forbids discrimination against people with disabilities. Discrimination means treating someone with a disability differently than someone without a disability. A physical or mental disability stops people from doing a major life activity, such as walking, seeing, or hearing.

The ADA says people with disabilities have the same rights as people without disabilities. They have the right to work and earn a living. They have the right to get help from state and local governments. They have the right to go to all places open to the public.

This law has three units called titles. Each title covers one issue. These are employment, state and local governments, and public accommodations. Public accommodations mean all people must be able to use places open to the public, such as stores or restaurants.

Other complaints are covered by other laws. The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying or getting financing for housing. The Air Carrier Access Act forbids discrimination by airlines based on disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 covers the rights of people with disabilities to participate in federal programs and services.

Getting Started with a Complaint

  1. Keep all records in writing.
  2. File in the right place.
  3. File on time.

What do I need for my complaint?

  1. Your full name and where you live.
  2. Your daytime and evening phone numbers.
  3. The name of the person discriminated against, if not you.
  4. The name and address of who did the discrimination.
  5. Facts about the discrimination: What happened? When did it happen?
  6. Copies of records to support your complaint.

The place to file a complaint depends on the type of complaint. Iowa Compass is working on a tip sheet to tell you more about how and where to file.  Get in touch with Iowa Compass if you need more information on how to file a complaint.