3 Initial Steps to Protect Yourself Against Discrimination
Step 1: Know your rights.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a Civil Rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. It has five parts, or titles: Title I: Employment; Title II: Public entities with government funding (public transit, schools, state & local governments); Title III: Public places (restaurants to doctor's offices to hotels to public events); Title IV: Telecommunication (television and telephones); Title V: Miscellaneous parts (non-retaliation: someone cannot get you in trouble for filing a complaint) You can learn more about the ADA here or read the United Spinal Association's publication Understanding the ADA here.
There are other civil rights laws that protect areas of our daily lives such as the Fair Housing Act, Air Carrier Access Act, Oregon Revised Statutes, and Portland City Code. You can learn more about other accessibility laws here.
Understanding these laws and being able to tell people about them is one way to stop discrimination.
Step 2: Contact the business or organization’s management.
Often talking to a supervisor or manager about how your rights were violated will help resolve the issue. Directing them to the part of the law that relates to your situation may save you from having to file an official complaint.
Read more about strategies for resolving an ADA issue here.
Step 3: File an official complaint.
In Oregon, there are several places you can file a complaint; you can also call these places to ask questions about the law:
With the Organization or Business Where the Discrimination Took Place
Large organizations and governments often have people in their organization who can take and respond to complaints. If you are unsure who to speak to, start with the company's human resources department.
With the Oregon State Government
There are several State government offices dedicated to helping with discrimination complaints.
Oregon Department of Justice
Main Referral line: 503-378-4400
Bureau of Labor and Industry
Online Complaint Form: http://www.oregon.gov/boli/CRD/Pages/C_Crcompl.aspx
With the Federal Government
Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
1-800-669-9777 (or 1-800-927-9275 for TTY)
Equal Opportunity Employment Commission
Seek Support and Resources
There are many resources available to answer questions about your rights, offer support, and provide important resources.
Northwest ADA Center
Free ADA Technical Assistance Hotline 1-800-949-4ADA (4232)
TTY/TDD/TT: 1-800-949-4ADA (4232)
Department of Justice ADA information line
Fair Housing Council of Oregon
(800) 424-3247 ext. 2
Job Accommodation Network
Many more ways to contact JAN
(800)526-7234 (V) in the United States
(800)ADA-WORK [(800)232-9675] (V) in the United States
(877)781-9403 (TTY) in the United States