29 CFR § 38.15 - Communications with individuals with disabilities.
(a) General -
(1) Communications with individuals with disabilities.
(i) A recipient must take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with individuals with disabilities, such as beneficiaries, registrants, applicants, eligible applicants/registrants, participants, applicants for employment, employees, members of the public, and their companions are as effective as communications with others.
(ii) For purposes of this section, “companion” means a family member, friend, or associate of an individual seeking access to an aid, benefit, service, training, program, or activity of a recipient, who, along with such individual, is an appropriate person with whom the recipient should communicate.
(2) Auxiliary aids and services.
(i) A recipient must furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford individuals with disabilities, including beneficiaries, registrants, applicants, eligible applicants/registrants, participants, members of the public, and companions, an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a WIOA Title I-financially assisted service, program, or activity of a recipient.
(ii) The type of auxiliary aid or service necessary to ensure effective communication will vary in accordance with the method of communication used by the individual; the nature, length, and complexity of the communication involved; and the context in which the communication is taking place. In determining what types of auxiliary aids and services are necessary, a recipient must give primary consideration to the requests of individuals with disabilities. In order to be effective, auxiliary aids and services must be provided in accessible formats, in a timely manner, and in such a way as to protect the privacy and independence of the individual with a disability.
(A) In an emergency involving an imminent threat to the safety or welfare of an individual or the public where there is no interpreter available; or
(B) Where the individual with a disability specifically requests that an accompanying adult interpret or facilitate communication, the accompanying adult agrees to provide such assistance, and reliance on that adult for such assistance is appropriate under the circumstances.
(iii) A recipient must not rely on a minor child to interpret or facilitate communication, except in an emergency involving an imminent threat to the safety or welfare of an individual or the public where there is no interpreter available.
(4) Video remote interpreting (VRI) services. A recipient that chooses to provide qualified interpreters via VRI services must ensure that it provides -
(i) Real-time, full-motion video and audio over a dedicated high-speed, wide-bandwidth video connection or wireless connection that delivers high-quality video images that do not produce lags, choppy, blurry, or grainy images, or irregular pauses in communication;
(ii) A sharply delineated image that is large enough to display the interpreter's face, arms, hands, and fingers, and the participating individual's face, arms, hands, and fingers, regardless of the individual's body position;
(iii) A clear, audible transmission of voices; and
(iv) Adequate training to users of the technology and other involved individuals so that they may quickly and efficiently set up and operate the VRI.
(5) Electronic and information technology. When developing, procuring, maintaining, or using electronic and information technology, a recipient must utilize electronic and information technologies, applications, or adaptations which:
(i) Incorporate accessibility features for individuals with disabilities;
(iii) Provide individuals with disabilities access to, and use of, information, resources, programs, and activities that are fully accessible, or ensure that the opportunities and benefits provided by the electronic and information technologies are provided to individuals with disabilities in an equally effective and equally integrated manner.
(1) Where a recipient communicates by telephone with beneficiaries, registrants, applicants, eligible applicants/registrants, participants, applicants for employment, employees, and/or members of the public, text telephones (TTYs) or equally effective telecommunications systems must be used to communicate with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing or have speech impairments.
(2) When a recipient uses an automated-attendant system, including, but not limited to, voicemail and messaging, or an interactive voice response system, for receiving and directing incoming telephone calls, that system must provide effective real-time communication with individuals using auxiliary aids and services, including TTYs and all forms of FCC-approved telecommunications relay systems, including internet-based relay systems.
(3) A recipient must respond to telephone calls from a telecommunications relay service established under title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the same manner that it responds to other telephone calls.
(c) Information and signage.
(1) A recipient must ensure that interested individuals, including individuals with visual or hearing impairments, can obtain information as to the existence and location of accessible services, activities, and facilities.
(i) A recipient must provide signage at the public entrances to each of its inaccessible facilities, directing users to a location at which they can obtain information about accessible facilities. The signage provided must meet the Standards for Accessible Design under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Alternative standards for the signage may be adopted when it is clearly evident that such alternative standards provide equivalent or greater access to the information. See 36 CFR part 1191, appendix B, section 103.
(ii) The international symbol for accessibility must be used at each primary entrance of an accessible facility.
(d) Fundamental alteration. This section does not require a recipient to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a WIOA Title I-financially assisted service, program, or activity.
(1) In those circumstances where a recipient believes that the proposed action would fundamentally alter the WIOA Title I-financially assisted program, activity, or service, the recipient has the burden of proving that compliance with this section would result in such an alteration.
(2) The decision that compliance would result in such an alteration must be made by the recipient after considering all resources available for use in the funding and operation of the WIOA Title I-financially assisted program, activity, or service, and must be accompanied by a written statement of the recipient's reasons for reaching that conclusion.
(3) If an action required to comply with this section would result in the fundamental alteration described in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, the recipient must take any other action that would not result in such an alteration or such burdens, but would nevertheless ensure that, to the maximum extent possible, individuals with disabilities receive the benefits or services provided by the recipient.
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