The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was enacted to ensure that all qualified individuals with disabilities enjoy the same opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA directly affects state courts as providers of public programs and services.
Under the act, an individual with a "disability" is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Examples of physical impairments include: speech and hearing impairments, visual impairments, epilepsy, heart disease, HIV infection/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, and mobility impairments. Examples of mental impairments include: learning disabilities and psychological disorders, The ADA is divided into five sections. Title I of the act prohibits unreasonable discrimination against qualified individuals based on a disability in all employment activities. Under Title II of the Act, no qualified individual with a disability shall be unreasonably discriminated against, or excluded from participation in or benefits of the services, programs, or activities of state and local government, including the judicial branch. Title III prohibits discrimination by public accommodations, that is, a private entity that owns, leases, or operates a place of public accommodations. Such a place is defined as, among other things, services by doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals. Title IV relates to telecommunications and Title V contains miscellaneous provisions.
What should I do if I am a qualified person with a disability who needs a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the employment process within the court system in the Tenth Judicial Circuit?
If you are a person with a disability who needs a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the employment application, recruitment, and selection process within the Tenth Circuit, you should contact the Office of the Court Administrator at (863) 534-4686 (voice), (863) 534-7777 (TDD) or (800) 955-8770 (Florida Relay Service), as much in advance as possible. Please be prepared to explain your functional limitations and suggest a reasonable accommodation that you believe will enable you to effectively participate in the application, recruitment, and selection process. If you are a current employee of or are hired by, the State Courts System and require a reasonable accommodation in order to perform the essential functions of the job in question, you should consult with your supervisor.
What should I do if I am a qualified person with a disability who needs assistance in order to participate in a program or service of the State Courts System?
If you are a person with a disability who needs assistance in order to participate in a program or service of the State Courts System, you should contact the Office of the Court Administrator at (863) 534-4686 (voice), (863) 534-7777 (TDD) or (800) 955-8770 (Florida Relay Service), as much in advance of your court appearance or visit to the courthouse as possible. Please be prepared to explain your functional limitations and suggest an auxiliary aid or service that you believe will enable you to effectively participate in the court program or service.
Some physical barriers make it difficult for persons with a disability to participate in court services or programs. In some courthouses, witness and jury boxes may be inaccessible to wheelchairs or public information counters may be too high for some persons. In addition to architecturally renovating facilities to make them readily accessible to persons with disabilities, there are other methods of providing program access including relocating a service to enable a person with a disability to participate or seating several jurors, including a juror using a wheelchair, in front of the juror box.
Any device or aid that is designed to provide effective communication and participation for individuals with disabilities is an auxiliary aid or service. Examples of auxiliary aids or services include:
Services the State Courts System is not required to provide under the ADA include:
What remedies are available to individuals with disabilities who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated?
The State Courts System in the Tenth Circuit has established grievance procedures that allow for the resolution of complaints without resorting to federal complaint procedures. All persons have a right to pursue complaints of discrimination through the State Courts System's internal complaint procedure. For further information, you should contact Nick Sudzina at the Office of the Court Administrator at (863) 534-4686 (voice), (863) 534-7777 (TDD) or (800) 955-8770 (Florida Relay Service) The ADA recommends resolving disputes on a local level if possible. Individuals who unsuccessfully pursue local remedies are not prevented from later seeking relief through the United States Department of Justice or the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. For further information on contacting those entities, please see the links below.