Richland County ADA Compliance
Americans with Disabilities Act Notice
Richland County will not discriminate on the basis of disability against qualified persons with disabilities in its services, programs, activities, or in its hiring and employment practices. Upon request it generally will provide appropriate responses for qualified persons with disabilities so they can communicate and participate equally in the County’s programs, services and activities. Appropriate responses include providing sign language interpreters, documents in Braille and other ways of making communication accessible to people who have speech, hearing or vision impairments.
The Act does not require actions that would fundamentally alter the County’s programs or services or that impose an undue financial or administrative burden; however, the County will make reasonable changes to its policies and programs to ensure qualified persons with disabilities have equal opportunity for its services, programs and activities. For example, although pets are prohibited at its facilities, well behaved service animals are welcome.
Request for an accommodation should allow for sufficient time to provide it. The County does not surcharge any person or group for the cost of providing appropriate auxiliary aids or services, or for reasonable modifications of its policies.
To request an accommodation, make a suggestion or complaint regarding inaccessible programs, services or activities see the below procedure.
ADA Public Suggestions, Accommodation Requests and Complaints
To make a suggestion, an accommodation request or a complaint regarding a county program or service and the disabled contact the Ombudsman.
Telephone: (803) 929-6000
TDD: (803) 576-2045
Fax: (803) 929-6009
Mail: Richland County Government
P.O. Box 192
Columbia, SC 29202
Please give sufficient notice. The Ombudsman will ask you for contact information. Please also provide the following information if you are requesting an accommodation:
- Your specific need
- Your accommodation suggestions
If you have a need connected to an elected official the communication will be sent to the appropriate official. All messages will be communicated to the ADA Coordinator. You will be notified of the result of your communication.
It is the intent of the county to meet or exceed the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Communications from the public that aid the county in this endeavor are welcome. If you are dissatisfied with the response ask the Ombudsman to send your appeal to the County Administrator or you may mail it directly to the County Administrator at the above address. The county’s standard is to respond to all inquiries, suggestions, accommodation requests and appeals within ten business days of receipt of the communication. Records of the communications are kept for at least one year.
ADA Employee Suggestions, Accommodation Requests and Complaints
To communicate a suggestion, an accommodation request or a complaint email or write the Assistant County Administrator to whom your department reports or email or write the elected official to if you are employed by an elected official and provide the following information:
- Purpose of your communication
- Your specific job task problems
- Your accommodation suggestions
If your request is for an Administration Building parking place for a disabled person you should apply at Finance instead of using the above procedure.
If you are dissatisfied with the response to any accommodation request, follow the grievance procedure for your employer. Response times and the length of records keeping are according to the applicable procedure.
Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended and Richland County's Transitioning Status
To provide for equality of opportunity the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted January 26, 1990 and became effective on January 26, 1992. On the former date state and local governments were required to achieve program accessibility. Structural changes for those programs were required as of January 26, 1992. It is now known as the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended or ADAAA.
Title II of the Act covers state and local governments. It prohibits discrimination in their services, programs and activities. To achieve the primary goal of equal participation in the mainstream of society by the disabled a public entity is required to make the changes in its practices, procedures and policies necessary to prevent discrimination, but it is not required to alter their fundamental nature.
Unless an accommodation would create an “undue hardship” reasonable accommodations must be made for the disabled for employment, in communications, facility access, public rights-of-way and mass transit. The County does not have a mass transit operation.
Avoiding discrimination in employment includes the following:
- return to work
- job assignments
- job classification
- leave, paid and unpaid
- other benefits
- employer sponsored activities, e.g., recreational and social programs
The County requires its employees to comply with all requirements of the ADAAA. The County’s training of employees has included legal experts and a member of the disabled community.
The County provides the public, including the disabled, with effective communication through the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman documents all communications and distributes them on the basis of the needed reply. Auxiliary services such as sign language interpreters, foreign language interpreters and internet accessibility are available.
All new construction must be designed to meet the ADAAA requirements. After inventory, surveys and public input the County has made a number of changes in its public accommodation facilities to meet the requirement of the Act. Those changes include automatic entrance doors, rebuilt jury rooms with ADA compliant rest rooms and renovated parking facilities. It has modified employee equipment and office spaces. The locations of the changes include the Administration Building and the Judicial Center. The new Solid Waste facility complies with the Act. The Law Enforcement Center now under construction will meet ADAAA requirements.
All new construction must be done in compliance with the ADAAA. New construction includes the present extensive road construction project known as the Penny Transportation projects. As part of the 1.07 billion dollars in transportation projects over a 22 years period, starting in 2015 the County is spending $442 million over the next five years on roadways, bike, pedestrian and greenway projects. These projects must meet ADAA standards.