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Rights & Laws

All external hyperlinks are provided for your information and for the benefit of the general public. The Department of Health Services does not testify to, sponsor, or endorse the accuracy of the information provided on externally linked pages.

People who are Deaf, Deafblind or Hard of Hearing have a right to clear and effective communication so they can understand and be understood.  Effective communication means that people who are Deaf, Deafblind or Hard of Hearing are given exactly the same information that hearing people are given, resulting in equal access.

Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA )
42 USC §12010 of 1990 (P.L. 101-336) - (Federal law)

 Title I – Prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, conditions, and privileges of employment for employers having 15 or more employees.

 Title II – Prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in all state and local government programs, activities and services of public entities.

 Title III – Covers places of public accommodations including, but not limited to: hotels, restaurants, theaters, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, lawyers, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools and day care centers.

 Title IV – Requires that telephone companies provide telecommunication relay services that allow individuals with hearing or speech impairments to communicate using a TTY or other non-voice device.  Also requires that all television public service announcements produced or funded in whole or in part by the Federal government include closed captioning.

 Employers, state and local governments and places of public accommodations are required to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services that result in effective communication upon request.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – Section 504
Section 504, 29 USC § 794 – (Federal Law)  

This act focuses on nondiscrimination by stating that no individual with a disability can be denied access to any program or activity that receives federal funds because of his/her disability.  Programs that receive federal funds must be barrier free and must provide "reasonable accommodations" such as interpreters, assistive devices, transportation, etc., when needed.

Wisconsin Apprentice, Employment and Equal Rights Programs
Chapter 106 (State Law)

Prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in apprentice programs, employment programs, and equal rights programs in housing, public places of accommodation or amusement, postsecondary education, education.

Wisconsin Fair Employment Law
Sections 111.31 – 111.395 of the Wisconsin Statutes (State Law)

Provides that it is unlawful for employers, employment agencies, labor unions, and licensing agencies to discriminate against employees and job applicants because of disability.  

Online Fair Employment Complaint Website

ODHH is not able to sue or file complaints on your behalf.  However, different complaint procedures were put together to help you, the consumer, learn how you can make a difference.  By empowering you with this information - you can make a difference!  Select on the link below for the complaint you wish to make:

How to file:

Please send a copy of your complaint letter to ODHH. This will help ODHH ensure a tracking system of complaints regarding services in Wisconsin. The data will be a valuable tool to assist ODHH in their determination of issues to be addressed either through ODHH or the Council.

If you are willing to send a copy, please send to:

Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Director
1 W. Wilson Street Rm 558
PO Box 7851
Madison, WI 53707-7851

We may contact you afterwards to see if you have had any progress in your case. We may be able to provide further assistance and guidance.

Last Updated:  May 29, 2013