Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

ODHH: Rights and Laws Pertaining to Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deaf-Blind

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

What is equal access for people who are Deaf, hard of hearing or Deaf-Blind?

Required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Equal Communication Access is communication made possible by auxiliary aids and services so that people who are Deaf, hard of hearing or Deaf-Blind can participate in and benefit from services, programs and other opportunities. Communication Access is also required by other federal and state laws, administrative rules and many professional standards.

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 or 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.

ADA Accommodation Request Forms

Wisconsin Circuit Courts: Form GF-153

  • Wisconsin Circuit Courts' forms listing. Scroll down to GF-153 "ADA Accommodation Request." A PDF and Word version of the form are available for printing. The links to the documents are in the far right hand side of the GF-153 line.

See the How to File a Complaint page for more information.

Contact us

Can't find what you are looking for? Let the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) know how our webpages can better serve your needs. Send us your comments.

Last revised July 5, 2023