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U.S.

Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
APR 29 1992
DJ 182-06-00067
Coordination and Review Section
P.O. Box 66118
Washington, D.C. 20035-6118

Mr. Robert G. Weiss


10849 East Vassar Drive
Aurora, Colorado 80014-1769

Dear Mr. Weiss:

This responds to your request for an interpretation


concerning the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) to religious entities.

The ADA authorizes the Department to provide technical


assistance to entities that are subject to the Act. This letter
provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding how the
ADA may apply to you. However, this technical assistance does
not constitute a determination by the Department of Justice of
your rights or responsibilities under the ADA and does not
constitute a binding determination by the Department of Justice.

Section 307 of the ADA provides that religious organizations


and entities controlled by religious organizations are not
subject to the requirements for public accommodations or
commercial facilities under title III of the Act. Religious
organizations may, however, accommodate individuals with
disabilities at their own discretion, and do not waive their
exemption from the requirements of title III by doing so.

I hope that this information is responsive to your inquiry.

Sincerely,

Stewart B. Oneglia
Director
Coordination and Review Section
Civil Rights Division
01-00674​ 10849 East Vassar Drive
Aurora, CO 80014-1769
(303) 751 - 8322

January 5, 1992

Ms. Sarah Kaltenborn


Conditional Review Section
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice
Post Office Box 66118
Washington, DC 20035-6118

Dear Ms. Kaltenborn:

This letter is to recap our conversation of January 3, 1992.

I am a member of a committee at my son's school, which is a


religious, non-profit institution. This committee is trying to
put into effect policies and procedures to deal with faculty,
staff, and students with infectious diseases, especially those
who are HIV positive (AIDS).

The committee has received a number of legal opinions on its


efforts. Unfortunately, those opinions have been quite
divergent.

The troubling opinion we have received is related to the


"Americans with Disabilities Act," which is tied to the "Civil
Rights Act."

We were told that if we accommodated any handicapping conditions,


like AIDS, we would then wave our exemption under the "Americans
with Disabilities Act." If we set a policy for one, we would then
have to accommodate all handicaps covered in the ADA. This would
prove to be cost prohibitive to the school.

The committee's intent is to encourage the school to accept and


adjust to those with many handicaps as possible, taking into
account our financial and physical constraints. Should the
school be in (financial) jeopardy by implicitly waving its
exemption by adopting a policy to prevent the spread of AIDS, the
committee will recommend that such a policy not be adopted.

01-00675​
It is the hope of the committee that your office's "official"
opinion will be that:
An institution which is specifically exempt from the
ADA, will not wave any rights or exemptions, nor have
any additional obligations because it adopts policies
or procedures for handicaps covered by either the ADA
or the Civil Rights Act. (In short, we still retain
our exemption.)

We request a written reply documenting your agency's opinion, for


the school's records. During our conversation, you indicated
that you were in agreement with the committee and that a written
opinion was available if requested in writing.

Thank you for your time and effort in our behalf.

Sincerely,

Robert G. Weiss
Committee Member
AIDS Task Force
Herzl Day School
Denver, Colorado

cc: Leslie Englander, Chairperson


01-00676