ADA Complaint? Now What?

Feb 4, 2022 12:00:00 AM | ADA Complaint? Now What?

What can you do when you receive an ADA complaint? Global Interpreting Services will guide you through your options.


Have you had a complaint filed against your business for failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and not providing Sign Language Interpreters?



Global Interpreting Services has been in business for over 25 years. We have assisted very large organizations and small companies with maneuvering through the demands of settlements. It may seem overwhelming, but we are the professionals who have been through it with others and who will be able to help you meet your goals.



Let me provide you with an article that had been making headlines on the East coast of the United States. In short: a dermatology office in Rhode Island had a complaint filed against them for not providing Interpreters for Deaf patients and for using a person as an Interpreter who was unable to sufficiently Interpret. They were fined $31,000 by the U.S. Justice Department and have to follow through on training and other provisions. (I gave you a quick run down of the article because I know not all of you will open and read the article, but I encourage you to read it. I read it in less than 5 minutes.)


You don't want this to happen to your business, but if it does, then you need to call us. We are equipped to help you through this process and keep you compliant.


One of the most difficult issues to work through is the many different types of deaf, Deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind people you have. Identifying them and then learning to work with all of them.

  • How do you best communicate with each of them?

  • What services do you provide them?

  • How much provision is too much? How much is not enough?


Most businesses do not even know where to begin and that is where we come in.


The first step is to take an inventory. What do you need to do? Who do you do it with? Do you have a group of regular people you need to provide Interpreters for or is it the general public? Do you have any metrics or past reports to show any details on past performance with Interpreters or the population you need to serve?


Now, I would like to talk about the issues that led to the fines. This office had a family member interpret which she was not qualified to do.


Many of people want to keep medical information to themselves until they have time to digest it, or they never want to share it. Absolutely if you are the person who is close to a person and you have to share tragic, life-altering news, it can be unbelievably difficult for both of you, and mentally traumatic for the parties involved. Interpreters are not happy to be put in positions where they are communicating bad news, but its part of the job. We do our best to distance ourselves from the situation.


I have personally been in this situation and all you can do is let the situation happen around you. I put myself in a bubble almost so that the family can be a family and Doctor can be a Doctor. I interpret. When I leave I take care of me. I can only do that because of experience, perhaps age, and training. People will also be more honest with us and with the Doctor because they are not trying to hide anything. They know we are just a communication conduit. We are not judging, we are not going to tell anyone and we are not going to bring the information up again until the next appointment and they do. We are safe.


The office in the article must now train their staff on ADA requirements. Global Interpreting can help you with that.


We have training that you can provide to your staff and it can be done on your time or theirs. It's done online and it's done at their pace. We have compliance posters that say you will get Interpreters and posters that ask for a persons preferred language (as well as desk sheets). This is just the start of what we can assist you with, the first thing you need to do is call Global and set up an appointment to meet by phone, internet or in person.


So many questions and laws to understand. New definitions to learn. Global is an expert in our field. We will help you understand the issues that are being brought to you. Together, you will soon feel equipped to handle your situation.



Call us. Our staff will help your business or program develop a plan of action. Don't wait to make headlines - contact us to develop your interpreting services process today.

Dawn Flanigan

Written By: Dawn Flanigan