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Americans with Disabilities Act Grievance Procedure

Commissioner Policy 53 establishes the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation grievance procedure for prompt and equitable resolution of non-employment related complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in practices and policies, or the provisions of DEC programs, services and activities offered by New York State.

Americans with Disabilities Act Grievance Procedure

I. Summary: This document establishes the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of non-employment related complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in practices and policies, or the provisions of DEC programs, services, and activities offered by New York State.

II. Policy: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations that include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, does not discriminate on the basis of disability in access to, or in the administration of, its programs, services, and activities for the public. In accordance with these laws, the DEC will make reasonable modifications to programs, policies and procedures to ensure that people with disabilities are afforded access. The ADA does not require that the DEC take any action which would fundamentally alter the nature of its programs, services or activities or impose an undue financial or administrative burden.

Individuals who require auxiliary aids or services for effective communication or are requesting a modification to a program, service or activity should contact the DEC Regional Access Coordinator, located in DEC regional offices, or the DEC Statewide Access Coordinator (Coordinator) located in Central Office, at least 10 days prior to the event or need.

Individuals alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of DEC programs, services and activities may file a grievance following the procedure in Section V below.

DEC will not place a surcharge on an individual with a disability or a group of individuals with disabilities to cover the cost of providing auxiliary aids or services or for modifications of policies.

III. Purpose and Background: Title II of the ADA requires that public entities that employ 50 or more persons shall adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action that is prohibited by the ADA. This policy will provide clear direction to the public and to DEC staff in their efforts to assist people with complaints relating to the ADA.

IV. Responsibility: The agency's Divisions and Regions are expected to assume a significant role in the identification and proper forwarding of ADA complaints. The Universal Access Program, working in concert with the Office of General Counsel, has the responsibility for handling all ADA complaints according to this policy.

V. Procedure: The DEC has adopted the following grievance procedure to assure the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging that the DEC has violated the ADA or Section 504. It may be used by anyone who wishes to file a complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of DEC programs, services, and activities.
The complaint should be in writing, although alternative methods of communication, such as a personal or telephone interview, email, or digital recording, are acceptable. The person filing the complaint should include their name and address and describe the alleged violation in as much detail as possible, including the date(s) and people involved. The DEC asks that the complaint be filed as soon after the alleged violation as possible, in order to allow a prompt investigation. Complaints should be sent to:

Carole Fraser, Statewide Access Coordinator
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Lands and Forests
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-4255
(518) 402-9428 - Phone
(518) 402-9028 - Fax
Email: UniversalAccessProgram@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Upon receiving the complaint, the Coordinator will contact appropriate DEC staff to promptly investigate the complaint and determine whether it can be resolved. When the investigation is complete, the Coordinator will communicate to the complainant the result of the investigation and any resolution.

If the DEC determines that a requested accommodation would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the DEC's programs, services, or activities, or in an undue financial or administrative burden, the Coordinator will provide the complainant with a written statement of the reasons for reaching this determination. The Coordinator will also work with the complainant to attempt to identify alternative actions that would not result in such an alteration or such burdens, yet would ensure that the complainant receives the benefits and services of the DEC's programs and activities.

If the complainant is dissatisfied with the Coordinator's response, he or she may request an appeal. The complainant may request an appeal by submitting a written request to:

Ann Lapinski, Associate Attorney
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Office of General Counsel
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-1500

The government enforcement agency for the ADA and Section 504 is the U.S. Department of Justice. Complaints to that agency may be directed to:

United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Disability Rights Section, NYA
Washington, DC 20530
(202) 307-0663 - Voice and TDD
(202) 307-1198 - Fax

All written complaints received by the Statewide Access Coordinator, appeals to the designated attorney in the DEC's Office of General Counsel and responses from these two offices will be retained by the DEC for at least three years.

VI. Related References:
ADA Notice and Grievance Poster to be displayed on the DEC web site and at DEC public facilities.

ADA Notice and Grievance Poster Text

Notice to the Public

Rights and Grievance Procedure under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations that include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, does not discriminate on the basis of disability in access to, or in the administration of, its programs, services, and activities for the public.

In accordance with these laws, the DEC will make reasonable modifications for people with disabilities, in order to provide an opportunity for the enjoyment of and participation in the DEC's programs, services, and activities.

Individuals who require auxiliary aids or services to participate in DEC programs and services are invited to make their needs known to DEC Access Coordinators.

The ADA does not require the DEC to take any action that would fundamentally alter the nature of its program, service, or activity or impose an undue financial or administrative burden.

Complaints that a program, service or activity is not accessible should be directed to:

Carole Fraser, Universal Access Coordinator
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-4255
(518) 402-9428 - phone
(518) 402-9028 - fax
email: UniversalAccessProgram@gw.dec.state.ny.us


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    518-402-9428
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