Fair Housing Rights in Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities

Fair Housing Rights in Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities

American Sign Language or “ASL” is the sixth most common language used in the U.S. Most people assume that ASL is a gestured form of the English language. This is incorrect. Instead, “ASL is visual, three-dimensional, non-linear language, and its grammar and syntax differ from the grammar and syntax of English and other spoken languages. In many cases, there is no one-to-one correspondence between signs in ASL and words in the English language.” EEOC v. UPS Supply Chain Solutions, 620 F.3d 1103, 1105 (9th Cir. 2010)(citations omitted).

Another misconception is that lip-reading or speech-reading provide an effective means of communication. This, too, is incorrect.  A small percentage of spoken words are visible and, as to those words, many appear identical on the lips of a speaker. As a result, lip-reading accuracy for spoken words may be as low as 10-30%.

The federal Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and other senior housing providers to speak with those who are deaf or have other hearing or speech disabilities. These facilities may not refuse to speak or engage with a resident or applicant because the individual communicates through ASL or other auxiliary aid. These facilities are also required to provide necessary interpretation services free of charge when requested.

The following is a link to a helpful video:

Fair Housing Rights in Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities

Please contact us if you have any questions or need guidance as to ASL and other reasonable accommodation and modification requirements.

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