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Chapter 3: General Requirements

Regulatory references: 28 CFR 36.201-36.213.

III-3.1000 General.

A public accommodation may not discriminate against an individual with a disability in the operation of a place of public accommodation. Individuals with disabilities may not be denied full and equal enjoyment of the "goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations" offered by a place of public accommodation. The phrase "goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations" applies to whatever type of good or service a public accommodation provides to its customers or clients. In other words, a public accommodation must ensure equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities.

Several broad principles underlie the nondiscrimination requirements of title III. These include:

  1. Equal opportunity to participate;
  2. Equal opportunity to benefit; and
  3. Receipt of benefits in the most integrated setting appropriate.

The specific requirements discussed below in III-4.0000 are all designed to effectuate the general requirements. The specific provisions furnish guidance on how a public accommodation can meet its obligations in particular situations and establish standards for determining when the general requirement has been violated. Where a specific requirement applies, it controls over the general requirement.

ILLUSTRATION: Public accommodations are only required to remove architectural barriers in existing facilities if removal is "readily achievable" (see III-4.4200). If making the main entrance to a place of public accommodation accessible is not readily achievable, the public accommodation can provide access to the facility through another entrance, even though use of the alternative entrance for individuals with disabilities would not be the most integrated setting appropriate.