There is an emerging trend to sue small businesses for minor violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This two-part series will provide you with some guidance about some of the requirements of the ADA. Also, it will discuss common mistakes that you can avoid to prevent potential lawsuits.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. Congress found that over 43,000,000 Americans have one or more physical or mental disabilities and that this number was increasing. Furthermore, individuals with disabilities commonly experience discrimination in their daily lives that makes seeking employment, finding transportation, and other daily tasks very difficult. The ADA seeks to provide clear and enforceable standards to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The purpose of the ADA is to ensure equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, transportation, commercial facilities, public accommodations, and State and local government services.
What does the Americans with Disabilities Act require?
The ADA applies to “all places of public accommodation.” Places of public accommodation include places of lodging (such as hotels), food service establishments, places of public gathering (such as convention centers), places of entertainment (such as theaters and concert halls), and others which can be seen here. As of 1994, Congress required all businesses to be in compliance with the ADA.
Title III essentially forbids discrimination at any place of public accommodation. If a business does discriminate on the basis of disability, the business fails to comply with the ADA and an injured party can bring action against the business. Additionally, Title III directs businesses to make “reasonable modifications” to their usual ways of doing things when serving people with disabilities. It also requires that they take steps necessary to communicate effectively with customers with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities.
How can you Ensure that your Business is Compliant with the ADA Requirements?
In sum, it is imperative to protect your business from lawsuits by being compliant with the ADA. Thus, in part 2 of this series, we discuss common minor violations of the ADA and defenses to ADA lawsuits. If you want to read all of Title III as it applies to commercial facilities and public accommodations click here. For additional information, please contact us.