ADA Compliance for Businesses
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools and transportation. The ADA also requires businesses to comply with specific accessibility standards when making physical changes to their facilities or providing goods and services.
What does the ADA require me to do?
The ADA requires you to take "readily achievable" steps to remove any barriers in your business that would prevent people with disabilities from having full access to your goods or services. You are not required to make any changes that are not necessary to provide needed access. You are also not required to take any measures that would result in undue financial or administrative burdens. Under the ADA, "readily achievable" means easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. If you can demonstrate that your business has taken commercially feasible steps to comply with the ADA's requirements, you cannot be found non-compliant.
What if I don't make changes to my business?
If you do not take steps to remove barriers or provide goods and services in an accessible manner, people with disabilities may file a complaint with the Justice Department for discrimination under the ADA. If the Justice Department investigates and finds that you discriminated against people with disabilities, it can require you to make changes or it can get a court order requiring you to make the necessary changes.
What is "readily achievable"?
"Readily achievable" means that taking steps to remove barriers and provide goods and services in an accessible manner would require minimal difficulty or expense on your part. The term readily achievable does not require that any steps be taken that would result in undue financial and administrative burdens. What is readily achievable is determined on a case-by-case basis, with the assessment of several factors including:
- The nature and cost of the action;
- The nature and cost of the action;
- The type of operation you have;
- The numbers of people employed there;
- The effect on expenses and resources;
- The geographic separateness, and the administrative or fiscal relationship of the facility or part of a facility that would need to be modified.
The steps you can take to ensure your compliance with ADA requirements may include:
- Repositioning display racks, shelves, furniture and other equipment;
- Installing ramps or modifying existing ones to provide access to your business and its services for people with mobility disabilities;
- Making changes in the way you provide goods or services so they are accessible to persons with disabilities;
- Providing readers, taped texts, qualified interpreters or other auxiliary aids where necessary to ensure effective communication with customers, clients, patients or participants who are deaf or hard of hearing;
- Restructuring a job position to better accommodate the needs of an employee who is not fully able to participate in the job because of a disability.
To better understand your obligations under Title III, you may wish to consult an attorney.
How do I create accessible parking spaces?
The Federal Highway Administration's "Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Building and Facilities" has the following information on parking spaces:
Note that this is not exhaustive, but it provides an overview of all the steps necessary. The ADAAG does say that parking lot design guidelines are available from some state departments of transportation.
Make sure your employees are fully aware of these guidelines as well, so they can make sure to provide accessible parking spaces. Include the following paragraph in your company policy on disabilities:
Please note that all new buildings should have accessible parking spaces available, as required by ADA requirements. These requirements include appropriate signage designating accessible parking, vertical clearance for vehicle lift or ramp entry, clearly marked spaces that are level, and an adjacent path of travel that connects the accessible parking with the entrance to the establishment.
Why should I make my business accessible?
There are several reasons why your business should be made ADA-compliant:
- Enables you to reach out to a broader market;
- Helps increase sales because people who require special assistance are more likely to frequent your business because it is accessible;
- Makes customers feel welcome, which helps customers promote the accessibility of your establishment.
As an owner or manager of a business, you want the public to know that the services you are offering are open to everyone. Without meeting ADA requirements, people with disabilities may avoid entering your establishment.
How can a paving company help me be compliant?
Updating your parking lot with ADA regulations can help you to stay compliant. Paving companies offer new surfaces that are compliant with ADA regulations. It is important that your employees are aware of the regulations before they pour concrete, so they ensure compliance. Include these regulations in your employee handbook.
Why should I work with a paving company for my ADA-compliant parking lot?
A paving company can help you to meet or exceed ADA regulations for your parking lot. The Department of Transportation has specific guidelines that need to be followed when it comes to slot, aisle, and surface clearances. Every business is required by law to have accessible parking spaces. Contact a paving company today to learn more about the regulations, and how they can help to create an accessible parking lot for your business.
How can I maintain ADA compliance?
Compliance is essential for the success of any establishment. There are a few ways to maintain ADA compliance - through restructure, reallocation of resources, or by creating an environment that is accessible to people with disabilities. Remember, if your business does not comply with ADA regulations, customers might think it means you do not want their business and they will avoid your establishment.
The best way to create and maintain ADA compliance is to educate all employees on what needs to be done and how to go about it. This includes training on how certain tools can help improve accessibility such as ramps and elevators. Not only will this help you stay compliant with ADA regulations but it will also increase customer traffic by making them feel more comfortable visiting your establishment.
If you are unable to make your establishment ADA compliant, there other options you should consider. You may want to prioritize certain areas of your business, or make it ADA compliant in phases. For example, if the entrance is not compliant but the back of the store is, customers can still access what they need without entering through non-ADA compliant areas.
If you are not able to afford the costs associated with making your business ADA compliant, there are other options available. You might consider finding a partner or another company that can help you offset costs. For example, if an accessible bathroom is too costly for your business to install, you might consider asking a local restaurant if they would let you use theirs if your customers make a purchase.
The ADA is a law that requires businesses to be accessible for people with disabilities. A paving company can help you make your parking lot ADA compliant, but there are other ways to maintain compliance as well. If you do not meet the requirements of the ADA, some options might include prioritizing certain areas of your business or making things accessible in phases by creating an environment that is accessible to all customers and employees - even if they have special needs.