Does Your Business Comply with ADA Regulations?
Some businesspeople find out about their responsibilities under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they are served a notice of a lawsuit filed against them for non-compliance.
The ADA gives federal civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.
It’s important that business people (whether they own their building or are tenants) recognize the obligations they have under the ADA and state laws, particularly since these laws provide for legal liability and can amount to sizeable costs. Here are some resources to help businesses comply with ADA and state laws:
Where can businesses people go to find out what their obligations are?
o www.ada.gov: Here you will find ADA Standards for Accessible Design, mediations services if you’re involved in a dispute, and how to become certified.
o http://www.access-board.gov/: The United States Access Board is a federal agency committed to accessible design. ADA Standards for Accessible Design are also listed here.
o www.sba.gov: the Small Business Association provides a 15-page illustrated guide presenting an overview of some basic ADA requirements for small businesses. It provides guidance on how to make their services accessible and how tax credits and deductions may be used to offset specific costs.
California is the only state that requires Architects to earn continuing education in ADA/Universal Design as a requirement for license renewal. What the AIA knows of California State mandatory continuing education requirements is posted on http://www.aia.org/education/ces/mcerequirements/AIAS074601. Retaining a knowledgeable architect would be a good investment to conduct an ADA compliance audit.
Are there free audit services available to evaluate if companies are complying with all ADA standards?
According to one Senior Director at the American Institute of Architects, there are no free audit service available to evaluate if companies are complying with ADA standards. The BBB also spoke with “Resources for Independent Living,” “ADA & IT Center,” “Disability Business and Technical Assistance,” “The Building Industry Association,” and the “Fresno Center for Independent Living” and were unable to find these services offered for free.
If you are concerned that your company does not meet ADA standards, you can contact the ADA & IT Center: 800-949-4232 or your local building inspector for information about applicable local standards that could exceed ADA standards. To find a company who is CAPS certified by the Association of Home Builders to perform an ADA inspection of your company visit www.nahb.org/designationsdirectory.org.
What are the business requirements to comply with ADA standards?
The list includes requirements that disabled persons must be able to approach, enter, and exit the building with ease. There are ADA regulations involving accessible routes, parking spaces, workspaces, bathrooms, passenger loading zones, ground and floor surfaces, entrances, protruding objects, elevators, drinking fountains, shelving, emergency warning systems, assembly areas, etc.
It’s important to note that there are additional ADA requirements for some types of businesses such as restaurants and cafeterias, medical care facilities, business and mercantile, libraries, accessible transient lodging, and transportation facilities. For specific requirements visit:
http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-Appendix-52467 or http://www.access-board.gov/ada-aba/guide.htm