5 Tips for ADA Compliance in Your Business
It’s important for businesses to serve all clientele, and meeting the needs of disabled clients is one of the most important things you can do to create a welcoming environment for everyone who visits your establishment. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 – there are certain things businesses must do in order to be compliant, and failing to do so can result in fines and potential lawsuits.
Over the years, as technologies have changed, so have some of the rules associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act, making it important to be aware of changes as they occur.
As a business owner, what do you need to know?
The Americans with Disabilities Act impacts virtually all businesses that serve the public, including stores, restaurants, businesses that provide services such as salons or spas, hotels, theaters, recreation facilities, schools, museums, and other private businesses.
In order to be ADA compliant, you need to have the following things in place:
- Make older buildings accessible. If your business is located in a building built prior to 1993 and has barriers in place that prevent those with disabilities from entering or maneuvering comfortably, those barriers should be removed if it is not cost prohibitive or will not impair the safety of the building’s structure. Older buildings should also be renovated to meet the ADA Compliance Audit for Structural Accessibility, which includes rules for older facilities.
- Make newer facilities comfortable. Facilities constructed after 1993 should have been built to the specifications of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, and any alterations made to those structures must be made with ADA standards in mind, including accessible counters, entryways, restrooms, drinking fountains, and other facilities. Doorways inside buildings must also be accessible, and carpets should be of a specific thickness in order to accommodate wheelchairs comfortably.
- Ensure that electronics and online technology are accessible. The US Department of Justice established rules regarding electronics such as computers in public libraries or schools in September 2010. The ADA accessibility standards apply to all state and local government agencies and private employers with 15 or more employees
- Hire with ADA compliance in mind if you can. The ADA also calls for businesses to make reasonable accommodations for those with physical or mental limitations, as long as they are otherwise qualified for a job.
- Train employees properly. Offer training at all levels so that job interviews don’t include questions about an applicant’s disability.
Contact an experienced ADA attorney today
If you want to ensure that your business is ADA compliant, Maxwell Dunn PLC can help you navigate changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act so that you can be certain your business practices and your facilities are welcoming to everyone. For more information or a consultation, call our offices today.