If you are in the business of selling something, or even if you provide a service to anyone who uses a wheelchair, there’s no doubt that ADA compliance is crucial for you. It may not seem like a big deal in your everyday life.
However, if you want to maintain your physical or mental health as an adult, you must know your responsibilities when it comes to this issue.
For businesses to be fully compliant with ADA regulations, they must have accessible features and elements in their overall structure so that people with disabilities can use their places of work and recreational facilities without needing help from others.
And this is where things get more complicated than they appear at first glance. For example: while many businesses will look okay outside, it’s not unheard of to get riddled with hidden pitfalls that make life difficult for those with disabilities.
So what exactly does compliance mean?
What Is ADA Compliance?
One of the most important things to understand about ADA compliance is that it’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card.
There have been several accomplishments and a bill to ensure equal opportunity for every American. However, ADA compliance still exists in the same eye-opening way as when President Obama signed the legislation into law eight years ago. There are few clear rules and far too many subtle interpretations of those rules. How do you get an answer?
The first step is recognizing the problem.
The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in public accommodations other commercial establishments open to the public. And while these businesses require to provide equal access to individuals with disabilities upon request, they may not ask whether someone has a disability or what their limitations are.
The above is acceptable under the ADA because people who have disabilities can take care of themselves by using various accommodations that counteract their physical limitations. These can include wheelchairs, guide dogs, and other assistive devices such as hearing aids and communication devices.
However, if a business doesn’t require anyone with a disability to use the accommodation, it constitutes discrimination based on disability under Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.
It is so because the establishment denies someone an opportunity solely because they have a disability. Also, placing him where he can’t use accommodation would result in undue hardship for a business owner at his own expense.
Why Is ADA Compliance Important?
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in areas of public accommodations, employment, and transportation.
Compliance with the ADA is vital to running a business that caters to disabled people. It ensures that people with physical or mental impairments can use your business without getting subjected to discriminatory treatment.
Although law necessitates compliance, it is not always as easy to achieve as you think. Though every business should plan for ADA compliance, there may be times when you run into unexpected issues that arise during your construction phase or need some help completing the process.
For example, you may be new to disability laws, unfamiliar with how they affect your business or have not thought about them. It’s a good idea to get an experienced consultant on board from Day 1 so that you don’t waste money on doing things the wrong way.
How to Become Compliant?
Although the ADA may not seem critical to your business, the law is about creating an inclusive environment for everyone. After all, you don’t want anyone to feel excluded from your business because of physical difficulty or injury.
Are you in any retail or hospitality establishment and think you may be violating the ADA regulations? You must think about what kinds of activities are taking place in your space and ensure they are compliant.
The first thing that you need to do is look at how accessible and usable your facilities are. After all, there’s no point in having a bathroom door wide enough for someone wheelchair-bound but too small for someone who is on crutches. So plan with your building or property manager regarding the accessibility of any specific area.
Your Website and ADA Compliance
The World Wide Web is a place of infinite possibility, and it can be wonderful for enhancing your business. But you can’t just throw up whatever you want on the web and hope for the best.
It evolved into a gateway to billions of computers, and these computers gave rise to an entire community of people with various disabilities.
According to the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), at least 36 million Americans with disabilities deserve equal access to websites and online services.
If you are in charge of running a website or online service, it’s your responsibility as an employer to make sure that your website is compliant with the regulations. Also, every page on your site should work well for users who rely on assistive technologies such as screen readers or speech synthesizers.
What Should You Do?
So you own a business, and you want to be sure that you comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, as it’s more commonly known. The ADA has been around since 1990, but like most federal laws, this one is never too late to learn about it and hopefully use.
What can your company do to be ADA compliant? The basic thing is to update any signs at your business entrances explaining what services are available inside the establishment.
Also, if you have an older restroom with a low-slung door, add a step up into them. If there is another option for disabled customers without changes to the other restrooms in your establishment, then don’t bother adding an extra one just for this purpose.
ADA Compliance is critical for your business
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law covering numerous disabilities, including those who may have trouble moving. Most notably, it states that businesses must make reasonable accommodations for disabled customers so that they can access the same services as everyone else.
This guide will help explain what ADA compliance means for your business and how to achieve it.