As a business or property owner you are responsible for providing accessibility to your business.
From the ADA.gov website…
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life — to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 — the ADA is an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities.
What does this mean to you and your business? Do I have to make physical changes to my business? Am I “grandfathered in” because I have not done any remodeling? It the property owner or the business owner responsible for fixing or modifying the property?
You can download our ADA Chamber Booklet from this website to get started on reviewing your business or property.
The chamber has taken special interest in this subject because the number of ADA lawsuits are soaring, particularly in California and Florida.
In the spirit of ADA, making businesses accessible is our concern and legal responsibility. The Lafayette Chamber has prepared some materials that can help you navigate through the regulations and give you some direction to determine what your business needs to change to conform with federal law.
Where do I start?
- Review the Summary page we have included in this brochure to do a quick assessment of your business
- Complete the ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities
- Familiarize yourself with ADA regulations
- Form a short term & long term plan to move towards compliance. Intent to correct areas of concern is the first step to protecting yourself against ADA lawsuits.
- Consider consulting with an architect that specializes in ADA requirements
- Consider calling on a Certified Access Specialist to do an inspection of your facilities
Answers to those tough questions
What is considered an “undue hardship” for a reasonable accommodation?
An employer is not required to make an accommodation if it would impose an “undue hardship” on the operation of the employer’s business. “Undue hardship” is defined as an “action requiring significant difficulty or expense” when considered in light of a number of factors. These factors include the nature and cost of the accommodation in relation to the size, resources, nature, and structure of the employer’s operation.
Is my building “grandfathered in?
The ADA does not have a provision to “grandfather” a facility but it does have a provision called “safe harbor” in the revised ADA regulations for businesses and state and local governments. A “safe harbor” means that you do not have to make modifications to elements in an existing building that comply with the 1991 Standards, even if the new 2010 Standards have different requirements for them. This provision is applied on an element-by-element basis. However, if you choose to alter elements that were in- compliance with the 1991 Standards, the safe harbor no longer applies so the altered elements must comply with the 2010 ADA Standards.
Where can I find a lawyer to represent me?
The Regional ADA Centers do not provide direct attorney referrals. The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP). There is a P&A/CAP agency in every state and U.S. territory as well as one serving the Native American population in the four corners region. Collectively, the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States. To find your local Protection and Advocacy agency and Client Assistance Program in each state, click here.
What is a CASp certification?
The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)is the latest security certification from CompTIA and the first designed to meet DoD requirements. The CASp certification is intended to be the most advanced technical security certification CompTIA has ever developed.
Local ADA experts you can call on
Sandra Bonderud, Bonderud Design, 925-386-0331 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim R. Blackseth Interests, Inc., CASp #21,ICC, (510) 333-6500 email@example.com
Bassam Altwal, CASp#109, (415) 310-3010 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dawn Anderson, AIA, California Access Specialist #CASp – 050 (833) PRO-CASP
As It Stands, www.asitstands.com (408)422-6155
Steve Arnold, CASp #215 707-246-1415 http://accesscompliancesurvey.com
- ADA Title III Technical Assistance manual Covering Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities
- ADA Guide for Small Business
- Maintaining Accessible Features in Retail Establishments | PDF (2009)
- ADA Information Services
- Ten Small Business Mistakes
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a complex civil rights law. Please do yourself a favor and get familiar with it. The cost of not knowing or ignoring the law can have a significant financial burden on your business that can be avoided with some reasonable planning.
The State of California has its own rules and often they reach a little further than the Federal Guidelines. To find these differences go to: http://www.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/Programs/progAccess/accessfaqs.aspx#faq4.