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Understanding ADA Guidelines as a New Business Owner

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fort-worth-business-formation-attorney.jpgIn 1990, the U.S. Congress passed a historic bill into law that would forever change business: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law effectively enforces the civil rights and needs of people with disabilities. Before this law was passed, horror stories existed of inaccessible mobility for those bound to wheelchairs. Unfortunately, some people were forced to get out of their wheelchairs and crawl up stairs to schoolhouses and courtrooms. Buses also used to be inaccessible because there were no lifts available. Furthermore, grocery shopping was nearly impossible without someone tagging along to assist, as shelves were stocked to the ceiling. 

Since the passing of the ADA, life has become a bit easier for disabled customers and employees, and business owners are often happy to comply with ADA guidelines. However, sometimes new businesses may not realize the extent of the Americans with Disabilities Act policies and have trouble conforming.

Basics of ADA Laws

A few of basic guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act include:

  • Not everyone must comply, only those with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor-management committees.

  • Title 1 protects qualified individuals with disabilities meaning that the individual satisfies the skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position sought or held, and can perform the primary job tasks of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation. Essentially, if he or she can perform the duties asked despite their physical or mental disability, even if they need reasonable accommodation, then they can still be hired. If you do not hire the person, then you must be able to prove that it was not due to their handicap.

  • Reasonable accommodation means a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things usually are done that enables a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity.

Enforcement of Guidelines

The ADA guidelines affect nearly every aspect of business operations. They prohibit discrimination during employment, accessibility to public services, public accommodations as well as telecommunications. They are extensive and require intricate attention to detail. Due to the broad-reaching scope of the laws, it is a necessity to have multiple departments to assist in enforcement. While the Department of Labor has an office called the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) responsible for the publications and assistance with the technicalities of the law, it is not the department responsible for enforcing any of the ADA laws.

The departments responsible for the enforcement of ADA guidelines include:

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

  • Department of Transportation

  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

  • Department of Justice

  • Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (ATBCB), also known as the Access Board

Contact a Tarrant County Business Attorney

If you are starting a new business and are concerned about complying with ADA guidelines, it is beneficial to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney. With a more in-depth knowledge of the law, a skilled business lawyer can help you avoid conflicts in the future. If you would like to speak to a Fort Worth business formation lawyer, contact Gonzalez Law, PLLC today. Call 817-349-7730 for a confidential consultation. 

Sources:

http://www.ada.gov/

https://www.eeoc.gov/publications/ada-your-responsibilities-employer

https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/disability/ada

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