Complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
By: AllBusiness.comThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits the exclusion of people with disabilities from everyday activities, such as buying an item in a store, watching a movie in a theater, enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, exercising at the local health club, or having their car serviced at a local garage. To meet the goals of the ADA, the law established requirements for private businesses of all sizes. These requirements first went into effect on January 26, 1992, and continue for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
If you own, operate, lease, or lease to a business that serves the public, then you are covered by the ADA and are legally obligated to have all of your facilities in compliance with the rules and regulations. In addition to removing any and all physical barriers that are in violation of the ADA rules, you must also provide designated accessible parking space.
The ADA requires that employers provide "reasonable accommodation" to otherwise qualified disabled workers, so that they are able to perform the essential functions of their jobs.
Here are a few examples of how small businesses can ensure they are in compliance with the ADA rules and regulations:
- Provide a modified workplace policy or procedure, such as an attendance policy.
- Provide a restructured job environment, for example, shifting certain job responsibilities to other employees.
- Provide unpaid leave if a disabled employee requests it.
- Provide a modified or part-time schedule.
- Provide personal use items, such as artificial limbs, a wheelchair, eyeglasses, hearing aids, or similar devices.
- Change the disabled employee's supervisor based on a complaint alone. (Be cautious, however, that a lawsuit declaring "discrimination" does not result; when in doubt, consult with a qualified legal counsel.)
- Excuse a violation of a uniformly applied conduct rule that is job-related and consistent with business necessity.
- Have lower production standards that are applied to all disabled employees. (However, the employer may be required to help a disabled employee meet the production standards.)
For a complete listing of all ADA rules and regulations, visit the online ADA Guide for Small Businesses.
Like this article? AllBusiness.com has thousands more articles with great tips, like Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Talking with Disabled Employees About Reasonable Accommodations