Tag Archives: Accessibility Requirements

Curb Appeal: Looks Matter When It Comes to the ADA

I’m frequently asked two questions by business owners and managers when it comes to ADA compliance and lawsuits.  The first question is, “what type of businesses get sued most often?”  The second question is, “how can I avoid becoming one of those businesses?”  Like many things, the answers to these questions can be complex and involve a lot of variables.  Certainly, for example, businesses that operate in industries that deal heavily with the public, such as retail, hospitality, and banking, are often frequent targets based on the volume of people that come to a business’s facilities to use their services.  …


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Does Your Business Have a Website? Get Ready for New ADA Regulations

Courts have wrestled for several years with how to apply the ADA’s public accommodation requirements to online businesses or online aspects of businesses (USA Today published an article and quoted me on the issue available at the link below). The statute itself (enacted in 1990) does not address online businesses, nor do current regulations. Litigation in this area has also produced divergent results. In some cases, federal courts have dismissed such claims holding that online stores and websites are not public accommodations within the meaning of Title III of the ADA. In others, courts have held that commercial websites are …


How to Avoid Your Business Becoming an ADA Target

It is certainly good to know what to do if your business is served with a lawsuit under the ADA. It is even better to know what steps you can take to help avoid your business becoming a target for these lawsuits in the first place. While there is no way to completely avoid the risk of an ADA lawsuit, taking a few simple (and in many cases low cost) steps can help reduce the risk of appearing as “low hanging fruit” for plaintiffs, plaintiff’s advocacy organizations, and the Department of Justice. Tip #1: Curb Appeal We’ve all heard stories …


Could Your Banking Website Be The Target of a Lawsuit?

Recently, I was interviewed by TheFinancialBrand.com for an article on the ADA and website accessibility standards for the deaf and blind (full article here). Websites are becoming the next frontier in ADA litigation as courts have ruled that it also applies to a company’s website and have held companies liable for difficulties disabled customers experience online. Taking proactive steps to review and modify your company’s website will save you from the price of ADA non-compliance and costly litigation.  

The ADA & Athletics: It Applies Here Too

We often think of the ADA’s reach as focused on employment and public accommodations such as hotels and shopping centers. It is, therefore, easy to forget that it also impacts activities. This includes public meetings, conventions—and sporting events. One of the most well-known sports and disability cases is that of professional golfer Casey Martin. Prior to 2001, the PGA Tour required all tournament participants to walk and barred the use of golf carts. Martin suffers from a degenerative condition that affected his ability to walk that prevented him from competing in PGA events. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, held that …


Insurance and ADA Public Accommodations Claims

Navigating common insurance issues for claims under Title III of the ADA Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that businesses which offer goods and services to the public (i.e. “public accommodations”) take steps to ensure that their facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities.  In addition to the ADA’s general accessibility mandate, its governing regulations provide detailed requirements for businesses that range from the minimum number of accessible parking spaces to the height of mirrors and toilets in restrooms.  The failure to comply with these guidelines can lead to lawsuits in federal court.  If you follow …


Is Employee Training Your Weakest Link?

Recently I read a national news story about a disabled veteran who claimed that an employee of a hotel denied and mocked his request for assistance in getting his wheelchair down a flight of stairs. Although I lay no claim to knowing the true facts of the incident, or the hotel’s ADA procedures, the story did get me thinking about the vital role employees play in ensuring compliance with a business’s public accommodations obligations. Simply put, your employees can be either your greatest strength in ensuring compliance and avoiding lawsuits, or your Achilles heel. Most businesses have detailed policies prohibiting disability …


What Does “Readily Achievable” Mean and How Much Will It Cost Me?

In several recent posts I’ve discussed how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public accommodations (i.e. businesses that offer goods and services to the public) occupied prior to January 26, 1993 to only make modifications that are “readily achievable.” I’ve received a number of requests to comment on what this term means and how a business determines whether a proposed modification (or claimed ADA violation) is readily achievable. Although there are no bright lines and each situation presents its own unique factors to consider, there are a number of factors that businesses can and should consider in deciding whether …


Up to Code and Out of Compliance: The Local Building Code Trap

When I meet a new client facing an ADA public accommodations lawsuit, one of the first questions they often ask is: “How could this come up, the city inspector told us our property was in compliance?” The answer is, unfortunately, simple. The requirements of local and state building and construction codes do not always satisfy all the mandates of the ADA and can often become a trap for business owners. The fact that your property may satisfy applicable local, state, and building codes, including codes modeled after the IBC (International Building Code) and UCC (Uniform Construction Code) are no guarantee …


When the $%#! Did We Become a Public Accommodation!?

I’ll spend a lot of time writing in this blog about things that public accommodations (i.e. businesses that offer goods and services to the public) should know. For some entities such as private clubs, swimming pools, and community associations, however, the first question that should be addressed is “Am I a public accommodation?” Clubs and associations can all too easily cross the line from non-public entity to public accommodation. Although sometimes the business rewards may be worth it, it is important to know the risks and implications of such decisions. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) a place of public …