Most people know that the Americans with Disabilities Act - signed into law in 1990 - required a huge change to the way business is done in America, implementing more requirements on businesses and public spaces to ensure access for individuals with disabilities.
However, the Americans with Disabilities Act touches life in America in ways that many are not aware of. Here are six lesser-known facts about the importance of ADA compliance.
1) Websites are covered: In many cases, websites must have compliance options for people who are visually impaired. While this can present potential problems for many businesses, a variety of tools, such as an ADA compliance checker. According to AudioEye, a website that is not accessible increases the legal exposure to a potential accessibility lawsuit. Check your website’s Accessibility Score to ensure you are creating inclusive content for all your audiences.”
These tools can help ensure that your business' website is ADA compliant, allowing you to gain access to a valuable demographic while also staying compliant with an important law.
2) Not every space needs to be ADA compliant: There are some spaces that do not need ADA compliance. These include spaces that were constructed before 1990 and private organizations that do not regularly provide public access.
3) Job accommodations are required: The ADA is about more than just access. It also requires that "reasonable" job accommodations be made for people with disabilities.
This may require the use of additional equipment, like office equipment that ensures someone with a physical disability can comfortably work.
4) Schools are covered: The Americans with Disabilities Act also covers schools. Schools must ensure that all of their extracurricular and academic programs make reasonable accommodations to ensure that people with disabilities have access to an array of programs.
This means that they must make interpreters or appropriate equipment available. It also means that schools should have a designated ADA coordinator who is responsible for compliance and access.
5) Public transit is covered: A person with a physical disability will still need to access public transportation. As such, public transit in America must make accommodations to ensure that someone with disabilities can access their services.
This has many practical impacts. For example, it may require that buses have wheelchair lifts, or that airplanes have the ability to accommodate someone in a wheelchair. It even covers things like curb cuts, requiring that people with wheelchairs can easily use sidewalks.
6) The Americans with Disabilities Act took years to accomplish: Like most major pieces of legislation, the ADA draws upon decades of activist efforts to become law, with the United States spending much of the later half of the 20th-century improving disability rights.
This effort culminated in the ADA, which was signed into law by then-President George H.W. Bush in 1990. As such, the law is still relatively young.
ADA compliance is critical for any business’s success, and as a business owner, you should do everything you can to ensure that your business complies with this law. This is more than a moral and legal obligation - it is also a financial one.