If you have a business, be sure to read below how to ensure you stay in compliance of this very important law.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law 33 years ago 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.
To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.
Did you know that the number of federal ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) lawsuits filed in California far exceeds any other state in the United States? Upon review of more than 10,000 federal ADA lawsuits filed since 2005 in five states with the highest disabled populations; California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas and New York, more lawsuits have been filed in California than all five states combined! Violating the ADA in California carries a minimum $4,000 penalty in addition to the plaintiff’s legal fees. Unlike most laws, enforcement of the ADA is not up to police or inspectors; it’s up to private lawsuits by private citizens.
“The advice we give small businesses is once every three years pay a certified access specialist for an audit and find out if you’re fully compliant or not and if not make a plan to become fully compliant” Kim Stone, president of the Civil Justice Association of California said. A certified access specialist (CASp), like Bill Holl, will work with you to identify potential violations of the ADA. The law is very complex and in California, the rules often change. There is no government agency assigned to making sure a business is in compliance. Therefore, when a violation is noticed, there will most likely be a lawsuit.
Protect your assets by hiring Bill Holl, to work with you in identifying and remedying any possible violations. Bill Holl is the Bay Area’s premier ADA consultant, serving the Silicon Valley and South Bay cities including San Jose, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Campbell and more. He also provides ADA compliance consulting throughout most areas of California including Monterey, Carmel, Santa Cruz, Morgan Hill, Gilroy and the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Give us a call today to schedule your next consultation, and let us keep your business protected from fines and lawsuits.