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“It’s strange to see yellow markings when the only place you could technically use them would be the cross hatching at the access isle. All other lines are required to be blue and the International Symbol of Accessibility is required to be a square, white on a blue background.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is a Federal Civil Rights Law that Prohibits Discrimination by Public Accommodations.

The General Rule is:

“No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.”

The key phrase of this rule is “full and equal enjoyment”. Persons with disabilities are not second-class citizens. Since owners and tenants of public accommodations are all potentially disabled in the future, they should assess their properties and remove barriers to accessibility especially regarding access from public sidewalks, parking, access to primary entrances and sanitary facilities.

For facilities built prior to 1992, the owners and tenants are required to remove all barriers to accessibility if doing so is “Readily Achievable”, meaning easily accomplished without much difficulty or expense. If a lawsuit is filed asserting denial of right of access, the court’s attitude will be that the defendant knew or should have known this requirement.

Keep in mind that good access means good business. The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 survey found that people with disabilities makeup roughly 19% of the U.S. population. Per the U.S. Dept. of Labor, people with disabilities have $200 billion in annual discretionary income to spend.

Can a business really afford to exclude 20% of its potential customers? Measures taken to provide access to people with disabilities also will increase foot traffic by attracting other portions of the population, such as senior citizens, parents with small children in strollers, and people with temporary injuries.

 

William H. Holl is a CASp inspector, providing CASp inspections and access compliance services to businesses in most areas of California. Specializing in helping companies stay compliant and provide equal access to customers, while avoiding costly lawsuits, across the San Francisco Bay Area. Serving the Silicon Valley, Monterey Bay, South Bay cities including Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, San Jose, Palo Alto and beyond. Give us a call today, or click here to fill out a contact request, and we will be happy to answer your questions.