If you own or operate a business, it’s important to ensure that you comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including businesses. Making your business ADA compliant shows that you’re committed to providing equal access and opportunity for all customers and employees.
If you’re starting a new business or want to include more diversity and inclusivity in your current company, this article is for you. Keep reading below to learn more about ADA laws and the importance of ADA compliance.
What Is the Americans With Disabilities Act?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, businesses are prohibited from discriminating against people with disabilities. ADA was passed in 1990 and George H. W. Bush signed it into law. It ensures that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
The ADA applies to businesses of all sizes, from small businesses to large corporations. All businesses must comply with the ADA, regardless of whether they have ever received a complaint or been sued for non-compliance. There are three main parts to the ADA:
Title I: Employment Discrimination
Title II: Public Accommodations
Title III: Telecommunications
Title I of the ADA protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace. This includes hiring, firing, promotions, salary, benefits, and training.
Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all places of public accommodation. This includes businesses such as hotels, restaurants, transportation services, and stores.
Title III of the ADA requires that all telecommunications companies provide equal access to their services for people with disabilities. This includes making sure that their products and services are accessible and usable by people with disabilities.
Why Is ADA Compliance Important For Your Business?
ADA compliance is important for your business because it shows that you’re committed to providing equal access and opportunity for all customers and employees, regardless of their disability status. This not only demonstrates your company’s values, but also helps to create a more inclusive and diverse workplace.
Furthermore, ADA compliance is required by law. If you don’t comply with the ADA, you could be subject to legal action, including fines, penalties, and damages. In some cases, you may even be required to make changes to your business in order to become compliant.
So, if you’re looking to create a more inclusive workplace or want to avoid potential legal action, it’s important to ensure that your business is ADA compliant. Here’s a closer look at the consequences of not being ADA compliant:
You could potentially be subject to legal action if you’re not ADA compliant. This could include fines, penalties, and damages. In some cases, you may even be required to make changes to your business in order to become compliant.
The cost range for fines and penalties is usually $55,000 to $150,000, but can be as high as $75,000 per violation. But of course, these numbers differ depending on each case and violation.
Additionally, you may also be required to pay the attorney’s fees and court costs for the plaintiffs. These costs can quickly add up, especially if there are multiple plaintiffs.
So, if you’re not ADA compliant, you could end up paying a lot of money in fines, penalties, and damages.
Inconvenience and Stress
Aside from the legal costs, not being ADA compliant is a huge inconvenience. This is because you’ll likely have to make changes to your business in order to become compliant. This is a time-consuming and stressful process, especially if you’re not familiar with the ADA or accessibility laws. You’ll have to figure out what needs to be changed and how to go about making those changes.
Furthermore, you may need to hire an ADA consultant to help you with the process—which is an additional cost that you may not have planned for. All of the extra craziness is a headache, and it can hinder you from running your business.
Loss of Business
In addition to the legal and financial consequences, not being ADA compliant can also lead to a loss of business. This is because customers with disabilities will take their business elsewhere if they feel that they’re not being accommodated.
Furthermore, word will spread about your lack of compliance, and potential customers may choose to go to your competitors instead. This can lead to a loss in revenue and a decrease in market share. Therefore, it’s not only important to follow ADA compliance for the sake of following the law, but also for the sake of your business.
Poor Public Image
If you’re not ADA compliant, it could damage your business’s public image. This is because people will see your company as being discriminatory and exclusionary. As a result, they may choose to do business with one of your competitors instead—which goes back to the previous point.
How Can You Make Your Business ADA Compliant?
There are a few different ways that you can make your business ADA compliant. Here are a few of them:
Assess Your Business
One of the first steps that you need to take is to assess your business. This means taking a look at your facilities and determining what changes must be made to make them accessible for everyone.
For example, you may need to install ramps or make changes to doorways and restrooms. You’ll also need to take a look at your parking lot and make sure that it meets ADA standards.
Make a Plan
Once you’ve assessed your business and determined what needs changing, it’s time to make a plan. Doing this step will help you figure out what needs revamping and when it needs to be done.
If you have a large business, it’s a good idea to make changes in phases. Doing so will help you avoid being overwhelmed and stressed out. Additionally, making a plan helps you to stay organized and on track.
Make the Necessary Changes
After you’ve made a plan, it’s time to start making the necessary changes. This includes both big and small changes. For instance, you may need to add handicap-accessible parking.
You’ll also need to make sure that your employees are trained on how to accommodate customers with disabilities. This includes things like using proper language and being aware of customer needs.
The Benefits of ADA Compliance
Being ADA compliant and following ADA law isn’t just about “avoiding trouble”. There are actually some benefits that come with it, including:
If you make changes to your business to accommodate customers with disabilities, you may be able to get a tax write-off. This is because the government offers tax breaks for businesses that make an effort to be accessible. Therefore, it’s a good idea to talk to your accountant or tax preparer about this possibility. The Internal Revenue Service offers up to $15,000 in tax credits per year.
Another benefit of being ADA compliant is that it can help you retain your employees. This is because people with disabilities want to work for companies that are inclusive and accommodating.
Additionally, employees who don’t have disabilities want to work for companies that are ADA compliant. This is because it shows that the company cares about its employees and is willing to make the necessary changes to accommodate them.
As previously mentioned, being ADA compliant can actually help you increase your business. This is because people with disabilities tend to spend more money than people without disabilities. In fact, studies have shown that people with disabilities have an estimated spending power of $490 billion.
This is a huge market that you don’t want to miss out on. By making your business ADA compliant, you’re opening yourself up to this market and increasing your chances of getting more customers.
Accommodating the Aging Population
The aging population is another group of people that you don’t want to exclude. This is because they, too, can benefit from being able to access your business.
For example, let’s say that you own a restaurant. You may not think that the aging population is important to your business. However, they may have difficulty getting around and may need things like ramps or elevators.
By being ADA compliant, you’re accommodating this group of people and making it easier for them to visit your business.
The Importance of ADA Compliance
As you can see, ADA compliance is essential for any business. Not only does it help you avoid legal trouble, but it also has a number of other benefits.
With that said, if you need assistance with becoming ADA compliant, let us help you. Our company has a vast selection of ADA signs, like braille signs, bathroom signs, door signs, and more. We’ve been a trusted vendor for government and business compliance since 1993.
To get a quick quote from us, visit our website or call us at 1-800-745-9375. We hope to hear from you soon!