5 Common Violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990 with significant amendments made in 2008—effective in 2009. This vital piece of civil rights legislation is meant to protect Americans with disabilities from discrimination, particularly from employers and in public accommodations.

For the purposes of this law, a disability is defined as any mental or physical impairment that substantially limits major aspects of the disabled person’s life, and discrimination is defined as any unfavorable treatment of the individual due to their disability, or a failure to make reasonable accommodations for the disabled individual.

Employers and businesses are not required to make reasonable accommodations for disabled persons if the accommodations would cause them undue hardship, however, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a vast majority of reasonable accommodation requests are an affordable $500 or less.

Even all these years after the ADA was enacted there are still numerous violations that occur with frequency, and in this blog we have detailed five of the most common.

Employment – Perhaps the most common violation of the ADA is failing to hire, or firing an employee due to their disability. The ADA does not require employers to hire individuals with disabilities over other, more qualified applicants, but they cannot discriminate against a disabled individual simply because they do not want to pay for reasonable accommodations. This does not apply for certain jobs where the disability would clearly impact job performance, such as a paralyzed person applying to work as a roofer.

Accessibility – The ADA details specific measurements and strict requirements for accessibility to public facilities. Businesses often violate this aspect of the ADA by failing to make entrances accessible to disabled individuals through the addition of accommodations like wheelchair ramps or widening the entryway to the business. Additionally, contrary to popular belief, there is no “grandfathering in” to allow older businesses to circumvent this rule.

Service Animals – Businesses and public facilities must allow service dogs and other service animals to enter the premises, no matter their rules regarding pets and animals. Restaurants in particular are common violators of this rule, and businesses cannot even require disabled individuals to provide proof that the pet is a service animal or proof of a disability.

Parking – Public facilities like businesses, no matter their size, must provide parking that can accommodate a van. They must also provide proper signage reserving the space for handicapped individuals.

Bathrooms – Public facilities must also provide wheelchair accessible restrooms, meaning the restroom includes at least one stall that is up to size specifications stipulated by the ADA.

Keep in mind this is just a brief list of common violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it is by no means all-inclusive. If you believe you have been discriminated against based on a disability, please contact the law office of Carla D. Aikens, P.C. today and let us fight to defend you rights.