If you own a restaurant in California, you know how difficult it can be to simply meet all of the standards and guidelines set forth for your business. In addition to the legal requirements placed on restaurant owners, you must also consider compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The intent of the ADA is to allow individuals with certain physical needs the ability to live relatively normal lives without the fear of discrimination or harassment. As a restaurant owner, it means that your dining room must meet certain standards in order to ensure that people with disabilities can eat and navigate the premises with relative ease.
What does your restaurant have to do?
In 2010, The U.S. Justice Department adopted new guidelines in order to make the implementation and enforcement of the ADA simpler. Here is what ADA compliance means for your restaurant:
- You must evenly distribute accessible seating areas throughout all of your dining areas. This includes counter service areas, bar seating and any high top tables you have.
- Your regular dining tables must be a height of 28 to 34 inches tall. This is in order to accommodate any guests who may be in wheelchairs.
- Under the new ADA guidelines, any bench seating must be a minimum of 42 inches long with back supports that match the length of the seat.
These are just some of the considerations you may have to make regarding ADA compliance. For example, there must be appropriate lighting for guests to move around without an unnecessary risk of injury.
In addition to your dining room, you must also ensure that your restrooms meet certain ADA standards that relate to hand rails, direction of the stall doors and more. Keeping up with the many obligations you have can be daunting, and even after adhering, you may find that you are the subject of a lawsuit.
Defending your restaurant against allegations
ADA compliance is a serious obligation for any restaurant owner. If you would like to avoid legal complications regarding this issue or are facing allegations of non-compliance, you have no time to lose regarding the protection of your interests.
You have the right to seek help regarding possible exemptions, fighting unwarranted lawsuits and seeking cost-effective solutions regarding your ADA concerns. When your business is at stake, you would be wise not to take any chances, but to be fully cognizant of how you can protect yourself and your restaurant.