The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. It focuses on ensuring that all people have the same level of access, even when suffering from disabilities.
A common example of this is the requirement that a building with raised sections has both stairs and a ramp so that those in wheelchairs can also access the upper levels. But this is just one element of the Act. Below are five frequently asked questions to help you delve a bit deeper.
Q: Does the ADA use the medical definition of disability?
A: Not always. It is a legal term in this sense. Someone may qualify under the legal term even if they are not (or are no longer) medically disabled.
Q: What is an undue hardship?
A: Reasonable accommodations are necessary except for when they present an undue hardship. This is determined independently for each case. Generally, it just means that the accommodation would be very difficult or prohibitively expensive.
Q: When was the ADA last updated?
A: The most recent update was in 2010. These changes did not go into effect until 2012, however. It is always important to keep an eye out for future updates so that you know if anything significant has changed.
Q: Can you be grandfathered in?
A: Many business owners hope that older buildings will be grandfathered in and won’t need to be updated. However, this is not how it works. Every building must be updated to at least the 1990 standards. There is some leeway in cases where updates made to meet those 1990 standards don’t meet the new, 2010 standards, and you may be able to keep them that way. It depends on the issue and the case.
Q: What can you do if you’re facing a lawsuit based around a violation or a lack of compliance?
A: You can see that you may not agree with allegations of a lack of compliance; you may claim an undue hardship, for instance, while someone else claims discrimination. The law is fairly complex, and you need to take the time to carefully consider all of your legal options.