What is the ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a U.S. federal law that prohibits discrimination and exclusion against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, and public and private places that are open to the general public (i.e., “public accommodations”). The ADA sets accessibility standards for new buildings/facilities and for alterations to existing facilities. It also mandates elimination of barriers in existing public accommodations where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense.
Are Barbershops Subject to the ADA?
Privately owned businesses that are open to the public are subject to the ADA and generally must remove barriers to access for disabled persons. These types of businesses are called “public accommodations” and include places like barbershops, nail salons, restaurants, and retail stores.
However, there is a narrow exception for already-existing barbershops or other public accommodations if removal of barriers to access for disabled persons is not readily achievable. For example, the cost of removing a barrier to become compliant with the ADA in comparison to the financial resources of an already-existing establishment is a relevant factor when determining whether the barrier removal is readily achievable and thus required.
Steps to Make a Barbershop ADA Compliant
There are several measures that a barbershop can take to ensure compliance with the ADA if readily achievable. Below are a few helpful examples.
- Install a ramp if the entrance to the barbershop requires the use of stairs or steps.
- Replace round doorknobs with levered handles that can be operated without grip strength. Door handles should not be lower than 34 inches from the floor nor higher than 48 inches above the floor.
- If the barbershop has a “no pets” policy, an exception should be made for service animals.
- Designate at least one handicapped parking space per every 25 spaces. If the barbershop location is rented, notify the building’s landlord if the parking lot is out of compliance.
- Allow persons in wheelchairs to have their hair cut in their wheelchair if they are unable to mount a barbershop chair.
- Allocate room in the barbershop waiting area at least 36 inches wide by 48 inches long for a person in a wheelchair to wait.