The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 to protect Americans from discrimination due to a disability. Many businesses have since been concerned about ADA lawsuits and have sought methods to prevent them. While the measures are not particularly complex, they are essential to avoid the frustrations and expenses related to ADA lawsuits.
What is an ADA Lawsuit?
An ADA lawsuit is filed when the rights of a disabled person have been violated in accordance with the American with Disabilities Act. Businesses cannot discriminate against people with conditions that include: blindness, mobility impairments, cancer, diabetes, HIV, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, conditions that result in illegal activity – such as kleptomania and pedophilia – are not classified as disabilities and are therefore not protected under the ADA.
In essence, the most important measure for preventing an ADA lawsuit is to know the law and its limitations.
Do Employers Have to Accommodate?
If a business employs people with disabilities of any kind, it is important to communicate with them. It is often the case that no law has been broken, but a particular employee believes that his or her disability has not been properly accommodated. In such a scenario, dialogue is the best solution. Rather than risking a potentially damaging lawsuit, the business should communicate with the employee and implement reasonable accommodations to resolve the issue.
Also, businesses should routinely ensure that they are up to code and that there are no violations of the law. Laws do change, and there have been amendments to the ADA, so it is necessary that businesses make accommodations that are in accordance with the law.
What is the Penalty for Violating the ADA?
If a business is found to have violated the ADA they face potential fines and lawsuits. Federal, state, and local governments all have regulatory agencies that routinely inspect business to ensure that they are complying with the law. Lawsuits are even more damaging than fines, potentially costing business tens of thousands of dollars. Employees and customers alike may file a lawsuit against a corporation or public place – such as a local library – for failing to comply by ADA rules.