If you think your New York Small Business is immune from Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements because you have just a few employees or none of your employees are disabled, think again. All businesses are required to follow ADA requirements. These requirements exist to protect the huge percentage (about 40%) of Americans who are considered disabled. Is your business ADA compliant? If not, here are some ways to reduce the odds of being hit with a noncompliance lawsuit.
Take All Complaints Seriously
If someone alerts you in writing, via phone, or in person that your business is not ADA-compliant for one reason or another, do not become defensive. Instead, view the notification as an opportunity to bring your business into compliance with the law so you don’t find yourself in an expensive legal battle. Respond promptly and courteously to the information and outline the steps you’ll take to remedy the problem and become compliant. The expense of installing a ramp or adding more handicapped parking spaces pales in comparison to the expense of defending your business in a lawsuit – especially if you lose the lawsuit and the plaintiff is awarded damages.
Hire a Consultant
If you’ve given little or not thought to your business’s ADA compliance, it’s smart to hire a Certified Access Specialist to evaluate your business and provide feedback. This puts you in control and gives you the information you need to gradually bring your business into compliance on your terms and timeframe.
Focus on The Biggest Problem Areas
Most complaints about businesses not complying with ADA requirements focus on lack of access from the parking lot to the inside of the business. Make sure you have enough handicapped parking spaces, ramps or elevators wheelchair users can use as an alternative to stairs, countertops that wheelchairs can fit under, etc. You can find a list of requirements on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website.
In addition to complying with ADA requirements, make sure you’re covered in case a customer or employee (disabled or not) is injured on your premises. Contact us at The Rubin Group, 877.806.7239, for all of your business insurance needs.