Q: ADA compliance requirements apply to “public accommodations.” What does the term mean?
A: “Public accommodations” refers to places that are meant to be accessed by the general public. Examples include hotels, restaurants, parks, museums, libraries, schools (both public and private), day care facilities, medical clinics, and retail stores.
Q: Are there any public entities that are exempt from the ADA’s accessibility requirements?
A: Yes. Examples include religious facilities and private clubs.
Q: Are there limits on how much the ADA can expect of a public accommodation?
Y: Yes. The act cannot be used to force modifications that would “fundamentally alter” the nature of the service the accommodation provides. For example, the ADA cannot require a doctor who only treats burn victims to treat a person for deafness, instead of referring that individual to an appropriate specialist. This would force the physician to change his own area of specialization in order to accommodate the deaf person.
Q: Does the ADA require auxiliary communication aids for those with visual or auditory impairments?
A: To an extent, yes. Aids such as note takers or written notes might be required in an educational setting, for example. However, the act does not require public accommodations to provide auxiliary aids that would impose undue burdens on them. For example, a restaurant could not be forced to hire employees to feed persons who cannot hold utensils. These provisions are subject to interpretation on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Are there limitations on the act’s requirement to remove physical barriers to access?
A: Yes. Such removal is only required when doing so is “readily achievable.” Removing it must not necessarily entail excessive or burdensome difficulty or expense. For example, a hiking trail may be inaccessible to wheelchair-bound persons. However, altering it to give them access would be unreasonably burdensome on park officials
Q: I still have questions about the ADA. Can Burnham Nationwide help me?
A: Certainly. We are highly knowledgeable in all aspects of ADA compliance requirements. Contact us today for more information.