Understanding the ADA Compliance Changes
By Clara Rose Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Influence MATTERS | November 27, 2011
Understanding the ADA compliance laws can seem like a daunting task. As the March 2012 deadline approaches, having a grasp on the new ADA compliance changes is becoming critical.
The Attorney General, the head of the Department of Justice, takes ADA compliance very seriously. The ultimate goal of the DOJ is to provide equal access for all, without regard to their ability. To this end, they often impose severe fines for non-compliance.
Lawsuits brought against violators, by the Attorney General, can include monetary damages and civil penalties; however the civil penalties may not exceed $50,000 if it is a first time violation. Subsequent offenses may bring civil penalties up to $100,000 per violation.
Recently a large hotel chain was cited in 900 of its hotels and a large convenience store chain was required to establish a $1.5M compensatory damages fund for potentially aggrieved individuals who MAY someday file a claim with the Attorney General. Clearly it is prudent to be proactive with a plan toward compliance.
If there is a compliance plan in place, a simple review of the policies and procedures should be sufficient. If a compliance survey was not a part of that process, having one done might be a good course of action for some peace of mind.
Establishing a plan
• Utilize the services of an ADA renovation specialist, an ADA Attorney and an Insurance Risk Manager; get a complete comprehensive compliance survey.
• Establish a "Compliance File", to document your compliance efforts. Document audits, trainings, workshops, meetings, barrier removal, etc.
• Review company policies for potential discrimination.
• Review job descriptions and employee policies for potential discrimination.
• Establish a plan to remediate any identifiable compliance issues.
• Video and digitally archive all projects from start to finish; this ensures accurate historical documentation.