Why Is It Important For Businesses To Be ADA-Compliant?

Last Updated: 

April 1, 2024

Wondering what is ADA compliance? Well, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA for short, is a law that was signed by President George Bush in 1990. Its main goal is to ensure that people with disabilities have access to various places and services. It lays out guidelines that both public and private businesses should follow to make sure they're accessible to everyone.

In the United States, there are more than 40 million people with disabilities. The ADA is there to prevent discrimination against them and make sure they're included in all aspects of life.

Key Takeaways on ADA Compliance for Business

  1. ADA: Ensuring Inclusivity Since 1990: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) aims to guarantee access to places and services for over 40 million people with disabilities in the U.S., fostering inclusivity in all aspects of life.
  2. Web Accessibility is a Must: ADA compliance extends to websites, requiring businesses to adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), notably the Level AA standards, to ensure online platforms are accessible to everyone.
  3. No Discrimination in Hiring: ADA Title I prohibits discrimination against employees with disabilities, emphasising inclusive hiring practices and the provision of reasonable accommodations during the hiring process.
  4. Educate Your Team: Employees should be well-versed in accessibility best practices. Consistent training on interacting with customers and colleagues with disabilities is crucial for compliance with ADA Title III.
  5. Physical Spaces Matter Too: Architectural accessibility is vital, requiring businesses to have facilities with accessible parking, ramps, and entrances to accommodate individuals with different disabilities.
  6. Communication is Key: ADA mandates effective communication with individuals with disabilities. This involves providing necessary aids and services, such as sign language interpreters and accessible formats for written materials.
  7. Policy Framework for Equality: Businesses need to establish policies and procedures that prevent discrimination and ensure equal access to goods, services, and facilities for individuals with disabilities, reflecting a commitment to an inclusive world.
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Do Businesses Need to Follow ADA Rules?

Absolutely! The ADA applies to businesses and websites too. It's all about making sure that people with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else. Whether you're a small online shop owner or you run a basic website, you're expected to provide accessibility for people with disabilities. That means following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

So, What Does ADA Compliance for Businesses Involve?

When it comes to the ADA requirements for business, it involves the following:

1. Accessible Websites

Now, ADA rules also apply to websites. This means that even small business websites need to be accessible to people with disabilities. To be ADA-compliant, business owners usually need to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), are a big deal when it comes to making the accessible website to everyone. There are different versions of WCAG, but the most commonly aimed for is Level AA. While these guidelines aren't directly law, U.S. courts often look to them as a standard. Ensuring your website conforms to the latest version, WCAG 2.1, is a good way to avoid legal issues.

2. Inclusive Hiring

Under ADA Title I, businesses can't discriminate against employees with disabilities. You can't turn down an applicant just because they have a disability. During the hiring process, you also need to provide reasonable accommodations, such as providing digital materials that follow document and PDF standards and compliances and choosing accessible locations for interviews. 

3. Employee Training

Your employees are the face of your business, and they should know how to interact with customers who have disabilities. Properly educating your team on accessibility best practices is crucial. It could be seen as a violation of ADA Title III if you don't. Keep in mind that disability training shouldn't be a one-time thing; stay updated on current requirements and best practices.

4. Architectural Accessibility

Your physical facilities need to be accessible too. That means having accessible parking spaces, ramps, and entrances for people with different disabilities.

5. Effective Communication

ADA expects businesses to communicate effectively with people who have disabilities, including both employees and customers. You might need to provide auxiliary aids and services, like sign language interpreters or written materials in accessible formats.

6. Policy Enhancements

Businesses are required to create policies and procedures that ensure people with disabilities aren't discriminated against and have equal access to goods, services, and facilities. This includes things like allowing service animals in your business.

Understanding and following these ADA guidelines is not just about legal compliance; it's about creating an inclusive and accessible world for everyone, regardless of their abilities.

Author Bio: Emilie Brown works with the Digital Marketing team at PREP, an AI-based remediation software that enables businesses to create WCAG and ADA-compliant PDFs in minutes. Her approach and methodology is simple, concise, and to the point and connect with readers seeking for solution-driven content on topics related to accessibility and remediation. Apart from her time at work, she loves to spend time with her dog, volunteer and play her guitar.

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