- Many people have vision problems, which can make it more difficult to use your company website. Your business site should be ADA compliant.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed back in 1990. This legislation was intended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Although it was initially challenged by some state rights advocates, it was ultimately determined to be constitutional due to provisions in the 14th amendment.
Although this legislation is over 30 years old, some business is still aren’t familiar with all of the rules and expectations that it covers. If you run a small business in the United States, it is important to make sure that you adhere to the policies encapsulated by the ADA.
Here are some guidelines to make sure that your business is ADA compliant to minimize the risks of your business.
Understand your obligations under the ADA
The Americans with Disabilities Act has different requirements for various organizations. Government organizations, public transportation companies, entities involved in communications and several other public organizations have to abide by the broadest range of requirements.
The standards of the ADA are not as strict for most small businesses. These businesses typically only have to comply with Title III of the law. The law typically defines small businesses as entities with 15 or fewer employees.
If you don’t offer goods and services to the general public, then your small business probably only has to focus on providing accommodations to employees with disabilities. The law requires that these accommodations be “reasonable.”
If you have a larger business or one that serves the general public, then your expectations are going to be more stringent. You might need to consult with a business attorney for guidance.
Create a written policy for handling concerns for employees with disabilities
All owners and managers must make a good faith effort to provide reasonable assistance to employees with disabilities. You will have an easier time being consistent if you adapt a formal policy.
Your policy should talk about workplace accommodations for these employees, including accessibility, economic workstations and leaves and absences. You should make sure that every relevant employee is aware of these policies.
Make accessibility a top priority
We have previously mentioned that accessibility is important for a business. Making sure that the facility is accessible is by far the most important factor in ADA compliance. This is the biggest reason that business owners face penalties from the Department of Labor or Department of Commerce for not abiding by the law.
You should have handicapped parking spaces if you have a large parking lot and expect to have a number of employees. You should also try to make your building accessible to people with a wheelchair.
Allow service animals
Some people with disabilities need service animals. They are most common with blind people. However, a lot of people have emotional support animals, which could be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. People with anxiety disorders and other mental health problems might make a case that an emotional support animal is necessary.
Make sure that your website can be viewed by people with disabilities
Many people have vision problems, which can make it more difficult to use your company website. Your site should be ADA compliant. You should make sure that your text and images are large enough to be viewed by these individuals. If using smaller text is important, you should at least have a way to adjust the size for people that are struggling to read it.
You might also want to provide warnings to people with conditions like epilepsy if you use strobing effects. You should give them the option to opt out of these effects to avoid having a seizure or other problems.