Do All Businesses Have To Be Wheelchair Accessible?

wheelchair accessibility

wheelchair accessibility

It’s no secret that some businesses must be accessible to customers of all abilities. But when it comes to wheelchair accessibility, many business owners don’t know where to start. Should all businesses be wheelchair accessible? What practical steps can business owners take to make their premises more accessible? In this blog, we’ll explore the legal requirements of business owners to provide wheelchair accessibility and the practical steps you can take to ensure compliance with accessibility laws.

Do you have questions or a legal matter you would like us to review, contact us today for a consultation.

What is the ADA Compliance Requirement for Businesses?

Federal and state laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance, and the Illinois Human Rights Act prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including employment, education, transportation, and access to public and private accommodations.

Title III of the ADA explicitly addresses accessibility requirements for businesses open to the public. Under Title III, companies must provide “reasonable accommodations” to individuals with disabilities, including those using wheelchairs, to ensure equal access to services. This includes physical modifications to their facilities, such as ramps, elevators, widened doorways, and accessible parking spaces.

Businesses must also remove any physical barriers which might impede someone from entering their premises. For example, companies should ensure that doorways are wide enough for wheelchairs, counters are low enough so they’re at waist height, and provide ramps over steps or stairs wherever required.

Are There Exceptions for Small Businesses?

No. ADA requires all public places and businesses to remain accessible to those with disabilities, regardless of size or type of venue.

Of course, not everyone has to do the same amount of work to make their business accessible. The ADA says that you only have to remove “barriers” that are “readily achievable” – in other words, things that you can easily do without too much expense or trouble.

What counts as “readily achievable” depends on how big your business is and how many resources you have. Bigger companies are expected to do more than smaller ones, but everyone has to do something.

What Happens if Your Business Doesn’t Meet ADA Accessibility Standards?

If your business doesn’t meet ADA accessibility standards, there can be severe consequences. You could face a lawsuit and be ordered to pay damages to the person who sued you. You might also have to pay for costly changes to make your business accessible. In addition, failing to comply with the ADA can damage your business’s reputation and turn away potential customers.

In extreme cases, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) could take disciplinary action against you, suspending or revoking your license. While losing your license is not the first line of punishment, repeated and severe violations could lead to this outcome. So it’s crucial to take accessibility seriously and ensure your business fully complies with the ADA.

How to Ensure Compliance With Accessibility Laws

Ensuring that your business is compliant with accessibility laws like the ADA is essential, not only to avoid penalties and lawsuits but also to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure compliance:

  1. Conduct an accessibility audit — Start by evaluating your business’s accessibility by conducting an audit. This will help you identify areas that need improvement and create a plan of action.
  2. Make necessary changes — Once you’ve identified the areas that need improvement, make the required changes to ensure compliance. This could include installing ramps, widening doorways, and adding accessible signage.
  3. Train employees — Train your employees on ADA accessibility guidelines and how to assist customers with disabilities. This will help ensure everyone visiting your business feels welcome and accommodated.
  4. Consult an attorney — It’s always better to be safe than sorry regarding your business license. If you’re unsure what changes you need to make or how to implement them, contact 1818 for guidance today.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your business is compliant with accessibility laws and create a more inclusive environment for all.

Protect Your Business License — Contact 1818 Today

Protecting your business license is essential, and making sure your business is accessible is a big part of that. At 1818, we get it. We know how important it is to comply with ADA accessibility guidelines and are here to help.

Our business license defense attorneys can help you assess your business’s accessibility, make necessary changes, and navigate legal issues. We’re here to answer your questions and help you protect your business.

So, please don’t wait until it’s too late! Instead, contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. Let us help you protect your business and create an inclusive environment for everyone.

Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas

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Jordan Matyas is a lawyer, lobbyist, and Founder of 1818 Legal, an Illinois professional licensing defense law firm he created in 2014. With more than 18 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including professional license defense, administrative law, land use and zoning, and state, local, and municipal law.

Jordan received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois — Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Illinois Bar Association.