Category Archives: ADA – Myths & Facts

MYTHS & FACTS ABOUT THE ADA #2

MYTH:

The government thinks everything accessible is readily achievable.

FACT:

Not true.  Often it may not be readily achievable to remove a barrier — especially in older structures.  Let’s say a small business is located above ground.  Installing an elevator would not, most likely, be readily achievable — and there may not be enough room to build a ramp — or the business may not be profitable enough to build a ramp.  In these circumstances, the ADA would allow a business to simply provide curbside service to persons with disabilities.

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MYTHS & FACTS ABOUT THE ADA #4

MYTH:

The ADA requires businesses to remove barriers overnight.

FACT:

Businesses are only required to do what is readily achievable at that time.  A small business may find that installing a ramp is not readily achievable this year, but if profits improve it will be readily achievable next year. Businesses are encouraged to evaluate their facilities and develop a long-term plan for barrier removal that is commensurate with their resources.

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MYTHS & FACTS ABOUT THE ADA #6

MYTH:

The ADA forces business and government to spend lots of money hiring unqualified people.

FACT:

No unqualified job applicant or employee with a disability can claim employment discrimination under the ADA.  Employees must meet all the requirements of the job and perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.  No accommodation must be provided if it would result in an undue hardship on the employer.

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MYTHS & FACTS ABOUT THE ADA #8

MYTH:

Businesses must pay large fines when they violate the ADA.

FACT:

Courts may levy civil penalties only in cases brought by the Justice Department, not private litigants.  The Department only seeks such penalties when the violation is substantial and the business has shown bad faith in failing to comply.  Bad faith can take many forms, including hostile acts against people with disabilities, a long-term failure even to inquire into what the ADA requires, or sustained resistance to voluntary compliance. The Department also considers a business’ size and resources in determining whether civil penalties are appropriate.  Civil penalties may not be assessed in cases against state or local governments or employers.

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MYTHS & FACTS ABOUT THE ADA #9

MYTH:

Many ADA cases involve frivolous issues.

FACT:

The Justice Department’s enforcement of the ADA has been fair and rooted in common sense.  The overwhelming majority of complaints received by the Justice Department have merit. Their focus is on fundamental issues related to access to goods and services that are basic to people’s lives. They have avoided pursuing fringe and frivolous issues and will continue to do so.

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