Fact Sheet

ADA Compliance and Safety Issues

All nonprofits need to be attuned to ADA compliance. Both building owner and those nonprofits that rent or borrow space for their programs need to monitor ADA changes. Renters and borrowers are universally responsible within the area they occupy and need to check if they are at all liable for the rest of the facility whose parking, entry, walkways, halls, stairs aren't ADA compliant. The ADA applies to private employers with 15 or more employees.

According to the American with Disabilities Web site: The ADA is based on common sense. It recognizes that altering existing structures is more costly than making new construction accessible. The law only requires that public accommodations (e.g. stores, banks, hotels, and restaurants) remove architectural barriers in an existing facility when it is "readily achievable," i.e., it can be done "without much difficulty or expense." Inexpensive, easy steps to take include ramping one step; installing a bathroom grab bar; lowering a paper towel dispenser; rearranging furniture; installing offset hinges to widen a doorway; or painting new lines to create an accessible parking space. Accommodation can also include providing safety information in large-print format or in Braille. To ensure that your building is accessible, you can also ask representatives from nonprofits serving disabled individuals to tour the facility.

Accessibility

Public areas of your nonprofit organization's facility must be accessible for people with varying degrees of mobility. ADA Title III covers nonprofit service providers (among others) that are "public accommodations." Public accommodations are private entities who own, lease, lease to, or operate a facility, such as restaurants, retail stores, hotels, movie theaters, private schools, convention centers, doctors' offices, homeless shelters, transportation depots, zoos, day care centers and recreation venues, including sports stadiums and fitness clubs. Transportation services provided by private entities are also covered by Title III. Public accommodations must comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards for new and altered buildings, and must remove barriers in existing buildings where it's easy to do so without much difficulty or expense given the public accommodation's resources.

Architectural Standards

Public accommodations must comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards for new and altered buildings, and must remove barriers in existing buildings where it's easy to do so without much difficulty or expense given the public accommodation's resources. Some of the areas addressed are:

Recommendations

Do what you can, when you can. Set priorities according to the organization's mission in relation to regulations.

Resources

ADA Standards for Accessible Designs

The Americans With Disabilities Act, Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal, Adaptive Environments Center, Inc. and Barrier Free Environments, Inc., 1995

A Guide to Disability Rights Laws

Readily Achievable Barrier Removal and Van-accessible Parking, Americans With Disabilities Act

Oliver, Barbara B., Managing Facility Risks: 10 Steps to Safety, Nonprofit Risk Management Center, Washington, DC, 2004

Myths and Facts. A 3-page fact sheet dispelling some common misconceptions about the ADA's requirements and implementation. This publication contains basic information for businesses and State and local governments. (Spanish edition available from the ADA Information Line. FAX # 3105

ADA Compliance and Safety Issues Checklist