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Is your Kansas City Small Business ADA Compliant?

Small business owners need to be aware of a plethora of rules, regulations and ordinances in order to protect themselves and their business from unwanted problems. Laws that affect small business owners are constantly being amended, updated or clarified by the courts. With this in mind, trying to keep up with the changes can sometimes feel like a full-time job. In southern California, one man, Alfredo Garcia, has definitively made small business owners more aware of one particular law - the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - albeit in a most unwelcome way.

Signed into law in 1990, the ADA is an expansive piece of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination based on disability. The ADA affords persons with disabilities similar protections as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does to persons on the basis of religion, race, sex and national origin. All businesses that provide services and/or goods to the public are considered "public accommodations" that are subject to the provisions of ADA. As a result, nearly all public accommodations, including restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, stores, and medical offices must meet certain basic accessibility requirements.

Garcia is what some refer to as a "serial plaintiff", he has made a considerable living off of filing lawsuits against small business that allegedly are in non-compliance with the ADA. To date, Garcia has filed more than 600 lawsuits against small businesses for alleged violations of the ADA. Although Garcia is indeed disabled-he is a paraplegic and has been in a wheelchair for more than 15 years-most observers agree that his strategy of filing claims over small violations takes advantage of small unsuspecting businesses.

The suits that Garcia has filed involve complaints such as the placement of bathroom mirrors and toilet paper being hung too high. Some observers believe that Garcia simply goes from one small business to another, hoping to find violations. In this view, he is a man attempting to win cash from small businesses by exploiting the spirit of the ADA.

Of course, Garcia has his army of defenders. Some regard him as a warrior of sorts, fighting for equal access for the disabled. Regardless of your view of Garcia, it is good practice to regularly review your property to ensure that your business is ADA compliant. In the United States, more than 50 million Americans, or nearly 1 in 5 people, are living with some type of disability, and each is a potential client, customer or patron to your small business. In other words, being ADA compliant is good for business.

If you are uncertain whether your small business is ADA-compliant or if you have received notice of a pending ADA lawsuit against your company, contact my office today at 913-498-1911 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. The Hyland Law Firm has been advising business clients for over two decades. Trust a seasoned litigation attorney to advise you on the law and protect your business from unnecessary and potentially costly litigation.

Tags: Kansas Business lawyer

This entry was posted on Friday, April 19th, 2013 at 9:22 pm and is filed under Business Law. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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