ADA Accessibility | Overlooked Areas can Result in Fines and Lawsuits

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Overlooked Areas

It is estimated that approximately 20% of Americans have a disability, of some form so there’s likely a lot of overlooked areas.  These numbers are expected to rise over the next 10-years.  The good news is people are not allowing disabilities to limit their lifestyle, work or leisure time.  Yet, many businesses limit their clients by not being accessible. The Department of Justice and ADA Attorneys are working hard to close the gaps, often resulting in fines, and poor press for the businesses in noncompliance.

Close-up view of a computer keyboard with a yellow key displaying the words Time For Action.

Our business is ADA compliant, right?

Accessible doorways, entrances, parking spaces, restrooms, bank machines, elevators and now websites are the primary responses businesses will provide when asked about compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Equal Rights laws.   There are key points that are being missed and are required to be accessible. “Good intentions,” is not being compliant with the laws that require equality for all persons, especially those with a disability.  To see some examples of accessibility cases and the ADA, visit this legal advocate website.

What is missing in a business accessibility plan?  Often more than one would realize.

The first item that is often overlooked is how documents are provided.  The idea of accessibility is to allow people with a disability their independence.  What kind of independence is being provided to a person who is blind or has low vision if they cannot read the materials provided to them?

Organizations spend a great deal of money to be compliant with building codes and larger ticket items, like accessible websites.  Unfortunately, any area of noncompliance results in fines, public record reporting and potentially negative press.  Learn more about ADA Violation Cases from 2006-present.

What can your business do to ensure compliance with the law; and provide your clients with the appropriate accessibility tools for their needs?

Look at the types of materials that you are providing to your clients.  Is it a legal document, a specific health document, financial statements?  Something that is personalized and specific to a client should be presented to them in a format that is most accessible to them and that they are able to review in private with user ease.

Graphical image showing several stick-figures holding hands with the word "Equality" displayed. Two of the stick-figures are in wheelchairs.

Don’t panic, the solution is simple; make accessibility the standard and not an exception.

Ask all clients in what format they would like to receive their documents. This is the best way to meet their individual needs, and create a positive professional environment.  Not all people with a visual impairment are carrying a white cane nor do they all announce their disability.  Treating all clients the same will create a positive experience for them and your employees.  Accessibility as a standard removes all claims of discrimination and noncompliance.

When the document is a general information piece like the following: Menu, Standard Form, Marketing Materials, General Notification, Policy Change and the like.  The best practice is to automatically provide the materials in Braille, large print and audio.  Let your clients know that alternative formats are readily available for them.  Remember, what is provided to a sighted client must also be available to a person with a visual disability.

The rising overlooked area of accessibility is often contained in an accessible website.

Oftentimes, a website appears to be accessible, but a key factor is missing; the attached documents are not compliant. This means they cannot be read by another device that allows a person with a disability to read the document using an assistive technology device.  This is a pitfall area that many businesses find themselves in hot water over if they are flag as being ADA non-compliant.  It is often unknown, but the Department of Justice is taking action on claims made against organizations that are not ADA Accessible and ADA Compliant.

Let Braille Works be your partner in ADA Compliance and Business Accessibility solutions.  Braille Works has been in business for over 20-years, materials are produced in a secured onsite facility with trained industry professionals.  Our productions teams are fully staffed and can meet quick turnaround deadlines, while providing high quality work.   We have the ability to meet your needs, store documents and be your accessibility solution.

Learn More

Contact Braille Works today to learn more:

Email: info@brailleworks.com

Phone: 1-800-258-7544 | 813-654-4050

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This post was written by Christine Sket

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