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What is ADA?  

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights act enacted in 1990 prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities.

There are five sections, or "titles," which cover different aspects of discrimination:

  • Title 1, Employment
  • Title II, State and Local Government
  • Title III, Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities
  • Title IV Telecommunications
  • Title V, which covers miscellaneous sections that deal with constructions

What is the process for complying with ADA?

There is a basic process for complying with ADA:

  • Learning about the requirements of ADA and how they apply to a facility or program;
  • Conducting a survey to identify barriers and violations
  • Establishing a list of potential modifications for barrier removal, including changes to policies, facilities, and cost estimates;
  • Removing existing barriers.

Title III, Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities Operated by Private Entities

Title III distinguishes between privately-owned businesses that invite the public in to purchase goods and services (public accommodations) and those that don't (commercial facilities). Public accommodations are required to remove barriers in existing facilities where it is readily achievable to do so.

Title III regulations list twelve categories of public accommodations:

  • Places of lodging (an inn, hotel, motel, or other place of lodging)
  • Establishment serving or drink (a restaurant, bar, or other establishment serving food or drink)
  • Places of exhibition or entertainment (a motion picture house, theater, concert hall stadium, or other place of entertainment or exhibition)
  • Places of public gathering (an auditorium, convention center, lecture hall, or other place of public gathering)
  • Sales or rental establishments (a bakery, grocery store, clothing store, hardware store, shopping center or mall, or other sales or rental establishments)
  • Service establishments (a laundromat, dry cleaner, bank, barber shop, beauty salon, travel service, shoe repair service, funeral parlor, gas station, office of an accountant or lawyer, pharmacy, insurance office, professional office of a heath care provider, hospital or other service establishment)
  • Stations used for public transportations (a terminal, depot, or other station used for specified public transportation
  • Places for public display or collection (a museum, library, gallery, or other place of public display or collection)
  • Places of recreation (a park, zoo, amusement park, or other place of recreation)
  • Places of education (a nursery, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or post graduate private school or other place of education)
  • Social service establishments (a day care center, senior citizen center, homeless shelter, food bank, adoption agency, or other social service center establishment)
  • Places of exercise and recreation (a gym, health spa, bowling alley, golf course, or other place of exercise or recreation)

All such establishments have to comply with the requirements for public accommodations; only private clubs and religious establishments are exempt (but any public accommodations leasing spaces from them have to comply).