ADA Frequently Asked Questions
What is the “ADA”?
The ADA is a Federal civil rights law for people with disabilities, comparable to civil rights laws passed in the 1960s for other minorities. It covers employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, and telecommunications for the deaf.
What is a “public accommodation”?
Public accommodations are any place, building, or outdoor space that a member of the public can enter with or without a fee. It does not include “private clubs” and operations owned or operated by religious entities.
Categories of public accommodations listed in the ADA are:
- Places of lodging (hotel, motel, apartment complex)
- establishments serving food and drinks
- places of exhibition or entertainment
- places of gathering
- sale or rental establishments
- service establishments
- stations used for public display or collection
- places of exercise or recreation
- places of education
- social service centers
What must a public accommodation do, or not do, under
A public accommodation under the ADA cannot deny goods or services because a person has a disability or is with a disabled person, cannot offer only unequal or separate benefits, and must offer services in the most integrated setting.
May a public accommodation screen the disabled?
A public accommodation must not use eligibility criteria or standards that screen out, or tend to screen out, persons with disabilities.
What are the access requirements for public
A newly constructed or designed or altered accommodation must meet all of the physical access requirements of the ADA Access Guidelines (ADAAG - Final Guidelines).
If a public accommodation is not newly constructed or
designed, and it is not altered, is it fda exempt?
No. An existing public accommodation facility which has not undergone, or is not undergoing, alterations must be made accessible if it is “readily achievable”, meaning, under the ADA, “without much difficulty or expense”.
What are some examples of “readily achievable”?
Ramps, curb ramps, widening doorways, putting tactile markers on elevators, swimming pool lifts, etc. Even if compliance is not readily achievable, an existing facility must then provide the service in an alternative manner.