CCD Slams ADA, Business Compliance Measure

US Capitol Building

by Andy Jones
December 1, 2016

The National Disability Rights Network and 100 other disability rights organizations signed onto a letter submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 22 [PDF], opposing a new bill that they argue would make it more difficult for people with disabilities to force business to comply with the ADA.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Education and Reform Act of 2016 would prohibit people from filing ADA accessibility lawsuit against a business without first providing a written notice, specifying the alleged violations. The business would then have a 180-day cure period to cure the alleged violations, a provision that the advocates described as “unheard of in any other civil rights law.”

“There is no need for such legislation and it flies in the face of civil rights that have been protected by the ADA since 1990 when Congress passed this law in a fully bipartisan fashion,” the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities wrote in the letter. “The asserted justification for the bill is that it is too burdensome for businesses to understand their legal obligations under the ADA.

“Instead, this bill inappropriately puts the burden upon people with disabilities to understand those obligations and determine for themselves when the law applies.”

The bill would also require the Department of Justice to create a model training program for business compliance with ADA requirements. The CCD countered that ADA Technical Assistance Centers are already readily available nationwide, calling the proposal “duplicative, unnecessary and a misuse of Department of Justice revenues better focused on protecting the civil rights of citizens with disabilities”

“S.3446 removes all incentive for businesses, social service establishments, and other places of public accommodation to comply with the ADA’s accessibility requirements, unless and until an individual with a disability recognize that the place is out of compliance with the ADA and provides the written notice in precisely the correct manner," the letter states. "It allows businesses to adopt a 'wait and see' approach, continuing to violate the law with impunity and excluding countless people with disabilities from accessing their goods, services and facilities.

“There would be no penalty to the business for having waited months, years, decades, to come into compliance with the law.”

Disability Rights Washington is the designated protection and advocacy agency in Washington and a member of the National Disability Rights Network.