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Midland Park Sign Maker Explains ADA Sign Requirements

If you own a business, you have heard about The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal civil rights law enacted in 1990, amended by The ADA Amendments Act in 2008, with regulations enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor. The purpose of ADA is to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in employment, in the programs and activities offered by state and local governments, and in accessing the goods and services offered in places like stores, hotels, restaurants, football stadiums, doctors’ offices, beauty parlors, and so on, places with public access.

Title III of the Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities, recreation facilities, and doctors’ offices) and requires newly constructed or altered places of public accommodation—as well as commercial facilities (privately owned, nonresidential facilities such as factories, warehouses, or office buildings)—to comply with the ADA Standards. The original Title III regulation was published in 1991. An update was published in March of 2011, taking effect on March 15 of that year. Part of ADA accommodations is a business owner’s requirement to provide informational and directional signage; it’s under Title III that the regulations for ADA signage are found.

So who is covered?

Public accommodations (i.e., private entities that own, operate, lease, or lease to places of public accommodation);

Commercial facilities; and

Private entities that offer certain examinations and courses related to educational and occupational certification.

Places of public accommodation include over five million private establishments, such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, convention centers, retail stores, shopping centers, dry cleaners, laundromats, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, hospitals, museums, libraries, parks, zoos, amusement parks, private schools, day care centers, health spas, and bowling alleys.

Commercial facilities are nonresidential facilities, including office buildings, factories, and warehouses, whose operations affect commerce. Residential facilities that allow for public access, say to a leasing office or a pool or an exercise room, will require ADA signage for those areas.

Entities controlled by religious organizations, including places of worship, are not covered. Nor are private clubs, except to the extent that the facilities of the private club are made available to customers or patrons of a place of public accommodation.

State and local governments are not covered by the title III regulation, but rather by the Department of Justice’s title II regulation.

If you have questions about the signage required by ADA, you should be talking to an expert. It’s a complicated and constantly changing area.

For more information or assistance with developing accessibility signage for your business, call ImageTEK Signs & Graphics at (201) 351-8755.

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