ADA Enforcement, from the United States Access Board:
"ADA Standards are not a building code, nor are they enforced like one. They constitute design and construction requirements issued under a civil rights law. The ADA’s mandates, including the accessibility standards, are enforced through investigations of complaints filed with federal agencies, or through litigation brought by private individuals or the federal government. There is no plan review or permitting process under the ADA. Nor are building departments required or authorized by the ADA to enforce the ADA Standards (some building departments even include a disclaimer on their plan checks indicating that ADA compliance is not part of their approval process). Entities covered by the law ultimately are responsible for ensuring compliance with the ADA Standards in new construction and alterations."
The Association for Equal Access is an advocate for all disabled individuals who cannot access a business because the parking lot is non-compliant or the entrance is blocked or too narrow or it is impossible to maneuver around inside the business or the restroom is not handicapped accessible. Often, providing increased access is a cost effective endeavor.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990, but many businesses, institutions and even some municipalities still have not complied. The U.S. Department of Justice enforces the ADA through lawsuits against municipalities and larger corporations such as Target and Kmart because they will achieve accessibility for many people with one lawsuit....but they cannot police every business in the USA. We understand that some businesses are not in compliance with the ADA and may operate for decades without a complaint, but when a complaint does occur, the ADA allows the affected individual and the Association for Equal Access to file a lawsuit in Federal Court against the business and business owner if necessary. In that way, we can obtain a Court Order requiring modifications to the building and the business and to insure that no further handicapped accessibility issues arise in the future.
We help our members to understand the ADA and point them in a direction which will help them receive a reasonable remedy. Often, we are able to show a business that there are cost effective methods for making an establishment more accessible. And if you own a business or are an officer at any institution or public venue, remember that there is no "Grandfather Clause" in the ADA. Every business and public venue is required to comply.