No excuse for violating ADA

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Twenty-seven years ago the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. The ADA prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, and telecommunications. In addition to increasing access for persons with disabilities, the ADA also protects the right of persons with disabilities to file a formal complaint.

Currently, the ADA allows persons with disabilities the right to file a formal complaint against areas of public accommodation under the U.S Department of Justice. This process can take months. The proposed ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) would further delay the complaint process by requiring that persons with disabilities notify the business in writing, and wait 180 days before they can exercise their civil right to file a complaint. This bill allows a business owner 60 days to research the allegation, and an additional 120 days to resolve the access complaint.  

Businesses have had 27 years to become compliant with ADA access standards. H.R 620 takes a back seat approach to the ADA by suggesting that persons with disabilities can wait for access. Persons with disabilities have waited long enough. Having to face discrimination is always an unfair burden, but being asked to wait before you can fight acts of discrimination is simply un-American. No other group is asked to wait before exercising their civil right to fight discrimination.

All in all, H.R 620 prioritizes businesses over the civil rights of persons with disabilities. This is unacceptable. How long do we have to wait? Isn’t 27 years long enough? Together we can protect the ADA. 

Jennifer Lee

Systems advocate, Stavros