Justice Departments Consideration of ADA Revisions Could Affect Small Businesses

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently considering revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards (the most recent version was issued in July 2004), which some say could be "burdensome" for some small businesses, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The revisions were proposed by the Access Board, the federal agency that created the guidelines after the act was passed in 1990, and are currently being considered by the DOJ. The Wall Street Journal reported that if accepted it would stand as "the first sweeping revision of the landmark civil rights law designed to make public facilities and employment more accessible to the disabled." The revisions would apply to new construction only.

The changes, however, could be a concern for some small businesses.

"Small businesses are struggling to comply with ADA now under existing requirements," said Thomas Sullivan, chief counsel of the office of Advocacy for the U.S. Small Business Administration in the Wall Street Journal article. "The specter of having a whole new layer piled on top of an already confusing set of regulations terrifies small businesses … there is grave concern that once small businesses have achieved compliance they will have to start all over again."

According to the article, the DOJ is considering the changes for a number of reasons, including the fact that some disabled people believe the original ADA rules "did not go far enough," as there are still many barriers to their use in public facilities.

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