Question: This concerns a lawsuit related to accessible entrances for a commercial business with an accessible front entrance and a non-accessible rear alley entrance. If the front door is accessible, is the suit without merit?
— Jim, (state withheld)
Answer: A note for my readers — I personally spoke with the writer of this question since our paths have crossed before at a disability expo. I found out that the property owner and business owner lost the suit because ADA requirements state that if all entrances are not accessible then the accessible entrance must be identified with the wheelchair logo. It was not.
Click here to see the regulations of both the 1994 and 2010 ADAAG.
The following may help you to avoid lawsuits, but they are no guarantee:
- If no handle is on the exterior door of the service entrance, that is an obvious clue that it is not a public entrance.
- The alley or rear door should be marked “Not for public use. Delivery entrance.”
- One would assume that if the sidewalk to the front public entrance is accessible, anyone using the sidewalk would automatically try the front entrance instead of the alley or rear entrance.
Be aware that there are “drive-by” individuals out there that make it their profession to do nothing but drive around and look for anything that they can use to file a complaint against an entity that has any oversight of the regulations. I understand why they are doing this, but I must say I believe in giving people a chance by explaining to them their error and allowing them the opportunity to correct it versus automatically filing complaints. But that’s just me.
Signs to post
Below are several styles of the wheelchair logo that’s required to be placed on the accessible entrance door(s). Very often you can obtain self-stick signs from places such as www.fastsigns.com.
The signs with the red canceling circle and the info signs indicating accessible entrance locations were created by me. Feel free to take them to whomever does your signs for printing.
(Thanks to Marhsa Mazz of the U.S. Access Board for her assistance with this article. She is an excellent resource for ADA-related issues. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Happy New Year to each of you, with my best wishes for a successful 2014.