Rep. Calvert Introduces the ACCESS Act to Help Small Businesses Comply with ADA Law
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) introduced the ACCESS Act, H.R. 4099, legislation designed to help small businesses comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“Small businesses and the jobs they create continue to be under siege by serial litigants, who manipulate well-meaning laws, like the ADA, just to line their own pockets,” said Rep. Calvert. “The ACCESS Act will protect small business owners and disabled Americans through critical reforms to the ADA that ensure it continues to protect access for the disabled and not abusive lawsuits. Small business owners want to comply with the ADA and give their customers access to their business; the ACCESS Act simply ensures they have time to make necessary improvements before being subjected to costly lawsuits.”
The ACCESS (ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services) Act would alleviate the financial burden small businesses are facing, while still fulfilling the purpose of the ADA. Any person aggrieved by a violation of the ADA would provide the owner or operator with a written notice of the violation, specific enough to allow such owner or operator to identify the barrier to their access. Within 60 days the owner or operator would be required to provide the aggrieved person with a description outlining improvements that would be made to address the barrier. The owner or operator would then have 120 days to remove the infraction. The failure to meet any of these conditions would allow the suit to go forward.
The purpose of the ADA is to ensure appropriate remedial action for those who have suffered harm. Although there are times when litigation by harmed individuals is necessary, there are an increasing number of lawsuits brought under the ADA that are based upon a desire to achieve financial settlements rather than to achieve the appropriate modifications. ADA lawsuits are especially prevalent in California. According to the California Chamber of Commerce, California has 40% of the nation’s ADA lawsuits but only 12% of the country’s disabled population. These lawsuits place exorbitant legal fees on small businesses and often times they are unaware of the specific nature of the allegations brought against them.