Posted in Accesibility for People with disabilities, ADA Title III

No, a grocery store does NOT have to put Braille on soup cans!

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Many businesses are understandably still nervous about the AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA). They are afraid that they will have to spend exorbitant amounts of money to accommodate people with disabilities who want to shop in their stores or visit their offices. Among the urban myths out there is that every product in a grocery store has to have Braille on its label,  every building of more than one story has to have an elevator, and  every entrance must be wheelchair-accessible.

None of that is true. Businesses are only required to use “reasonable” efforts to accommodate those with disabilities. And what is “reasonable” is different for each establishment. A huge chain store is going to be expected to do a lot more than a mom-and-pop grocery store, because the chain store has more resources. And even though the current administration is trying to eliminate them, as of right now there are tax credits for businesses who spend money to comply with the ADA.

So what if a visually-impaired person wants to know about the ingredients in a can of soup? In most cases, it is perfectly acceptable to have an employee read the ingredients to the customer. What if someone in a wheelchair wants to go into a store where the front entrance is not accessible? As long as there is an accessible entrance somewhere, that should be sufficient.  Or it may be necessary to arrange for items to be delivered to the customer.

With businesses that are being constructed or altered after 1992, there are specific requirements for things like doorways, parking places and restrooms. But the good news is that the difference in cost of building accessible and non-accessible facilities is negligible. And think of all the additional customers you’ll attract!

The link below gives many other examples of how businesses can comply with the ADA.

https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/smallbusiness/smallbusprimer2010.htm`

Author:

I am an attorney with a disability, and I co-teach a class on disability law. But because laws are just words, I would like to learn and convey more of the real world of living with a disability in the 21st Century.

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