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Changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act now in effect

Business owners and their employees in Colorado may not be aware of the revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act that went into effect recently.

Effective March 15, the new ADA revisions are meant to clarify for business owners the standards for ADA compliance. The revisions apply to both new and existing employer facilities. The changes do not signify a wholesale overhaul, but the updates will likely require attention on the part of employers. Some of the types of facilities specifically impacted by the policy updates include areas for assembly, correctional facilities and recreation facilities.

One of the key components of the ADA is the requirement that employers provide disabled workers with reasonable accommodation and equal employment opportunities. Usually, it is up to workers to inform their employers if accommodations beyond those offered are required.

Reasonable accommodation deals mostly with access for disabled employees, including modifications such as wheelchair ramps. ADA requirements can also apply in the job application process itself. That means business owners must ensure that qualified applicants who are disabled have access to certain business facilities during the hiring process and during the applicant's subsequent work at the company.

In addition to helping disabled employees, compliance with ADA standards may also attract more customers who are disabled and who require particular accommodations.

Business owners who believe they are currently in compliance with all ADA standards will need to review the recent changes to ensure that all the necessary steps have been taken. While the new revisions are meant to help business owners ensure compliance, failure to comply could lead to discrimination-based lawsuits if disabled employees believe they are not being afforded reasonable access to facilities and employment.

Source: 9news.com, "Colorado employers must comply with new ADA standards," Mallory Davis, March 16, 2012

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