This month, Disability.gov, the US federal government website for information on disability programs and services nationwide, highlighted 10 Things You Might Not Know About the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Here are the major points as applicable to the club industry, in honor of the 24th anniversary of this landmark regulation.
1. Approximately 57 million Americans have a disability. Source: US Census
2. The ADA addresses five different areas: (I) employment, (II) public programs and services offered by state and local governments, (III) public accommodations, (IV) telecommunications and (V) other. For the club industry, titles I and III are the most pertinent.
What about exemptions? It is a myth that all private clubs are exempt from ADA compliance. Only bona fide private clubs that are open to only members and their guests, do not regularly hold public events and are tax-exempt under the Internal Revenue Service’s 501(c)(7) code are exempt from ADA regulations. In addition, any club, no matter what its status, can be subject to litigation over the issue of exemption, whether or not the club ultimately prevails on that issue. Learn more on CMAA’s ADA Resource page.
3. According to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a free source of expert one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues, nearly 60 percent of the accommodations needed by workers with disabilities cost absolutely nothing, and only 36 percent of employers incurred a one-time cost of roughly $500.
4. Pregnancy is not considered a disability under the ADA, but pregnancy-related conditions may be recognized as a disability and could require an accommodation. Further consideration must be made under other federal regulations including the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released new guidance for pregnancy discrimination and related issues.