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Do Small Businesses Have To Be ADA Compliant and Why?

orange background. In the center, the ilustration of a computer with a lawswit and Hugo thinking. It representes the question of " do do small businesses have to be ada compliant?"

We know that many of you may think that the answer to this question is no, but we are here to tell you otherwise, and we will explain why! So, if you are a small business owner or a small entrepreneur, follow along with this content, especially if your intention is to grow your commerce.

Shall we?

What Is The Americans With Disabilities Act?

The American With Disabilities Act, also known as ADA, is a law signed by George Bush in 1990, aiming to guarantee accessibility for people with disabilities. It contains a guideline for public and private corporations to follow and offer accessibility solutions for them.

In the United States, there are over 40 million people with disabilities. The ADA Compliance prohibits discrimination against them, which also implies ensuring their inclusion in all means. 

Do Small Businesses Have To Be ADA Compliant?

Yes! Small businesses and small websites are required to comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)! After all, people with disabilities should have the same rights as all other people, and also be able to interact with all sizes of commerce, working at it and consuming from them.

For example, if you are a small e-commerce owner, there are people with disabilities trying to access your webpage, but they are probably facing many barriers to do so. That is where digital accessibility comes in. You must ensure that your communication is accessible to people with disabilities, following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

ADA Requirements For Small Businesses:

It is important for small businesses owners to understand that it is their responsibility under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure accessibility and inclusion to their employees and all other publics

Some of these requirements are:

  • Architectural accessibility: it is important to make sure that the facilities are accessible to people with different kinds of disabilities. This includes providing accessible parking spaces, ramps, and accessible entrances to the building.
  • Accessibility and assistive technologies: it is necessary to provide assistive technologies and services to ensure inclusion for people. This means providing necessary tools and services for employees to work with autonomy, or even building an accessible website, according to the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), allowing users with disabilities to navigate more comfortably.
  • Policy Enhancements: this is about creating special policies and procedures to ensure that people with disabilities are not discriminated against and are provided with equal access to goods, services, and facilities. This also includes, for example, allowing a service animal in a business setting.

Who Is Exempt From ADA Requirements?

By now, you already know that following ADA requirements is important for all sizes of businesses, as it is the way to ensure your company is communicating and including all people. However, there are a few organizations that are not obligated to comply with it, such as small businesses with less than 15 employees may be exempt from certain provisions of the law, but they still need to provide reasonable accommodations to customers with disabilities. As well as some religious organizations, private clubs and historic buildings. 

How Does The ADA Affect Small Businesses?

As we said before, ADA is a law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all matters, including the guaranteeing of education, employment, transportation etc. So, this affects the small businesses because they must provide accessibility and inclusion for their employees and customers with disabilities.  

This means that all businesses must adequate their facilities and build their communication prioritizing accessibility and assistive technologies for all people.

What Happens To A Business If They Are Not ADA Compliant?

Just as any other law, when your business is not compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is subject to fines, lawsuits and other penalties. 

It could receive an ADA demand letter, for example, saying that it is not following the solicited standards. To put your heart at ease, this does not mean that you are being sued, at least not yet. But it does mean that you must adapt to the accessibility requirements.

So, why wait until get to this point before prioritizing accessibility? 

Examples Of ADA Compliance Lawsuits

It is not a joke when we say that businesses are subject to fines when not complying with the ADA. Some examples of ADA Compliance Lawsuits that happened in the past years are:


In 2015, the National Federation of the Blind filed a lawsuit against the ride-hailing service, Leap, for violating ADA by not providing adequate accommodations for people with disabilities. The case was settled with a consent decree requiring Leap to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles, ensure drivers received disability awareness training, and make their app and website accessible to people with disabilities.


In 2017, the National Federation of the Blind filed a lawsuit against Uber for violating ADA by not being physically accessible for people with disabilities. The people that complained, alleged that Uber’s driver screening process did not adequately address the needs of passengers with service animals, and that the company did not provide adequate training for drivers on how to assist passengers with disabilities. The case was settled with a consent decree requiring Uber to improve its services for passengers with disabilities, including the implementation of a feature in its app that allows passengers to request wheelchair-accessible vehicles.


In 2019, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case brought by Domino’s Pizza, in which the company argued that the ADA did not apply to its website and mobile app. The case originated from a lawsuit filed by a blind man who was unable to order a pizza online because the website and app were not accessible to individuals with visual impairments. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ADA applied to the company’s website and app, and that the plaintiff had the right to sue under the law. This case highlights the growing importance of website accessibility under the ADA.

How Can I Protect My Business From ADA Lawsuits?

Well, for a start, the best way to protect your business from ADA Lawsuits is to make sure you are ADA compliant! There are some steps you can take to do so, such as conducting an accessibility audit, checking what needs to be changed and doing it afterwards, training employees on how to assist people with disabilities, developing an accessibility policy, and staying informed

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Hair Salons Have To Be ADA Compliant?

Yes, hair salons are considered places of public accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and must be ADA compliant.

Do All Buildings Need To Be ADA Compliant?

Yes, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all public and commercial buildings must be ADA compliant. The only exception to it are historical buildings. 

Do All Businesses Have To Be Wheelchair Accessible?

Yes, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all businesses that are open to the public must provide access to people who use wheelchairs.

What Businesses Have To Be ADA Compliant?

According to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), all businesses with over 15 employees must be ADA compliant.

Will I Need To Renovate My Entire Business To Meet ADA Regulations?

It depends. If your business is already ADA compliant in some levels, it probably would just need some minor changes, but if it is not ADA compliant at all, it probably would need major improvements to bring your business into compliance with ADA.

Do not forget that when we prioritize accessibility since the beginning of the project, it makes implementation easier than when we finalize the project and only later think about including accessibility solutions.


To summarize, it is mandatory for small businesses to be ADA compliant. This is the way for ensuring accessibility, guaranteeing the inclusion of people with disability in society and providing their rights.

So if you are a small business owner and still do not know where to start, we are here to help you out! First, keep yourself informed on this subject and count on our blog for that! Also, get to know our solution in accessibility for deaf people that will soon be available in the United States! 

See you next time!

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