New Rules Would Make the ADA Applicable to All Employers

By March 3, 2005General

As most of you know, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has a small employer exemption. Years ago, this was immortalized in an episode of “King of the Hill” when Mr. Hill fired somebody so he could get under the ADA threshold.

However, the Justice Department is planning some new changes to the ADA accessibility requirements that would confound Mr. Hill and apply to all employers, all manufacturers, regardless of size.

Click here for an alert from the SBA’s Office of Advocacy. In there, among other things, it notes that these new rules will require employee-only areas to be wheelchair-accessible(including eliminating steps, reducing grades of floor slopes, and widening doorways and paths between machines) and whether or not the employer has ever had or is ever likely to have a wheelchair-bound employee. There’s a link in there where you can get more information on where to submit comments on DOJ’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). You can also e-mail the SBA’s Michael See at michael.see@sba.gov. Comments are due by May 31.

Whenever we talk about the ADA, we like to point out first and foremost that manufacturers are at the forefront of accommodating the disabled and also that the number one and number two claims under the ADA are back injuries and emotional distress, respectively. Not exactly what we had in mind when it passed, was it?