Federal and State law prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a Federal civil rights law designed to ensure equal access, full inclusion and participation for people with disabilities or impairments.

The ADA prohibits discrimination based on a person's disability in employment, State and local government programs, private and non-profit businesses (referred to as public accommodations), commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. Under the ADA, an individual with a disability is defined as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such impairment. More Info

Federal ADA Regulations Requirements

All new construction, alterations, and additions for public accommodations must comply with the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards.

Public accommodations built before January 26, 1992 are required to remove architectural barriers that are readily achievable. Facilities built after that date are required to be built in compliance with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. In addition, a public accommodation has a continuing obligation to maintain accessible features to make sure a business is accessible.

The California Building Code requires that business owners make accessibility improvements whenever they are doing construction or renovation, typically under a building permit. If you renovate your building, then all of your new construction (the area of remodel) must meet the accessibility standards. More Info

Resources for ADA Compliance & Small Businesses

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), offers many resources, including an ADA Primer for Small Businesses; answers to commonly asked questions about service animals in places of business; and information on tax credits and deductions to help offset costs associated with new construction or alterations to existing facilities.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and DOJ’s ADA Guide for Small Business provides information on architectural barriers and how to remove them.

You may also hire a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) to inspect your facility and provide you with a report on any areas that are not in compliance. The findings of a CASp are confidential and a CASp inspection provides you with legal benefits. The Department of General Services provides more information about the CASp Program.  More Info

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The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) was created by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to serve as California’s single point of contact for economic development and job creation efforts.  GO-Biz partnered with the State's Information Technology Leadership Academy 22 to create this website.

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