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78 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m a rc h /a p r i l 2 0 2 2 Should My Business Be ADA Compliant? By Allissa Haines and Michael Reynolds For example, if your office policy is that a client may not bring a companion into the massage room, you would need to adjust that policy if a disabled client needs the companion to help them undress and get positioned on the table. You must be willing to employ alternate practical means of communication for people with disabilities when needed. This could be as simple as using a notebook and pen to communicate with a deaf client. However, hiring a sign language interpreter would likely present an undue burden (significant difficulty or expense) to your business and would not be required. CREATING AN ADA-COMPLIANT BUSINESS There are many facets to the ADA; we're going to focus specifically on making your office space and your website accessible to people with disabilities. THANOS PAL/UNSPL ASH essential skills | BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is federal legislation passed in 1990. Its purpose is to prohibit discrimination and guarantee that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else regarding employment opportunities, purchasing goods and services, and participating in state and local government programs and services. 1 There are three parts of the ADA. Title I of the ADA applies to small businesses with a staff of 15 or more and relates to equal rights in employment for both applicants and current employees. If you have employees, you are likely already familiar with Title I. Title II refers only to public entities like state or local governments and probably doesn't apply to your small business. Title III applies to businesses and nonprofits serving the public and is the focus of this column. If you want to really dive into the ADA itself, I encourage you to check out the handy "ADA Update: A Primer for Small Business," created by the US Department of Justice. 2 What follows is a simple explanation of portions of the ADA that may apply to your massage business, but it should not be taken as legal advice. DO I HAVE TO COMPLY WITH THE ADA? Yes. All businesses must comply with Title III of the ADA. We also think there is an ethical conversation to be had here. It is good and right to do everything we can to make massage accessible to everyone, and that most certainly includes people with disabilities. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COMPLY WITH THE ADA? Compliance means you maintain "general nondiscrimination requirements" that include making reasonable accommodations to your existing policies and protocols.

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