Many countries already have laws that require businesses to be accessible for people with disabilities. However, businesses may not realize that they are required to make reasonable adaptations to make their services and products available to consumers with disabilities. They may not know how to make these adaptations. Businesses also may not realize that accommodating people with disabilities will help them reach new markets and can be easy and affordable.
The United States confronted a similar challenge in 1990 when it first passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Council for Better Business Bureaus Foundation and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) cooperated to develop a series of eight pamphlets to be disseminated to business owners. The U.S. Department of Justice provided the seed funding and technical support for developing the pamphlets.
“Collaborations between the disability and business communities resulted in materials like the Better Business Bureau’s series ‘Your Guide to the Americans with Disabilities Act’. The brochures are written in easy-to-understand language and helped small business owners understand their responsibilities under the ADA, and see how accessibility opened the door to new customers.” – Susan Henderson, Executive Director of Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
Disability and business organizations in other countries may wish to collaborate on a similar series of pamphlets designed to explain your own country’s accessibility laws to businesses. Governments may wish to provide funding to enable this collaboration, and to cover the costs of printing and disseminating pamphlets to businesses. Governments also can assist in ensuring that pamphlets provide legally accurate advice.
The U.S. pamphlets on the ADA explain to businesses:
- What the ADA does and does not require them to do
- How complying with the ADA can help both disabled and non-disabled consumers
- How to comply cheaply and easily with the ADA
Each pamphlet in the series targets a different category of private sector businesses. Other countries might decide that different categories may make more sense in their local context:
- Retail Stores
- Grocery Stores
- Professional Offices
- Restaurants and Bars
- Medical Offices
- Recreation and Fitness Centers
- Car Sales and Service
- Travel and Tour Agents