Spotlight: Disability Access Laws Used to Hit Employers with Junk Lawsuits
An issue especially concerning to business owners across the state is compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other state laws regarding access to buildings for persons with disabilities.
Whereas, all can agree that society should do what it can to fully include these individuals in California communities, the rampant abuse of these regulations in court has diluted the original purpose of the law, which was to increase compliance and ensure accessibility.
Most business owners and entrepreneurs strive to comply with the laws, but the maze of regulations can inhibit them from meeting every required standard, which regulate everything from railing heights to curb colors.
In fact, the nonpartisan organization California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse estimates that 98% of California businesses are out of compliance with at least one of the state's or federal government's disability access laws.
The situation in California has escalated to the point that it recently attracted the attention of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). She outlined her concerns in a written letter to State Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) asking him to crack down on "abusive lawsuits" and "coercive demand letters" that force small businesses to either pay thousands of dollars or face going to court.