Access to Public Accommodations

Title III of the ADA protects people with disabilities from discrimination by the owners and operators, including tenants, of places of public accommodations.  Public accommodations under the ADA fall into one of 12 categories.  Examples include service establishments (such as doctors’ offices or banks), restaurants, hotels, malls, movie theaters or stadiums, parks and zoos, private schools and places of education, day-care centers and recreational facilities such as gyms, bowling alleys or golf courses.   Though private membership clubs and religious entities are generally exempt from the requirements of Title III, there are times when these entities offer services that subject them to the mandates of the ADA. 

The ADA forbids owners and/or operators of public accommodations from excluding a person with a disability from full and equal access to the goods and services offered.  Architectural barriers include those conditions such as a toilet stall that is too small to accommodate a wheelchair, doorways that are too narrow, parking lots with no accessible parking spaces, or failing to provide a ramp to gain entry into a building. 

Regulations promulgated under the ADA, known as the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (“ADAAG”), provide specific guidelines for the design, construction and/or alteration of buildings and other places of public accommodation, so that they are accessible to people with disabilities.  Facilities designed or built for first occupancy after January 26, 1993 are required under the ADA to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  Facilities constructed prior to this date (existing facilities), must remove architectural barriers to access to the extent that removal is both readily achievable (affordable) and technically feasible (can the changes physically be made).    Owners and operators interested in complying with the law, and averting complaints and possible litigation, should conduct annual surveys of their property and develop and implement a plan for the removal of barriers to access regardless of the age of the structure.  Oftentimes, removing barriers to access can be accomplished with relative ease and little or no expense.

Under the ADA, a private person who has been discriminated against can file a lawsuit to compel the business or property owners or operators to make facilities accessible pursuant to Title III. If you feel you have been discriminated against and your rights have been violated because of a disability under Title III, you may e-mail or telephone us for a complimentary case evaluation.

Maxwell & Barke LLC
51 Monroe Place, Suite 806, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Telephone 301.309.8300   Telecopier 301.309.8303
Adjacent to Montgomery County Courthouse  |  Across from Rockville Metro Station