Stop Talking About ADA Compliance in Terms of Difficulty

Observe the following statements:

If a business owner cannot meet the safety standards set fourth by the government, they should not be allowed to do business.

If a business owner cannot meet the health standards set fourth by the government, they should not be allowed to do business.

If a business owner cannot meet the labor and payment standards set fourth by the government, they should not be allowed to do business.

Are you nodding along in agreement so far? Good. Let me throw one more at you: if a business owner is not in compliance with the ADA, they should not be allowed to do business.

I bet I lost a couple of you here and, honestly, I don’t understand why. Why is it when people talk about something not being ADA compliant, the discussion is always couched in terms of the burden being placed on the business owner?

When companies complain about the cost of not letting their employees die due to blocked fire exits; or how much work they have to do to add proper ventalation so they don't breathe in toxic fumes, we pull out our tiny violins and stick them straight in their eyeballs. But when companies talk about the cost of an accessibility retrofit? Or installing automated doors? Or bathroom stalls? We give them this weird misplaced sympathy and try to make up excuses in order to give them more time or get around the law altogether.

Businesses—regardless of size, age, or financial stability—should not be allowed to violate the ADA, period. If they are in willful violation of the ADA, their business license should be revoked and their doors fucking shuttered. I don’t care if you personally know the owners, I don’t care if they’re the sweetest people on the planet and raised you from the age of five after your parents died in a mysterious accident. If a business refuses to comply with a civil rights law, they don’t get to do business. 

I have fucking had it with people complaining about the cost of disabled people existing. I’ve had it with the excuses and the delays. How long are we going to allow disabled people's inclusion in society be couched in terms of return on investment? We didn’t skin our knees on the stairs of the Capitol so you could sit there and say sure, giving disabled people access to public spaces is moral, but is it worth it?.

It’s been nearly 30 fucking years since the ADA became law. Either get in compliance or close your fucking doors.

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