Places of Public Accommodation Facing Key Issues on ADA’s 25th Anniversary

Thompson’s ADA Compliance Guide July 2015

Joshua A. Stein, Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the firm’s New York office, authored an article in Thompson’s ADA Compliance Guide titled, “Places of Public Accommodation Facing Key Issues on ADA’s 25th Anniversary.”

Following is an excerpt:

Contemplating what lies ahead is best done in tandem with an eye towards the recent past. 2014 saw a variety of developments under Title III, some of which targeted specific industries (including retail, hospitality, sports/entertainment and health care), while others had potentially broader implications arguably impacting any entity covered by Title III. This column will highlight five recent developments and future trends under Title III that places of public accommodation should keep their eyes on going forward: website accessibility, accessible point-of-sale devices and other touchscreen technology; movie theater captioning and audio (narrative) description; the availability of sign language interpreters at health care facilities; and “drive-by” design and construction lawsuits.

At a quick glance, the majority of these developments could seem somewhat distinct and unrelated. However, a closer look suggests that they are governed by a unifying concept. The majority of recent key developments fall outside Title III’s more heavily regulated brick-and-mortar, design/construction and “barrier removal,” context. Instead, they are focused on the application of Title III’s overarching civil rights provisions to areas currently lacking specific regulations and/or requiring a nuanced context-specific and individualized analysis in their application.