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New ADA standards for Colorado employers now in effect

The Americans with Disabilities Act was first passed in 1990 and the Department of Justice recently revised some of its standards, which went into effect last week. The Department of Justice's new revisions require businesses of both existing and newly constructed facilities to comply with these new standards.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal employment law that protects employees or applicants from being discriminated against in interviewing and hiring procedures, advancement and training and other work-related conditions. It does so by requiring employers to provide "reasonable accommodations" for employees and applicants with disabilities.

The reasonable accommodations definition may be confusing to some employers so it might be helpful to provide a little background of exactly what the ADA standards actually call for and how these newly revised standards may affect your business.

The ADA requires that an employer not discriminate against and employee or applicant if that person could perform the duties of the job despite his or her disability. It also requires employers to accommodate special equipment, work environments and work hours or duties as long as those accommodations are not "unduly burdensome" and are considered necessary to assist the employee in their tasks. This may include accessibility issues such as wheelchair ramps and other access-related issues.

The newly revised ADA standards were designed to provide more clarification for specific areas such as arenas and recreational facilities, correctional facilities and assembly areas, as well as other types of businesses that have recreational facilities on site. According to the Director of the Rocky Mountain ADA Center, these new standards provide a lot more information, clarification and resources to help affected businesses come into compliance with the new standards.

Any time and employer is up against a compliance issues, whether it is the ADA or claims of other forms of discrimination or workplace issues it can be difficult to know how to respond to such accusations. In many cases it can be beneficial to contact an employment law attorney experienced in a variety of employment litigation matters to ensure an appropriate response to any claims and to protect your rights as a business owner.

Source: 9News.com, "Colorado employers must comply with new ADA standards," Mallory Davis, Mar. 16, 2012

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