ADA Considerations

What is ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications. Source: Questions & Answers

U.S. Government Resources:

Reasonable Accommodations under the ADA:

Summary from George E. Constantine, III, Venable LLP on Reasonable Accommodations for the Hearing Impaired:
The general rule with requests for accommodations under the ADA is that auxiliary aids must be provided when needed and such auxiliary aids should be provided only after the organization consults with the individual seeking the accommodation. The accommodation requirement applies to nonprofit organization meetings, regardless of size of nonprofit or meeting, if open to the public or some segment of the public. There is a provision in the ADA which states that an organization is not required to provide an auxiliary aid “that would result in an undue burden or in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the goods or services provided.”

The regulations for ADA provide that an undue burden means “significant difficulty or expense.” What is “significant” is in the eye of the beholder, unfortunately, and there are no objective guidelines for when an interpreter request must be honored. If an interpreter request is not able to be accommodated, then an alternative accommodation must be made—could be the use of assistive listening devices, the provision of a real-time or close-to-real-time transcript. I will say that in my experience, most associations make the requested accommodation even if doing so breaks the budget as they feel the risk of litigation and bad press is not worth the savings.
Reasonable Accommodations Resources:

Chamber Examples:

Does your chamber have an ADA policy or guideline to share? We'd like to highlight your examples here. Email us at

Chamberpedia Home | Operations | Human Resources | ADA Considerations

Last Updated: 9/23/2015