How to Keep Your Business ADA Compliant Through COVID-19
No matter your location or profession, our society as a whole is being affected by COVID-19 in drastic ways. Small business owners are innovating to ensure that they can remain in business, and so we put together tips for keeping your business ADA compliant and accessible through the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Ensure that your website is digitally accessible – Assistive technologies help to ensure that your website is optimized to be accessible for those with physical or mental disabilities. These will help to make sure that all of your customers can still find your products or services online when they cannot physically visit your place of business.
- Offer other ways for customers to utilize your business – Whether you provide services or sell products, analyze ways that you can offer these to people while still social distancing. This can look like offering pickup or delivery for your products, or offering your services over virtual platforms like Zoom or limiting personal contact through physical services.
- Take meetings virtual – Just because people are social distancing does not mean that communication must stop. Talk to your clients and request to continue discussing projects virtually. Many platforms exist for video conferencing, and this will help to ensure that timelines stay on track and your business does not fall behind.
- Encourage employees to leave work if they are not feeling well – If one of your employees is not feeling well, you can recommend that they leave work. The NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) stresses this point, “But remember, taking someone’s temperature could be considered a medical examination within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act. At this point it’s not recommended that employers screen employees for fever. If a pandemic has reached a community, as assessed by health authorities or the CDC, employers may measure employees’ temperatures without violating the ADA, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance states.”
- Allow your employees to work from home – Social distancing is an important way that all individuals can contribute to slowing the spread of COVID-19. By allowing your employees to work from home, you not only maintain compliance with the ADA and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act), you are helping to contribute to the greater community and health of society.
- Keep your employees’ medical information confidential – With a pandemic spreading around the world, make sure you do not forget that you must keep your employees’ medical information confidential according to the ADA. As an employer, allow your employees the flexibility to maintain their health issues however they or their medical professional sees fit and do not disclose the information to anyone else.
- Review sick-leave laws in your state – Under the ADA, individuals who are immunocompromised may be entitled to job protection if they decide to self-quarantine in order to prevent contracting diseases. Review your state’s laws and consult an employment lawyer if you have an employee who is immunocompromised to ensure you do not discriminate based on their health conditions.
Here at Acorn, we are passionate about the ADA, not only in relation to the signage industry, but also for accessibility and inclusion throughout society as a whole. If you have any questions about ADA compliance in relation to your signage, we are experts who would love to discuss these topics with you.
If you have questions about employment practices in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, consult an employment attorney or ADA legal expert. In addition, contact your healthcare provider immediately if you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.