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Top 10 ADA Violations in California

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Based on information from lawsuits filed against The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations, as required by California Senate Bill 1186, the California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA) has compiled the following list:

Top Ten Alleged Construction Issues (Jul-Dec 2019)

Rank Description %
1 Access Height of Goods, Support, Services, and Equipment: Heights of surfaces such as counters, bars, or tables are not compliant. 21
2 Exterior Path of Travel – Pathway: Routes to and from parking lot or public right of way are not accessible. May include uneven surfaces or lack of detectable warnings. 11
3 Number of Handicap Parking Spaces: Parking lot does not contain a minimum number of accessible parking spaces. 9
4 Parking Spaces: Existing parking spaces are not compliant; fading blue paint or excessive slope. 9
5 Interior Path of Travel: Path of travel features not accessible including non-compliant surfaces, excessive slope, cross-slope, etc. 5
6 Exterior Path of Travel – Door Hardware: Thresholds, handles, pulls, latches, locks, or other operating devices are not accessible. Lacking door kick plates. 5
7 Parking Signage: Signage in parking lot is not compliant (e.g. spaces need to be designated as reserved by a sign showing the symbol of accessibility). 4
8 Parking Areas: Loading zones and van access aisles are not compliant or non-existent. 4
9 Access to Goods, Support, Services, and Equipment: Accessible lodging units are non-existent, inaccessible, or insufficient in quantities. 3
10 Exterior Path of Travel – Ramps: Curb ramps or entrance ramps are not compliant or non-existent. 3

*edited for ease of reading. Read original table here.

These ADA violations account for 74% of the total violations. The remaining allegations are less common but still enforceable and actionable.

Penalties and fines for these violations can be costly. Select law firms have targeted businesses for ADA lawsuits in California, as the laws are more favorable to plaintiffs than elsewhere.

Facilities interested in an evaluation or that suspect violations should be inspected by a professional Certified Access Specialist (CASp), licensed by the state of California in order to provide adequate access to all customers and minimize business liability.

CAM Property Services has supported property managers and facilities in California since 1987. In addition to building services, landscape, hardscape, construction, and maintenance, CAM offers fully integrated ADA compliance and CASp inspections, remediation, and repair services. Contact CAM today at 800-576-3050.

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    How Pedestrian Access Provides Protection from Lawsuits

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    Accessible routes for pedestrians are an ongoing debate for commercial and office retail spaces,  although the requirement for a property owner to have accessible routes from the public walking path to connecting all buildings on the site is part of the 2013 California Building Code. The question arises when a site only has a vehicular access point from the building entrance to the facility, and whether or not there should be pedestrian access.

    Most property owners believe that if a concrete or asphalt path is the access point between buildings in a facility, they are not responsible for providing a pedestrian route of travel. These property owners come to the conclusion that they do not have to provide pedestrian accessibility because the property was originally built without such connections, exempting them from providing access – don’t believe this myth because these property owners are wrong. The law1 {1991 ADA standards sections 4.1.2(1) & (2)} states that if it can be anticipated that the route between access points will be used by pedestrians, property owners must provide an accessible route.

    In some situations, the investment of installing connections to public sidewalks can be done without destroying the property, reducing landscape areas or creating financial burdens on ownership2. Depending on the city/county, building codes require certain amount of landscape to be maintained which makes it harder to create these access points for pedestrians. CAM Services has ADA + CASp experts and can manage all types of different situations regarding access points on a property. Call CAM at 800-576-3050 for an inspection today!

    Proper Pedestrian Access Near Disabled Person Parking

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      Landlord Responsibility in ADA Lawsuits

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      A federal district court in Northern California has determined that landlords need to be more proactive when it comes to the accessibility of their tenant spaces. Historically, commercial landlords have not concerned themselves with areas outside of their own exterior common area because their leases state that the tenant is responsible for ADA compliance. In this case, the court agreed that although the ADA allows landlords and tenants to allocate the responsibility for compliance between themselves, both parties are liable for violations in leased spaces with respect to persons with disabilities who are denied access. Both the landlord and tenant were made to pay the entirety of the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and costs awarded by the court.

      Landlords should make themselves aware of whether or not their tenants are meeting the accessibility requirements, even if their leases put the burden of compliance on the tenant. Be proactive to avoid costly litigation and court fees. Here are a few things you can do to reduce your risk:

      • – Ensure that lease agreements include a stipulation requiring all tenants to obtain a CASp inspection and that the results must be submitted to the landlord
      • – Require all Tenant Improvements or exterior renovations to be reviewed by ADA consultants employed by the landlord
      • – Have vacant spaces inspected prior to signing new tenants
      • – Always be sure to have common areas inspected

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        Why there’s value in showcasing your company’s values

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        When it comes to taking a stance on issues customers care about, companies can no longer afford to stay on the sidelines. According to Envirotech, 65 percent of sales measured globally were generated by companies that conveyed a commitment to social and environmental value.

        The takeaway is clear — to stay competitive, you must use your voice.

        When considering how your company approaches this challenge, it helps to break it down into three categories: environmental, societal, and governance, otherwise known as ESG.

        Environmental issues include reducing your carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment. Societal issues include promoting volunteerism to increase employee well-being. Finally, governance involves demonstrating an adherence to following government guidelines.

        Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle ESG alone, CAM Property Services is here to help you practice what you preach.

        ENVIRONMENTAL

        The environmental aspect of ESG most typically involves the implementation of green energy to reduce your carbon footprint. That can mean moving to solar energy or driving electric vehicles. Another way companies are being environmentally mindful is by implementing more water-wise strategies and consumption practices.

        CAM Property Services can be of assistance in this undertaking. Our experts can ensure that your business’ solar panels are well maintained and that the energy being collected is being put to good use. We can also assist in the installation of EV charging stations and secure rebates to reduce the cost. CAM can help ensure that water isn’t being wasted from leaks while transitioning your business to more water-friendly landscaping to reduce overall use.

        From solar to water, CAM is your go-to expert in being a more environmentally mindful business.

        Team members' hands holding a small plant in soil

        SOCIAL

        The social aspect of ESG is commonly associated with maintaining the emotional well-being of your employees. People take note of companies that treat their employees well and studies show that mental well-being can lead to an increase in productivity. It may seem like a daunting task, but there are several ways one can improve the mental wellness of their employees.

        One major way is to improve and maintain the workspace. CAM Property Services’ consultants are specially trained to evaluate the workplace, ensuring everything is optimally designed, safe and up to code. By keeping the workplace in order, employees feel safe and are often more productive.

        Yellow road sign with the words "Safety First"

        GOVERNMENT

        The final aspect of ESG concerns following government ordinances. In California, there are plenty of restrictions and regulations that can cost you a pretty penny if left ignored. Fortunately, CAM’s experts can help you navigate this minefield. From following the Clean Water Act to making sure your building is ADA compliant, CAM is the team you can trust.

        Handicapped parking space

        Whether your company needs assistance with the environmental, societal, or governmental aspects of ESG, CAM Property Services is your go-to helping hand. Learn more by clicking HERE.

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          Redesigning Your Office For ‘The New Normal’

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          As the world begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are finding it challenging to entice employees to return to the workplace. In what has been called “The Great Resignation,” waves of workers are leaving their jobs at record levels, and the requirement to return to the office full-time is playing a big part in that movement.

          According to a recent poll by McKinsey, a global management consulting company, 30 percent of respondents said they would consider quitting if forced to return to full-time, on-site employment, and about half of those who left their jobs cited a lack of a positive work-life balance as a primary reason. Faced with the challenges of this “new normal,” many employers are seeking to reach a middle ground, utilizing a hybrid model in which workers are on site or in office only a few days a week.

          Businesses who find themselves in a similar predicament — welcoming employees back in a hybrid capacity — should take this opportunity to reassess how the workspace fulfills their current needs. Fortunately, CAM Property Services can help you navigate this “new normal.”

          Redesign Your Workplace

          Under this new hybrid model, only a fraction of the workforce is in the office at any given time. Due to that, businesses are needing 40 to 50 percent less space than before the pandemic. As the workplace shrinks, the need to remodel and reimagine existing space comes into play. CAM can connect you to specialties to navigate these obstacles — from planning and design to general construction and ADA remediation, we can help revitalize your space for “the new normal.”

          Our experts can reconfigure your space to facilitate socialization on time and on budget.

          Under this new hybrid model, only a fraction of the workforce is in the office at any given time. Due to that, businesses are needing 40 to 50 percent less space than before the pandemic. As the workplace shrinks, the need to remodel and reimagine existing space comes into play. CAM can connect you to specialties to navigate these obstacles — from planning and design to general construction and ADA remediation, we can help revitalize your space for “the new normal.”

          Companies that improved overall performance during the pandemic relied on small, cross-functional, and cross-silo teams that worked with an in-person dimension. These teams brought with them a strong sense of socialization, something that has been missing in the remote work world. Taking a strategic approach to redesigning your office space in order to facilitate better collaboration, teamwork and socialization can help better maximize your company’s performance.

          Make A Clean And Safe Space

          Our on-site professionals will put your workers at ease with regular cleaning and responsive service.

          It’s imperative that employees feel secure knowing that they are returning to a clean and safe work environment. Firms are starting to expect concierge-level, face-to-face services for workers for them to feel at ease about the cleanliness and safety on their return to the workplace.

          CAM Property Services can fulfill this need by providing on-site professionals that ensure the facility is operating cleanly, smoothly, and efficiently. From ensuring that the interior office is up to code, all the way to cleaning graffiti and addressing vandalism, you can rest easy knowing our professionals are on the job.

          CAM provides the highest quality services for over 1,300 properties across California, and that number is constantly on the rise. Whether you need to remodel your office or hire day porter services, our reputation for knowledgeable and personable care is unmatched, and we’re always taking on new clients, big and small.

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            Facilities Prevent ADA Compliance Violations Through Inspection and Remediation

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            Code enforcement against businesses violating The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) continue to rise, while civil lawsuits set record levels year over year. California is particularly active in penalizing ADA code violations. In the first half of 2019, the state represented a staggering 43% of the country’s ADA lawsuits according to Seyfarth Shaw LLP. ADA compliance is an important aspect of facility management.

            Courts continue to rule against businesses violating the ADA for failing to meet legal regulations with curb cuts, parking, signage, wheelchair ramps, countertops, and restroom facilities. Quite often, business owners have no idea of the violations prior to the lawsuit.

            In addition to statutory citations, California courts are fraught with cases brought about by plaintiffs and law firms targeting small businesses for ADA violations. While Federal law offers a $1,000 minimum for violations, California awards a $4,000 minimum per violation plus plaintiff attorney fees, making the state a hotbed for lawyers seeking quick, out-of-court settlements.

            Some of these cases are brought about by vexatious litigants seeking to shakedown business owners for unjust profit. One study showed 46% of the ADA lawsuits in California were filed by just 14 plaintiffs.

            In recent years federal and state lawmakers have attempted to reform the rules around filing ADA cases. Some require giving a business time to make repairs prior to the filing of a lawsuit. However, plaintiffs have been quick to adjust, often moving lawsuits from one jurisdiction to another to circumvent such requirements. ADA lawsuits can typically be filed in state or federal court.

            Most cases do not proceed through to a full court trial as businesses tend to settle these grievances out of court. The legal fees and penalties can be substantial, so businesses often begrudgingly settle with plaintiff attorneys for less than the estimated cost of a legal defense. This is especially true when a business is likely to be found in violation, whether they knew about the regulation or not.

            It is clear that avoiding these types of complaints and lawsuits is most advantageous. The best way is to hire a company for an ADA inspection. If violations are found, repairs should be immediate. Most property managers find it advisable to hire one company that does both the ADA inspection and the ADA remediation, leaving no room for dispute.

            In addition to code enforcement, California regulators also certify professionals specifically trained in ADA remediation. A Certified Access Specialist for Property Inspection (CASp) is educated and licensed through the Division of the State Architect (DSA) to inspect buildings and properties for compliance with state and federal accessibility standards. These certified CASp experts are best qualified to lead ADA compliance efforts.

            As facility professionals in California since 1987, CAM Property Services is well equipped to handle any ADA concerns you might have. CAM offers ADA inspections, repairs, and remediation, for existing and new construction. CAM facility experts have extensive experience with buildings, access points, parking lots, and other common areas. Their certified CASp experts are available to assess and manage your ADA concerns.

            Problematic ADA lawsuits can arrive without warning. Fortunately, property managers in California can call 800-576-3050 now for a consultation about ADA compliance before it becomes an even bigger issue.

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              Benefit from the reliability of professional janitorial services, landscaping, property inspection and facility maintenance combined with the convenience of managing it all through one service provider. Big or small, we can do it all.