Does Title III of the ADA Apply to Small Businesses?

The Americans with Disabilities Act absolutely applies to small businesses.

And so let’s look at the general rule first.

The general rule under Title III of the ADA states, no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns leases or leases to or operates a place of public accommodation.

So pay attention to the keywords place of public accommodation – is your business open to the public? Are you a person who owns, leases, or leases to or operates that place of public accommodation?

If so, then the ADA applies to you.

In fact we’ll make this easy, if you go to, there is an old post from March 2011 which is titled, ADA Update, a Primer for Small Business.

So very obviously the ADA applies to small businesses.

On the whiteboard behind me I’ve written some examples that are listed out as places of public accommodation from the ADA itself:

• Restaurants
• Gyms
• Barber shops
• Bars
• Dry cleaners
• Office of an accountant or lawyer
• Bakery
• Beauty shop

Clearly all of these all of these businesses can be small businesses.

So the ADA also lists some examples that likely wouldn’t be small businesses but just for overkill, to be sure, the ADA does apply to small businesses.

And when we take this out of the formal text and we just look at it in everyday- in an everyday practical manner- let’s say I open up a small restaurant that restaurant is open to the public, I need to make sure that that restaurant is accessible so that anybody with a disability can partake in the goods or services of that restaurant.

Importantly though Title III does not apply to 1) religious organizations and then 2) private clubs.

But with private clubs, specific requirements need to be met.

So it says on here charging membership annual fees does not automatically mean that the business is exempt.

But this is a nice page on that has been created to really summarize and make clear what is and is not required.

Not everything is 100% obvious, but it does it does use plain language to explain that the title- the types of businesses that the ADA applies to.

So I will link to this below as well.

When it comes to websites that’s really what this channel is centered around.

While and, you know, when we look to ADA compliance and websites this is a layered question because first we have to look at, technically does the American Disabilities Act actually incorporate modern technology such as websites?

We should look at the DOJ stance and then we have to look at court decisions.

And the courts both state and federal apply the ADA unevenly to modern technology.

So there are many other videos on this channel that addressed that but to the question does the ADA apply to small businesses, absolutely.