Ask Joe: Is restaurant violating disability laws ?

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 1/16/2014 6:54 pm
From the Ask Joe file a viewer has a question about access for the disabled at a local businesses.
Wanda called up this week to say she and her family went to a restaurant in Reno that did not have wheelchair access.   The business owner told her they weren't required to provide it.   Wanda wants to know why not and what the city of Reno can do about it.

I checked with Alex Woodley, he's the code enforcement manager for the city of Reno.  He says the city only enforces disability access laws when it's a new business or when the business does a major remodel.
  In that case they would require the business to incoporate wheelchair access and other changes into the construction plans. If it's an older business your best bet is to file a complaint at the federal level.
  The website for the Americans with Disabilities Act is  It's a good website and you can find the form there to file a complaint. 
  The federal rules are a little more complicated but Woodley, with the city's code enforcement department says federal officials will respond if there is a violation and likely send a letter to the business owner to inform them about the Americans with Disabilities Act and work with to get them to comply.  

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IrmaIrma - 1/19/2014 6:22 PM
0 Votes
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NVAdvocate - 1/17/2014 10:10 PM
0 Votes
You can also write a letter directly to the business and ask them to come into compliance. The ADA covers all businesses and courts expect people with disabities to enforce the law ourselves. There's a couple attorneys in town who do these cases. Much faster than waiting for the Department of Justice to read their mail.

Speed - 1/17/2014 2:00 PM
0 Votes
I believe when a business changes ownership,it's required to be brought up to current code before it can open. Likewise,if the Restaurant in question was sold,the buyer would have to install the ramp before being allowed to open. As the story points out,the owner is "grandfathered" until the place is either sold or extensively remodeled. I don't see that being discriminatory. BTW-In some communities there are Church groups and Veteran groups that will help with building ramps and other mods to make places more "handicapped-friendly".

vietnamvet25 - 1/17/2014 9:51 AM
0 Votes
I know a business owner in midtown that could not open until she installed a wheelchair ramp on her shop. It was a business before she bought it that did not have a ramp. The city would not let her open until the ramp was built and inspected. So I am thinking there is a discrimination here.

oldguy - 1/17/2014 9:43 AM
1 Vote
Why give business to a place that doesn't want you there? There are a lot of great places to eat around here that allow for wheelchair access. Take your business to someone that will appreciate it.

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