Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. The law prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. Both the ADA and California Building Code establish requirements for accessibility on commercial and public buildings, sites, and facilities.
The Federal ADA regulations require that all new construction for public accommodations comply with the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards. In addition, the ADA says that a public accommodation has a continuing obligation to remove architectural barriers (barrier removal) to make sure your business is accessible, even when your business is not otherwise contemplating construction. This includes existing barriers at entrances, aisles, bathrooms, and service counters that may have predated the ADA and your ownership of the business. The California's Disabled Persons Act goes further, and makes a violation of the Federal ADA a violation of California civil rights law, and allows people with disabilities to sue a violating business to recover monetary damages.
For information on the City of Oakland compliance with the ADA, please contact the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Programs Division.