The Business & Disability Bulletin

disability is our business

In This Issue
Retail Businesses & Accessible Websites
Emergency Evacuation Plans
Disability Roundtable Discussion Series
Join Our Mailing List
Retail Businesses & Accessible Websites


The ADA was enacted to eliminate 

Woman Shoppingdiscrimination against individuals with disabilities.  Title III of the ADA requires that retail businesses, referred to as places of public accommodation, provide the same goods and services to people with disabilities as   provided to people without disabilities.


However, the ADA does not have language that specifically addresses the Internet or on-line retailers. 


Federal and State courts are divided on whether or not the ADA extends to the e-commerce industry.  Some courts have ruled in favor of a business without an accessible website; others ruled against a business that
Man Shopping Onlinedid not have an accessible website. To date, the US Supreme Court has not addressed this issue specifically.


Given the level of litigation around this issue, retail businesses that offer online shopping to customers would be wise to have websites that are fully accessibleto shoppers with disabilities.


The last issue of The Business & Disability Bulletin included this link to an assessment tool to determine if your website is accessible: http://askjan.org/media/webpages.html.

Emergency Evacuation Plans 


Although employers are not required to have emergency evacuation plans under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), if employers covered by the ADA opt to have such plans they are required to include people with disabilities.  Follow this link http://askjan.org/media/emergency.html 

Fire Alarmto a great document (including a 5-part checklist) to help your business be inclusive of people with disabilities in all phases of the emergency evacuation process.


 Disability Roundtable Discussion Series


Disability Network Southwest Michigan is hosting a series of monthly roundtable discussions in Berrien, Calhoun, and  Kalamazoo Counties.

All community members interested in learning more about disability culture, the disability rights movement or how to be a disability ally are welcome to participate. 


Roundtables typically start with a short introduction of the topic followed by a discussion and sharing of ideas, information, opinions, questions and differing viewpoints.


For the complete list and description, go to




October 2011 Disability Language & Etiquette

Why do disability rights activists say never to use 

Discussionthe word "handicapped"? Do you know the courtesy rules of blindness?  The disability rights movement is sometimes criticized for being too "PC" - do you agree?

CheckboxNovember 2011 

Connected: The Disability Community  Online

Connect to the wider disability community via blogs, vlogs, podcasts, listservs and online support groups.  Share some of your favorite sites and learn how you can add your ideas to the online discussion.


CheckboxDecember 2011 A Life Worth Living:  

Movie & Discussion

Join us and watch this new PBS film on the history of the disability rights movement and share your views.



Berrien County:  1st Tuesday of the month 1:00 - 2:30 pm @ Disability Network Southwest Michigan 2900 Lakeview Ave, St. Joseph MI  49085 (269) 982-7761


Kalamazoo County:  2nd Tuesday of the month 1:00 - 2:30 pm @ Disability Network Southwest Michigan 517 E. Crosstown Parkway Kalamazoo MI  49001 (269) 345-1516


Calhoun County:  3rd Tuesday of the month 1:00 -2:30 pm @ JONAH offices, 104 Calhoun Street, Battle Creek  MI  49017 (269) 345-1516 x116

The Business & Disability Bulletin is a free electronic newsletter for business leaders and human resource professionals in Southwest Michigan who believe in the value of an inclusive workforce and in creating a welcoming customer environment. 


This newsletter is published bi-annually by Disability Network Southwest Michigan and can be found on our website at www.dnswm.org/index.php/publications/the-business-a-disability-bulletin.