The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) is a federal law that mandates full and equal enjoyment of any place of public accommodation. The definition of a “place of public accommodation” includes places of “exercise or recreation “ that “affect commerce”.
Arguably, a community pool may be held a place of public accommodation subject to the ADA. Nevertheless, the community does not automatically have the obligation to modify the pool to accommodate persons with disabilities. An individual has a cause of action under the ADA if the individual shows that he or she is being discriminated on basis of disability or that he or she has reasonable grounds for believing that he or she is about to be subjected to discrimination. In other words, until a person asks and is denied equal access or shows he or she has reasonable grounds for believing so, that individual has no claim under the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv).
Furthermore, even if a person were to request special access to your community’s swimming pool, if the pool was built before 1993, the community is only obligated to modify the pool if doing so is “readily achievable”. 42 U.S.C.S. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv). “Readily achievable” means “easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.” 42 U.S.C.S. 12181(9). If the requested modification is not readily achievable, a facility built before 1993 need not be modified.