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May 14, 2018 -
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The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago has been sued for alleged ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) violations, according to the Chicago Tribune. A Florida man named Howard Cohan, who in the lawsuit says he suffers from spinal stenosis, alleges several problems with restrooms in the lobby and the 16th floor restaurant, including grab bar heights, improperly positioned toilet paper dispensers, urinals, toilet seats, and coat hooks. The lawsuit also alleges violations due to improper counter heights in the mezzanine-level bar and the restaurant on the 16th floor. The Tribune story reports that Cohan refers to himself as a “tester” in the lawsuit — a person who attempts to uncover “discrimination against the disabled.” This prescient story in Building Operating Management from 2014 by ADA expert Lee Swinscoe about how to avoid common ADA compliance mentions restroom bar height in the opening paragraph — noting that even missing by half an inch opens a building up to lawsuits. It says that while bar height alone may not be enough to trigger a lawsuit, an improper bar may be a sure sign of other violations — that the building owner wasn’t diligent in complying the law. And here we are, bar height being one of Cohan’s alleged violations in his Trump Tower lawsuit. Another recent Building Operating Management story points our five ways to avoid ADA violations, including knowing the rules for the restrooms, which is an important and challenging area for compliance, the story says. This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management. Read his cover story profiling Northwestern University’s vice president of facilities management, John D’Angelo.