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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Payment for Lawsuit

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Can a non-profit disabled rights group pay its employees / independent contractors money in order to visit local businesses to ensure compliance with the ADA.


The employees would have a disability and would presumably have a hard time with accommodations at some of the facilities.


The non-profit would then sue the business that have deficiencies for failure to comply with the ADA.


Is the payment from the non-profit to the independent contractor / employee for finding ADA violations and then suing on behalf of the disabled person illegal?


If so, is there any other way to accomplish the same goal. Which is 1) generate attorney's fees and 2) ensure better compliance with the ADA.


Which if any laws would be broken here? Thank you.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

It is not illegal for a non-profit to have paid employees who go around making inspections for ADA compliance. If violations are found, the non-profit can bring suit for violations and seek attorney's fees. The credibility of the employee would be suspect if they are being paid to go out and find violations, so the violations need to be actual major violations and not minor ADA violations which would portray the non-profit as simply seeking money and not really out for the better compliance with the ADA. Also, the non-profit would need to send a letter to violators giving them a reasonable opportunity to remedy the violation befor running to court and suing, because you have to give them a chance to cure the violations.

It is not illegal to go out and do what you are proposing and there are organizations that do this on a limited basis already.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Want to make sure that the question is clear. The employees / contractors will be paid upfront and not out of any settlement proceeds.


The non-profit entity would want to be the plaintiff in any court case.


Let me know if this changes your awnser. Thank you.

Thank you for your response.

The non-profit entity could not be the plaintiff in court as they would not be the one really wronged by the failure of compliance, the employee would and the non-profit could bring the matter as a class action on behalf of the employee and others similarly situated.
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