The American With Disabilities Act

There are many day to day obstacles that must be overcome by people who are mobility challenged. Many things like going shopping or to a restaurant can be very difficult. Many of these places are made to be accessible and by law are required to be so.

In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George Bush. It is a civil rights law that builds upon the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but is aimed at ensuring that those who are handicapped or disabled are not discriminated about. The law is intended to cover those who are physically or mentally impaired in a manner that substantially effects and limits their lives. Usually whether a certain type of condition is considered to be a disability is decided case by case, but there are some conditions, like those that are faced by current substance abusers, that are not covered.

The ADA is aimed at preventing discrimination in the workplace, on public transportation, in commercial areas, and in telecommunication. The goal is to provide those who are disabled or handicapped with the same experiences and opportunities, be it at work or at a private business, as those of non-disabled individuals.

When applying for a job, it is against the law for the employer to disqualify a qualified applicant because they are disabled. It is also not allowed for the employers to require medical testing of an employee, unless they require this testing of all of their employees. If medical testing is required the records must be treated as confidential medical records. These requirements however do not apply to applicants or employees who are engaged in illegal drug use, if the drug use is the basis for the employer’s decision.

Public transportation must also be completely accessible for those who are mobility challenged, and it is considered discrimination to not make an attempt to provide accommodation. Private businesses and companies must also make their business and the services that they provide accessible to those who are mobility challenged. This covers any new construction that has taken place after 1992, but also buildings that existed prior to the passing of the ADA. Existing buildings and structures must also make an effort to remove barriers to those who are mobility challenged. The decision of whether a company needs to remove barriers is based on the whether it is possible for the company to easily and inexpensively make the changes. This takes into account the resources of the companies on a case by cases basis, so what is readily achievable for a high-tech and financially stable company, might not be considered readily available for a smaller operation.

In addition to providing equal access to employment, public transportation, and businesses, it is also necessary for telecommunication companies to provide equivalent services for those who are disabled. This applies to all telecommunication companies and is usually geared towards those who are deaf, have speech impairments, or are hard of hearing. This section of the ADA has lead to Telecommunication Relay Services, which allows people who are disabled to place calls to standard telephones.

The actual sections of the ADA go into much more detail about the requirements of business owners and employers towards those who are mobility challenged. Overall has led to more accessibility for those who are mobility challenged.

There are several types of medical equipment, like vertical platform lifts, that can be used to help increase the accessibility of your business, so that it complies with ADA standards and is more accessible. To find out more about this type of accessibility equipment please visit AmeriGlide.


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