The Aamericans with Disabilities Act reasonable accommodations provision is one of the more complex pieces of legislation passed.
When the American Disabilities Act was signed by President George Bush in 1990, it was landmark legislation that protected the rights of Americans with disabilities. It required that employers provide “reasonable accommodations” to employees with disabilities.
It paved the way for many Americans to have equal access and treatment under the law. It also created a lot of confusion for businesses as to how to comply.
Keep reading to learn more about the ADA, what it means for businesses and employees alike.
What is the ADA?
The ADA is a major civil rights law that was passed by the 101st Congress in 1989. This law prohibits discrimination of any kind regarding employment, enjoyment of public facilities, among other things.
The bill is broken down into five major provisions. Title I gives people with disabilities the same opportunity to a job and to perform that job.
Title II is regarding state and local governments. They are not immune to ADA regulations and must comply. That includes government buildings and transportation services. Failure to comply could result in federal funding for certain programs to be withheld.
Title III is another important provision for businesses. It specifically states that public places, even if they’re privately owned, cannot discriminate against people with disabilities. They need to make reasonable accommodations to their buildings so those with disabilities can enjoy the public spaces, too.
Title IV is about telecommunications. Phone and internet providers have to have a system that allows those with sight, speech or hearing issues to communicate. This area of the ADA is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission.
Title V has miscellaneous provisions regarding what is and isn’t a disability and attorneys fees.
Americans with Disabilities Act Reasonable Accommodations
Americans with Disabilities Act reasonable accommodations is at the heart of Title I. It says that it is the responsibility of the employer to provide reasonable accommodations for employees.
This is considered to be any adjustment or modification to the work environment that will allow someone with a disability to perform their job.
An example of reasonable accommodations is to allow flexible or part-time hours, or to reassign some job responsibilities to other employees. Employers can also invest in equipment such as teletypewriters and phones for the deaf.
ADA Changes Since 1990
As the case with any major legislation, it is subject to change depending on who is in office. There have been a couple of major changes to the ADA since its passage in 1990.
In 2008, the ADA was expanded to provide protections for people diabetes, cancer, and epilepsy.
In 2017, the House of Representatives passed a law that was intended to curb lawsuits against businesses who did not comply. This required people who found businesses in non-compliance to formally ask for changes in writing before taking a business to court. The legislation did not pass the Senate.
Between court cases, changes in Congress, and state laws, you want to be sure that you stay on top of the news regarding the ADA.
The ADA Applies to Websites, Too
One of the grayer areas of the Americans with Disabilities Act reasonable accommodations provision is around websites. That’s true whether you’re running a blog or an affiliate marketing website.
Technically, they are public places and website owners should provide fair and equal access to their sites for people with disabilities. For example, if someone is blind, you want to make sure that they can access the content of your website.
The courts seemed to be split as to whether or not websites need to provide reasonable access or not. States are starting to have their own laws. In one court, Winn-Dixie was found to be in violation of the ADA title III because its website wasn’t in compliance.
In another court, a case against a number of credit unions was dismissed by the Fourth Circuit Federal Court and the Court of Appeals.
With so much confusion, is there anything you need to be worried about? It’s too hard to tell. The best thing you can do for your website and your business is to use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
These guidelines have been used by the European Union to ensure fair and equal access to websites across Europe. Your best bet is to abide by the WCAG 2.1
What You Should Do if There’s a Failure to Comply
If you notice that a business or your employer isn’t ADA compliant, what steps do you need to take?
You need to document everything in case you have to go to court over the issue. Starting documentation early in the process could make your case stronger in court.
You need to document what your disability is and how it limits your ability to work. If there is a failure to accommodate your need by the employer, you have to provide a written request to comply.
This can be done by your doctor that notes what your disability is and what the accommodations requests are.
Should the business fail to comply with your needs, you’ll have to take the next step. You’ll want to hire an ability discrimination lawyer to look into your claim and determine if you should take the company to court or not.
The Legacy of the Americans with Disabilities Act
With the stroke of a pen, President Bush signed legislation that saw people with disabilities as equal under the law.
The law will continue to change, and amendments will be added to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access and are treated fairly.
You can expect the most changes to occur under the Americans with Disabilities Act Reasonable Accommodations provision. It’s important for business owners and employees to stay up to date with the legal changes, to ensure that they fully comply with the law.
Stay tuned to our business blog and Business Forum to discuss these changes with other business owners.