By Guest Blogger Paisley Hansen
Our country has come a long way in addressing disabilities in the workplace. There used to be no laws to protect people with disabilities in the workplace. Now, there are many provisions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that provide regulations on companies so that disabled persons are not discriminated against. People with disabilities should feel empowered and appreciated at work, and with help from the ADA, this is now possible.
Under the ADA Act, Title II states that government run public transportation systems, such as trains and municipal buses, must be made accessible to individuals with disabilities including those who are wheelchair-bound; thus public transportation buses must accommodate patients in wheelchairs.
Wheelchair vans include a variety of commercial vehicles which have been adjusted to accommodate to have one or more wheelchair-bound patients (for example: due to severe back injury, or post stroke patients) who need to be transported from one location to another; in addition WV’s generally have a power lift, such as a hydraulic lift, in order to facilitate access into the vans by patients without having to be manually lifted off their wheelchairs.
These specially-adapted vehicles have been provided as a service by medium to large sized employers, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of July 1990, which all employers need to comply with. Title I of this ADA statute requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, and prohibits such employers from discrimination on the basis of disability with respect to all phases of employment. Reasonable accommodations would include having wheelchair van service to shuttle employees from their home to the work setting and back, and also mandates that workstations are accessible and accommodated to wheelchair and specifications, and also that schedules and specific work duties are modified as appropriate based on the employee’s disability or injury.
Title III of the act states that public facilities such as restaurants, grocery stores, and hotel/motel lodgings also need to accommodate consumers who have disabilities and may be wheelchair-bound. An example would be a sloped ramp (instep of concrete steps), to facilitate for a wheelchair patient to easily go from the street to the restaurant’s front door/lobby entrance.
Title IV of ADA states that telecommunications corporations which offer telephonic service to the public (AT and T, for example) needs to have a type of telephone relay service to individuals who use communication devices for the deaf; one such enabling technology is known as teletypewriter or TTYs.
Workplace violence is a more controversial topic, with no clear agreement on why it is increasing. Some occupational experts cite increase in psychiatric disorders (e.g. anger management) in the US in general, while others refer to increased rates of addiction to alcohol, recreational drugs, or prescription drugs, as causative factors. It does appear that more research into this topic will need to be done before any final conclusions can be drawn.
The Fifth and the final Title of the ADA states that under any circumstances individuals who are trying to exert their legal
rights for protection under the ADA, shall not be retaliated against by corporations, public entities, or governmental agencies. Entities may face criminal prosecution and/or heavy fines if they are judged to have committed such retaliatory acts.
In the workplace, people with disabilities should have all the same privileges as any other employee. With all these great laws to protect disabled persons, they should be able to have equal opportunities at work to progress and learn new skills at work. Having a disability should not limit an employee’s career options. People with disabilities bring a rich and diverse background to any company, and companies realize that these type of people are needed in their entities. Disabled persons are a strong asset for any company, and our society is finally providing the necessary regulations to help these people succeed on the job.
More About Paisley
Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health, wellness and is passionate about disability awareness. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym. She often write on behalf of the Mobility Resource.