The ADA Education and Reform Act is horribly misnamed, and I’m sure that was intentional.
If enacted , this law would severely limit the rights of individuals with disabilities to file lawsuits against businesses that do not accommodate them. For example, if a wheelchair user could not get into a store because there was no ramp, she could no longer immediately file a lawsuit against the establishment. Instead, she would be required to give written notice of her intent to sue and would then have to wait at least 60 days for the store to fix the problem. And because the store would only need to show that it had made “substantial progress” towards compliance, this process could string out for a long time, with the individual still unable to make her case for access.
I am attaching a post I wrote for this blog back in February, which goes into more detail about this serious attack on disability rights. I am also attaching a recent article that provides more information and announces that there will be a demonstration in Washington DC next week, to oppose this law.
Those of us of a certain age clearly remember the Marches on Washington in the 60’s. This is designed to send the same kind of message: Justice is for everyone, no matter what our current mode of transportation.
…if you’ve been on an airplane lately, you may have found yourself sitting next to all manner of creatures – including dogs, hamsters, snakes and birds. Their owners may tell you that they are “emotional support animals” and maybe they do provide a degree of serenity and comfort to those who bring them on board. But in addition, they sometimes pee, poop, snap at and strike other passengers.
This is not what the disability laws intended. Many people with disabilities truly need those animals: seeing-eye dogs, dogs that alert epileptics to oncoming seizures, dogs who pick up things, open doors and help their owners stay on their feet or propel their wheelchairs. But when these dogs are among a menagerie of untrained and and unruly animals, it’s easy to miss the good that they are doing and lash out at ALL people who bring their animals on board.
Under traditional rules, all a potential passenger needs to do is get a doctor to write a note saying that the passenger needs the animal to provide “emotional support” on the flight. That way, the animal gets on the flight and the passenger saves the fee usually charged for transporting animals.
Because of some recent news stories and an increasing number of complaints, at least two airlines have tightened up their policies, and others are considering doing the same. The Department of Transportation has also invited public comments on this issue.
Read the excellent article below by Wes Siler of Outside Magazine for more information.
The AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) is full of unanswered questions. One of them is: Is a website a ”place?”
This question is important because the ADA prohibits disability discrimination in “places” of public accommodation. These include stores, business offices, sports arenas, movie theaters and other places of public congregation. This concept of “place” is why the ADA requires, in many cases, that buildings have ramps, accessible restrooms, doors of a certain width, etc.
One of the complications is that the ADA was passed in 1990, when the internet was in its infancy and lawmakers could not have anticipated how websites would become such an integral part of all our lives. Back then, it was pretty obvious that “place” meant something physical, not something in some conceptual “cloud” somewhere.
But times have obviously changed. Is the law going to change with them?
See tne article below by Aesha N. Khahn for some great insights into this question.