Posted in Accessibility for people with disabilities, Air carrier access act

Nothing “Fake” in this News Story about Service Animals

E32C9E61-FFD8-4CFF-9EE0-208F5C36B212.jpeg

We have recently been inundated with news stories about peacocks, turkeys and other assorted creatures, who are joining or attempting to join us on airline flights.

Not surpringly, this has occasionally resulted in conflicts between humans v. animals, animals v. animals and humans v. humans. Although these instances are relativly rare, the negative publicity casts a shadow on people with disabilities who genuinely need those animals in order to access airplanes.

It doesn‘t help that there is also tremendous misinformation out there about what the law actually says. That’s why it was refreshing to come across an article by the Washington Post that explains the issues in a very clear and easy-to-read style.

One of the most important points made is the following:

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) limits the definition of  “service animals“  to dogs and miniature horses, this is not true with the airline industry, which is covered by a different law – The Airline Carrier Aviation Act (ACAA).  Under that law, airlines are required  to allow certain other animals on board.  This is because unlike the ADA, the ACAA covers what are called “emotional support animals,“  animals that are not there to perform specific tasks, but whose job is to generally ease anxiety and provide a degree of security to their handlers.

Without these animals, some passengers with disabilities may not be able to access airplanes. And since accessibility is the heart and soul of all disability laws,  it must be fiercely protected.


The US Department of Transportation has recently issued proposed rules to add more restrictions on animals aboard airlines. In a subsequent post, I will discuss what I consider to be the pros and cons of these rules. In the meantime, I have provided links both to these rules and to the Washington Post article.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/amp-stories/service-and-support-animals-explained/

https://www.transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/service-animals-including-emotional-support-animalsv

Posted in disability civil rights

Celebrate and Defend the Americans with Disabilities Act

9

On July 27, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law. We are now celebrating it’s 28th anniversary.

The ADA is the reason we expect to see ramps and curb cuts, as well as close-captioning and braile.

Please celebrate and be mindful of the disability civil rights movement and how it ultimately led to this revolutionary law. As indicated in the press and in other articles in this site, it is now under attack as never before.

https://a-data .org/ada-anniversary

^

Posted in Accessibility for people with disabilities, ADA reform, ADA Title III, disability civil rights

Ready to Roll…on Washington!

 

7A43D9E2-8A05-43B4-B3BA-B1862D633DC8.jpeg

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.

https://disabilitylawsandvoices.com/category/americans-with-disabilities-reform-act/

]http://www.13abc.com/content/news/ADA-Changes-Spark-Controversy-485611731.html

Read about the demonstration here: 

https://www.unitedspinal.org/events/roll-on-capitol-hill/

 

CARE TO COMMENT?

 

Posted in Air carrier access act, Emotional support animals

This photo is just a joke, but…

B4A463BB-FD74-49AA-BD59-F3EA67844011.jpeg

…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.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2313991/flying-your-fake-service-dog-may-be-over?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=onsitesha    

Posted in ADA Title III, Websites

Is a website a “place” of public accommodation?

 

7C6839FC-6611-4B0D-82AB-F78F3322CD95.jpeg

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.

akhan@potomaclaw.com

https://mdappblog.com/2018/05/14/does-the-americans-with-disabilities-act-apply-to-company-websites/

CARE TO COMMENT?

 

Posted in Home health care for disabled, Olmstead decision

Shortage of home health care workers causes some young people to be “warehoused” indefinitely

27803929-FD39-4031-ADF0-30C903B6180A.jpeg

Many thanks to Joe Shapiro (https://www.npr.org/people/2101159/joseph-shapiro) for posting  the article below on Facebook.

Because of the severe shortage of  home health care workers, many young people with disabilities are somewhere they don‘t want and don‘t need to be:  in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Yet if they were able to find and hire people to take care of them at home, they could live much more independently and also cost the taxpayers a lot less.

I have been a home health care worker and I know the physical and emotional strain it puts on a person. And since the pay is not that much different from working at a fast food place, I might well have chosen the latter before too long.

In the Olmstead decision (see below), the Supreme Court ruled that it is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act to continue to “warehouse” people with disabilities in institutions, if their health conditions do not warrant it. But with the shortage of people willing to take on this kind of work for the current available wages,  this landmark court decision could be rendered relatively meaningless.

It is time for an adjustment in our economy, and for some of our nation’s wealth to “trickle down” to the people that want to be liberated from institutions, and the people who can help them make that a reality.

http://www.startribune.com/shortage-of-home-health-workers-forcing-young-一minnesotans-with-disabilities-into-institutions/481835481/

CARE TO COMMENT?

Posted in Air carrier access act, Service animals

Punches fly in the sky over service dog

This was a deaf couple on an airplane with their service dog. That much I know, and I’ll let the FBI figure out the rest.

But it looks like it could be yet another situation where  anger erupted over people with disabilities legally using their service animals.  Or it could be that the deaf passenger himself instigated the violence, in which case the disability laws should not be used as an excuse.

No matter how or why this sorry situation unfolded, it reminds us that before we let anger take over, we should try to understand what we think we are seeing.

 

Posted in Accesibility for People with disabilities, ADA Title III

No, a grocery store does NOT have to put Braille on soup cans!

0C24A1B1-6536-4312-8CAD-0125CA040765B1414D02-B4B9-4FD2-9DC8-C3BA7D19D32B

 

Many businesses are understandably still nervous about the AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA). They are afraid that they will have to spend exorbitant amounts of money to accommodate people with disabilities who want to shop in their stores or visit their offices. Among the urban myths out there is that every product in a grocery store has to have Braille on its label,  every building of more than one story has to have an elevator, and  every entrance must be wheelchair-accessible.

None of that is true. Businesses are only required to use “reasonable” efforts to accommodate those with disabilities. And what is “reasonable” is different for each establishment. A huge chain store is going to be expected to do a lot more than a mom-and-pop grocery store, because the chain store has more resources. And even though the current administration is trying to eliminate them, as of right now there are tax credits for businesses who spend money to comply with the ADA.

So what if a visually-impaired person wants to know about the ingredients in a can of soup? In most cases, it is perfectly acceptable to have an employee read the ingredients to the customer. What if someone in a wheelchair wants to go into a store where the front entrance is not accessible? As long as there is an accessible entrance somewhere, that should be sufficient.  Or it may be necessary to arrange for items to be delivered to the customer.

With businesses that are being constructed or altered after 1992, there are specific requirements for things like doorways, parking places and restrooms. But the good news is that the difference in cost of building accessible and non-accessible facilities is negligible. And think of all the additional customers you’ll attract!

The link below gives many other examples of how businesses can comply with the ADA.

https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/smallbusiness/smallbusprimer2010.htm`