Disability Laws: Protecting the Rights of Disabled Individuals
People with disability are protected by both state and federal laws. In the state of California, there are existing states and federal laws that help ensure protection of the rights of people with disabilities. This article will discuss some of these laws so that people will be aware, not only those that are disabled, but also the citizens.
Disability laws for:
• Private and non-profit businesses
The Federal and state law give disabled people the right to gain full and equal access to everyday activities usually done in establishments where the general public is invited, such as:
• Enjoying a meal at a restaurant
• Buying an item at the grocery store
• Getting their car serviced in stations
• Watching a movie in a theater
• Exercising at the health club
Businesses that serve the public are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA and other disability rights laws.
According to the Title III of ADA, private and non-profit businesses, sometimes referred to as Public Accommodations, have responsibilities for newly constructed or altered facilities and already existing ones. They may also have obligations in housing, employment and other areas that are protected from discriminatory practices.
Some of the public accommodations include the following:
• Private museums
• Recreation facilities
• Service establishments
• Government agencies
Under the state and federal law, government agencies, or sometimes referred to as public entities, must give an equal opportunity to disabled individuals to benefit from or take part in its programs. Regardless of funding sources, the laws apply to all state and local government activities, services, and programs.
Program access for public entities is not limited only to making the facilities physically accessible to disabled individuals but also include the following:
• Proper protocols for public meeting
• Effective communication practices
• Accessible signage
• Designation of a reliable employee to serve as contact for grievances or concerns
• Other aspects of program services not limited to physical accessibility
To ensure effective communications with disabled individuals, public entities are required to equip suitable auxiliary aids and services.
Auxiliary aids include the following:
• Brailled materials
• Taped texts
• Large print materials
Government agencies or public entities must rely to all non-discrimination laws concerning employment of individuals with disabilities.
According to the state and federal law, individuals with disability have the right to have an opportunity to participate in the process of employment.
The California disability rights law gives protections in regards to employment, separate from those in ADA. Also, Californias definition of disability is much broader than the standard of the Federal.
The law pertains to non-profit and private businesses, and also to the government.
Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
The law that deals with the rights of persons with disabilities and the responsibilities of employers in the state of California is the Fair Employment and Housing Act or FEHA. This law prohibits discrimination because of an individuals disability in all aspects of housing. It also provides protection from discriminatory practices or harassment in employment.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act
The Federal law that is concerned with disabled individuals rights is the Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Title I requires employers to provide an equal opportunity for disabled individuals who are qualified to benefit from all employment-related opportunities that are available to others who do not have any disabilities. This applies to employers who have 15 or more employees.
There are still a lot of state disability laws, and also federal laws, that has not been discussed but too many to contain in this article.
To sum it all up, these laws were created to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, their right to live a normal life, that they should not be hindered because of their impairments to do what everyone else does as long as they have the capacity to do so.
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