Sunday, July 19, 2020

Know the Law Before You Try To Cheat It

Reasonable accommodation” means necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;
Let me make something perfectly clear: I am not a lawyer.

However, I am the sort of person who reads and studies relevant legislation to ensure that nobody's taking advantage of me. For example, the state of Illinois has ODRISA, which too few of the people I've spoken with in the blue collar jobs I've worked know about. The ignorance allows those people--who aren't stupid, merely ignorant--to be taken advantage of by their employers.

Unfortunately, once it's been going on for a while, it's not easy to stop the abuse without losing the job, and many of those people I've spoken with can't afford to do that. They get stuck.

But this entry isn't meant to be about employers taking advantage of their employees, it's about something else, something more relevant to today's world: customers trying to take advantage of the ADA as an argument against adhering to COVID-era safety regulations, most notably, wearing a mask.

The American's with Disabilities Act of 1990 was created to build upon the earlier and limited basis of the Civil Rights Act of 1964--whose aim it was to make most forms of discrimination illegal. The ADA expanded the coverage of discrimination to include mental disorders and extended a requirement to employers to provide "reasonable accommodation" to new and existing employees.

It's largely this mention of reasonable accommodation that people are trying to take advantage of, with two faults.

The first is pretty simple. From my understanding of the wording, the allowance of reasonable accommodation only applies to employees of a business, and not customers.

...necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden...

The second is a little more complicated. The Act doesn't actually define what reasonable accommodation is, though the UN has their own definition, which I've quoted above.

Even this definition says nothing about companies having to bend over backwards to provide accommodation at their own expense. Note the "not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden". Putting employees or other customers at risk can be considered an "undue burden," or rather, an unreasonable accommodation.

The simple fact of the matter is that if you have a medical reason to not wear a mask, then you have a medical obligation to yourself to stay home, stay sequestered. What you don't have is a legal leg to stand on when putting other people at risk for your own selfish purposes, regardless of the legitimacy of your medical claims.