Federal government organizations, receivers of federal financial assistance, and state and local entities are mandated under federal law to supply persons with disabilities equal access to all information that is available/accessible to non-disabled persons. The reason that this is mandatory is because it makes “effective communication” achievable for persons with sensory disabilities.
In 1973, congress enacted the Rehabilitation Act. “This was made to foster the provision of vocational services to persons with disabilities.” This program provided training to people with a wide range of disabilities- this was to equip them for re/entry into the workforce. Congress also recognized that persons with disabilities also had a lack of educational opportunities and work experience, thus persons with disabilities face discrimination from employers and public agencies. In 1990, the requirements concerning information access were expanded further with the enactment of the American with Disabilities Act. Under the ADA, it says that a public university or community college is required to provide timely access to information in a medium preferred by the individual and reasonable accommodations for that person.
An example of a lawsuit that had to do with the ADA is Tyler v. City of Manhattan. In this case, a student with a disability filed a grievance with a university for their failure to provide the reasonable accommodations needed to participate equally in school. The court decided that this institution violated its obligation under title II of the ADA, in part, because of its response to students on a case-by-case manner. The courts found that this institution (and other covered entities under ADA) had an affirmative duty to have plans in place ahead of a student’s need rather than waiting to create a post-hoc accommodation. One interesting inclusion in their resolution letter submitted to the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Justice that the university would create a plan to “ensure comparable access for students with disabilities to official University Web sites”.
I can see where the school was coming from as well as Tyler’s point of view. I think that the school should have had a plan in place before issues of non-accommodation came up instead of handling it by a case-by case basis. Then again, I can see why the school would have handled it like this in the beginning- the law states that you have to make reasonable accommodations for people in their preferred way, so it would have been very difficult for the school to do this ahead of a grievance. Then again, I see the young man’s point of view as well because he should be able to have the same learning experience as everyone else at the school; to not make prior accommodations is discriminatory. Though I can see where the school was coming from, I agree with the outcome of the lawsuit and the filed grievance in general.
In this case, I feel that title II of the ADA was being violated. The Americans with Disabilities Act is divided into five titles. Employment being the first, states that businesses must provide reasonable accommodations to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of employment. Possible changes may include restructuring jobs, altering the layout of workstations, or modifying equipment, Employment aspects may include the application process, hiring, wages, benefits, and all other aspects of employment. Medical exams are also highly regulated.
Title 2, public services, which includes state and local government instrumentality’s, cannot deny services to persons with disabilities participation in programs or activities, which are available to people without disabilities. In addition, public transportation systems, such as public transit buses, must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
In title three, public accommodations are addressed. All new construction and modifications must be removed if readily achievable. Public accommodations include facilities such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, etc., as well as privately owned transportation systems.
Title 4, telecommunications, states that telecommunication companies offering telephone service to the public must have telephone relay service to individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf or similar devices.
Finally, title five, miscellaneous, prohibits coercing, threatening, or retaliating against the disabled or those attempting to aid people with disabilities asserting their rights under the ADA.
Even though this isn’t the most current case, I still feel it is relatively current because the ADA is relatively current, thus, any suit filed under the ADA has to be a recent/ current legal action. I also feel that this case stood out because I am a college student. Though I am not disabled, I can try to put myself in the shoes of not having academia readily available for reasons that are unfair and invalid- not to mention illegal. I think that it is wrong that the school didn’t have a course of action ahead of time because it takes away from that person’s college and educational experience. I think that if the verdict had been the other way around it would have invalidated not only Tyler’s concerns, but also the rights of every person with a disability.