Americans with Disabilities Act: Know Your Rights

Posted on: January 5th, 2016 by Premier Prosthetics Blogger

ADA rights

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush broke new ground when he signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The legislation prohibits discrimination and ensures that mainstream opportunities aren’t withheld from citizens with mental or physical disabilities.

As you charge into a new year loaded with new possibilities, make sure you know your rights as an amputee or prosthetic user to receive equal treatment across the board:

Housing

  • Landlords can’t ask about your amputation, prosthetic device, mobility aids, or other medical information. Your information is private and can’t be used against you when deciding to accept your lease.
  • You have equal rights to available units in an apartment. Even as a lower body amputee relying on prosthetics, crutches, or wheelchairs to aid your mobility, your landlord can’t bar you from considering a fourth-floor option because he believes the ground floor option would be easiest for both him and you.
  • Reasonable accommodations to maintain a standard of living – wheelchair-accessible doorways, lowered countertops, etc. – may have to be provided at your landlord’s expense. Additionally, they’ll need to let you make reasonable modifications to your home on your own dime (ex: using drills to affix grab bars in your bathroom) so long as you propose a way you can personally restore the living space to saleable condition for the next tenant.

Employment

  • An employer can’t discriminate based on your amputee status during recruitment, hiring, training, job assigning, promoting, paying, laying off, or any other employment-related activity.
  • If you’re qualified but require reasonable accommodations to perform job-related duties, your employer must provide them. An upper-limb amputation requiring a modified mouse and computer keyboard, for example, would be made at the employer’s expense, not yours.
  • During the hiring process, an employer can’t ask about your prosthetic or require a medical exam unless it’s required of all applicants.

Public Transportation

  • Buses and coaches must meet the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations to provide access to riders with disabilities. This includes space for a standard wheelchair, a boarding device, and handrails to help you maneuver your prosthetic smoothly through the bus.
  • Taxi drivers can’t legally charge you more to stow your wheelchair or mobility device than they would to stow a piece of luggage. Additionally, they can only refuse to offer you service if their vehicle can’t accommodate your equipment; refusal can’t be based on your amputee status alone.

The ADA sets certain standards nationally, but each state has its own additional laws and protections for amputees. Double check your state’s regulations to ensure you receive equal treatment wherever you are. Contact the experts at Premier Prosthetics for more advice on what accommodations can help you live the fullest life possible.

 

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