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Part 2. The Code

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NARRATOR:
The Code offers protection of rights, equal opportunity, and freedom from discrimination. It applies to jobs, housing, and services, and states that employers, landlords, and service providers must accommodate people with disabilities to the point of undue hardship.

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Employers must accommodate employees when they cannot perform all of the duties of the job because of their disabilities. For example, suppose an employee with low vision has a job requiring her to work on a computer. Accommodating her needs might include supplying appropriate computer technology.

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Accommodation means not denying people jobs or services in the first place if they can be accommodated to the point of undue hardship Changes to an organization's policies and practices or staff training so that discrimination doesn't recur may be required.

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The Code is not meant to punish. When discrimination happens, the goal is to fix the situation to provide equal opportunity for the person with a disability. The Code promotes educating and working with organizations to make changes that prevent discrimination and harassment.

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Many people think of disabilities as noticeable physical disabilities — such as someone using a wheelchair. But not all disabilities are visible and you can't always tell who has a disability.

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In the Code, disabilities can include physical limitations, mental health, cognitive or intellectual development, learning, hearing, or vision. They also can include epilepsy, substance addictions, environmental sensitivities, and workplace injuries.

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The Code protects people from discrimination and harassment because of past, present, or perceived disabilities.

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Disability itself is not a barrier, but barriers exist that can exclude people with disabilities. These include physical barriers, information and communication barriers, systemic barriers, or attitudinal barriers.

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Barriers to accessibility prevent people with disabilities from fully taking part in the social and economic life of our communities.

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Physical barriers include things like providing steps but no ramps or elevators.

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Information and communication barriers can make it difficult for people to receive or give information, such as using unclear language or print that's too small.

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Systemic barriers can result from stereotypes or established practices, such as inflexible work hours that don't coordinate with para-transit bus schedules.

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And attitude can be the biggest barrier. “Ableism” is a tendency to see people with disabilities as less worthy, underestimating their potential, or excluding them from decisions that affect them.

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Organizations should try to identify and remove barriers before problems arise instead of waiting to answer individual accommodation requests or complaints.

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You can also avoid creating barriers altogether through inclusive planning and design. For example, when setting up a new web-site, design it for people who have sight and hearing disabilities.

The Code

 

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