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Re: Can ADA be counterproductive (was Re: Legal leg to stand on?)

From: <Lovey@aol.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 11:25:54 EST
Message-ID: <1a05d5bc.36f7c092@aol.com>
To: lisbk@ukoln.ac.uk
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
In a message dated 3/23/99 7:38:06, lisbk@ukoln.ac.uk writes:
<< when threatened with the ADA >>

Why is the ADA threatening? There seems to be a HUGE misconception that the
ADA is some monster "out to get you" when in fact it is no such thing. Here
are the facts:

-What is the ADA? It is a law to eliminate discrimination of PWD's

in housing, education, the workplace, rehabilitation, etc. This law affects

millions of US citizens - PWD's and their families. This law is about

improving quality of life. "The pursuit of happiness" as put down in the Bill

of Rights by our Founding Fathers.

-The ADA is not new, it has been in effect for 9 years. 

-It does not *only* apply to the internet.

-There are government programs to assist businesses in modifying for access
and generous tax credit and deductions for complying with ADA requirements. 
-ADA requirements apply to businesses with *more* than 15 employees. Less than
15 employees = exempt.

-There are provisions for businesses that if modifications cause undue
financial or administrative burden they may be exempt - no one is forced to
close or loose their business. 

-The Department of Justice handles ADA cases and under general rules governing

lawsuits brought by the Federal government, the Department of Justice may not

sue a party unless negotiations to settle the dispute have failed. 

-The ADA has resulted in only about 650 cases nationwide in five years

to the 6 million businesses; 666,000 public and private employers; and 80,000

units of state and local government that must comply. 

So what is "threatening" about the ADA?  - Ignorance!!!

One person out every 5 has a disAbility or handicap -
How will you be able to determine which visitors to your websites have a
handicap or disAbility and what kind? 
Will you arbitrarily deny your clients business from PWD's because you do not
want to design accessibe websites?  
What reasons do you give your clients against accessible web design?

For those of us with disAbilites and handicaps who are homebound the Internet
has proved a to be a wonderful tool.  It has empowered us and we are able to
interact in real time with other people - the entire world in fact - whereas
our contact with others was limited to those at home and in the doctors
It has opened a world of information and opened interaction between
other PWD's. A Handicapped/disAbled Community has grown from the Internet. A
community that never existed before. And I believe the Handicapped/disAbled
Community will become a powerful voice in the Internet.  

Just think, hundreds of thousands of people eager to interact. Our money is
the same color as those who are "Not Yet Disabled".

But I constantly hear the word "threatened" and worse remarks about
accessibility and PWD's by people who do not have a clue what the ADA is.

In January, during his visit to St Louis, Pope John Paul II referred to the
infamous 1857 Dred Scott case affirming slavery, which was heard in St. Louis,
and called it a "time of testing," which the United States failed. 

"America faces a similar time of trial today," the pope said. "Today the

conflict is between a culture that affirms, cherishes and celebrates the gift

of life and a culture that seeks to declare entire groups of human beings --

the unborn, the terminally ill, the handicapped, and others considered

'unuseful' -- to be outside the boundaries of legal protection."

A pretty raw statement about this country and it's people.

IMO, closing a website using the reason "threatened by the ADA" is a prime
example of ignorance and blatant discrimination against PWD's.

ps: If you think the US ADA law is a threat - check out Australia's Disability
Act and guidelines regarding websites. 
For NSW government websites the guidelines include not only PWD's but
accessibility for:
*	People lacking multi-media computer functions
*	People using non-current web browsers
*	People from non-English speaking backgrounds
Received on Tuesday, 23 March 1999 11:29:43 UTC

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