National Council on Independent Living – A Resolution on Access Ready Environments

National Council on Independent Living
A Resolution on Access Ready Environments

Whereas, the Americans With Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and other federal/state laws require that all new or updated buildings meet federal and state physical accessibility guidelines;
Whereas, the Americans With Disabilities Act requires that government services and places of public accommodation meet accessibility guidelines;
Whereas, the Americans With Disabilities Act requires that places of employment make reasonable accommodations to provide for the employment of people with disabilities;
Whereas, the courts including the Supreme Court of the United States have upheld all the above requirements;
Whereas, the cost of retrofitting or upgrading both buildings and technology is often held out as a reason not to provide accessibility;
Whereas, many potential employers give lip service to the law and the concept of employing people with disabilities, but these intentions are undermined by hiring managers who quietly fear the cost of making a workplace accessible;
Whereas, modern technology driven workplaces are often not readily accessible to potential employees with disabilities;
Whereas, accessible twenty-first century information technology has proven the ability to level the workplace playing field;
Whereas, this same technology has proven the ability to make public facing portals to service, retail, and information delivery accessible to people with disabilities;
Whereas, inaccessible twenty first century technology creates unreasonable, punitive and costly barriers to people with disabilities;
Whereas, information technology is clearly the lifeblood of twenty-first-century employment and commerce;
Whereas, the cost of accessible technology, if required in advance, is marginally different from inaccessible products; and
Whereas, legal and moral precedent exists for the advance planning and implementation of Access Ready Environments;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the National Council on Independent Living assembled this twenty-third day of July 2019 herein request and require that;
Federal, state and local governments, business and places of employment and public accommodation voluntarily implement all steps necessary to require that information technology managers, departments, developers, and providers take actions to impose accessibility requirements in advance of their need in the same way that structures are required to be accessible in advance of their need; and
That the Congress of the United States and the legislative bodies of the various states take legislative action to require that Access Ready information technology environments be imposed under the appropriate titles of the Americans With Disabilities Act and supporting state statutes; and
That the Congress direct the United States Access Board or other appropriate bodies to set Access Ready information technology standards where none exist designed to create employment and public-facing environments that are or can easily be accessible to people with disabilities; and
That Federal, state and local government purchasing departments, along with those of business impose Access Ready requirements on respondents to requests for proposals and other solicitations related to the purchase of information technology; and
That government and business information technology managers, departments, developers, and providers at all leadership levels engage with disability technology experts to review their current employee and public-facing systems to ascertain the necessary upgrades to create an Access Ready environment; and
That disability organizations and experts begin to examine public facing information technologies in order to inform the government and business owners of those systems of the issues found, and further to take appropriate actions to bring about changes that will provide Access Ready environments; and
Be it further resolved that the United States Department of Justice is hereby requested to review, investigate, monitor, report on and take action against employers and places of public accommodation who have a proven track record of avoiding, refusing to implement, and/or failing to otherwise provide for Access Ready information technology environments by policy, unreasonable budget restrictions, and/or supporting an atmosphere of institutional discrimination against people with disabilities; and

That individuals with disabilities, with the support of their friends, families and civil rights organizations, begin a grassroots campaign utilizing existing complaint and legal avenues to bring to the attention of government and business the need for immediate action to alter the course of technology development and implementation to include accessibility from the outset and not as a case by case afterthought.