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Employment _ Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable Accommodation

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Reasonable accommodation of people with disabilities in the provision of goods and services

Reasonable accommodation is a simple, easily achievable part of quality customer service and ordinary common courtesy. If you provide goods or services, the Equal Status ACTs 2000 2004 apply to you.

Providers of goods and services must not discriminate against people with any type of disability, including mobility, sensory, mental health and intellectual impairments.

Reasonable Accommodation
The act requires providers of goods and services to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities through making reasonable changes in what they do and how they do it, where, without these changes, it would be very difficult or impossible for people with disabilities to obtain these goods or services unless this costs more than what is called a ‘nominal cost’.

Nominal Cost
What amounts to nominal cost will depend on the circumstances such as the size of the body involved. If the state provides grants or aids for assisting in providing special facilities there may be an onus on the service providers to avail of these grants

Positive action
You are not confined to just taking reasonable steps. Positive action is allowed under the Equal Status Act. You can take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that people with disabilities can obtain your goods and services.

The Equal Acts 2000 and 2004 prohibit discrimination in the provision of goods and services on the following nine grounds; gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, member of the travelling community.

Nominal Cost exemption
Service providers are not obliged to provide special facilities or treatment where the cost involved is greater than the nominal

Obstacles faced by people with disabilities
The obstacles that make it difficult or impossible for people with disabilities to access goods and services can include:

Reasonable accommodation will help you overcome some of these obstacles. Positive action can eliminate them.
Example: If customers have to queue to access your service, providing some seating in the area will assist customers with disabilities who are unable to stand for long periods – this will also benefit older people, pregnant women and others.

What does reasonable accommodation mean ?
It means that goods and service providers must take reasonable steps to provide special treatment of facilities where it is very difficult or impossible for people with disabilities to access the goods and services being provided.
Knowing what your disabled customers need wil help you to provide reasonable accommodation. Ask them !
Many kinds of reasonable accommodation cost very little or nothing at all, such as changing staff attitudes or means of communication.

Reasonable accommodation benefits everyone
If your organisation’s values involve respect and thoughtfulness towards customers then you will b eon your way to providing reasonable accommodation. It is part of any quality customer service.

Changes you make to accommodate people with disabilities will:
Make your service accessible to a wider market
Make your premises easy to get around
Prime staff to respond to the needs of all customers
Make all customers feel valued
Provide a service which will make people want to return

Providing reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities will ensure compliance with equality legislation. It will also:
Benefit other customers and staff
Open your potential customer base
Enhance your positive public image
Enhance your competitiveness
Attract market esteem (corporate social responsibility)

Failure to provide reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities can amount to discrimination.


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