The shifting ground of disability discrimination
New emphasis on intent increases the need to take action
Disability discrimination law has undergone changes in Australia. For decades, people with disabilities have been expected to tolerate secondary and often undignified access to buildings because organisations have excused themselves as, ‘good enough’. People with disabilities often found themselves taken round the back and through the parking lot, carried by bouncers down stairs and regularly contend with ramps and accessible toilets that have been used as storage areas .But ‘good enough’ is really not good enough anymore.
Now, under updates to disability discrimination legislation, accessible buildings must provide equitable access. Equitable access provides a person living with a disability a substantially similar and dignified path for entry to buildings and toileting facilities, way finder signage and information presented in a variety of accessible ways so that all members of the public can maintain their dignity while finding and using public buildings.
What this means for today’s organisations and businesses is that it’s time to get planning! As access becomes easier, signage is updated, and information becomes more available, the organisations who have established plans and actions that work against disability discrimination will become more and more ubiquitous. Eventually those that have taken no positive actions will become increasingly vulnerable to costly complaints under the Disability Discrimination Act.
Don’t let your organisation fall behind. Simply the act of creating action plans, establishing inclusive policies and procedures, and developing staff competencies with inclusion training put you on the path to meeting — or even exceeding — government legislation. Organisations who are investing now in pathways towards fully inclusive environments are already reaping the rewards in the form of happier workers, higher profits, and loyal customers.
Are you ready to put your team on the path to ending disability discrimination? Get in touch with our Inclusion Champion to start the conversation.