HOW TO: [fearlessly] illegally discriminate against the handicapped (aka It Is The Worst Of Times...)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/06/22 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

Yesterday in Court stomps on NetFlix's disability argument (aka It Is The Best Of Times...), I talked about a great precedent that win or lose seems poised to impact how we look at the the Americans with Disabilities Act in the future.

Despite these steps that give me hope, I have to admit that we aren't fully there yet.

I mean, there are the problems I had renewing my driver's license that I described in It seems that discrimination is the official policy at the WA Dept. of Licensing.

And then more recently there were my problems in New Mexico I described in Albuquerque is not so accessible to the likes of me....

More recently, Claudia and I had a wonderful visit to Cherokee, NC to visit the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which actually went very well, though getting from a "civilized" airport to the Reservation did require the help of a Microsoft VP's talented Executive Assistant, a bunch of money, and a lot of travel time.

Though for the record let me say that after I was on the Reservation, Cherokee Transit was able to get me to every place we wanted to go, no matter how high into the hills and no matter how many switchbacks -- and it was just $1 a trip. And incredibly friendly people, too!

Next time I'm there, I will outsmart them though, and buy an unlimited monthly pass. They deserve to be compensated for how much easier they made my time in Cherokee, NC. :-)

I'll likely talk more about the EBCI trip in a future blog, beyond the transit system; it was a truly amazing time!

Okay, so perhaps this blog today might almost have ended on a high note.

Except for one or two things.

Like the fact that the upcoming Seattle Punk Rock Flea Market at the Belltown Underground Events Center isn't wheelchair accessible.

Bummer. :-(

And then it gets worse.

My girlfriend has a small surgery set up for next week -- nothing dire and no overnight hospitalization is required. But they do need a responsible person to drop her off and pick her up. To take care of her.

Claudia asked me if I'd do it and I said yes, she put my name down, and no one from the surgeon to any of his staff or schedulers said a negative word about it.

Until they called her the other day to tell her that she had to have another "responsible party".

Due to some kind of "liability issue" for which they can name no legal basis, a non-handicapped person is the only kind of person who can be entrusted for this job.

An issue that never came up until weeks after we were there.

Apparently, even if she and I were married, this discriminatory would still apply.


I'm annoyed.

Claudia is even more annoyed.

Sure, we've lined up our "Shabbas Goy" to meet their silly requirement, but I'm the one she trusts.

If not for the fact that neither one of us wants to distract the surgeon or anyone in his office, we'd probably have a lawyer contact them and insist on the legal basis for this policy. And then sue them for the right to be the one there after they were unable to provide an adequate legal basis.

But alas, there's no upside to fighting them on this.

Once again, I'm a second class citizen, unable to do things that a responsible adult is allowed to do.

And we both get the reminder that as a country have a long way to go before the promise of the ADA's protections will apply to major life activities like this one.

Joshua on 22 Jun 2012 9:55 AM:

easy. "naturally hazardous environment" Of course this may simply invite an OSHA complaint instead.

Katy on 24 Jun 2012 2:36 PM:

What bullshit.

Michael S. Kaplan on 24 Jun 2012 8:01 PM:

I tend to agree, Katy. It seems like a doctor's office should know better....

cheong00 on 24 Jun 2012 8:23 PM:

In Hong Kong (and I think in some of the states in U.S. too), we have "non-emergency ambulance" (also known as patient transportation service) that can be arranged in such situation.

The doctor in hospital could just recommand something like that to your girlfriend and both of you wonldn't be annoyed, as there would be medically trained staff on the minibus who would take care of your girlfriend appropiately.

Michael S. Kaplan on 24 Jun 2012 9:18 PM:

I think they were also worried about care after she was home, though they never got into any specifics....

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