The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that U.S. Congress enacted and signed into law in July of 1990 and has since expanded. The Act protects individuals with disabilities who work and seek employment within the United States.
The Act’s purpose is to ensure that ALL employees companies are provided with reasonable accommodation to perform their jobs. For instance, companies may require at least one translator (or interpreter) to translate English into Sing Language and vice versa. An interpreter is especially critical in specific fields such as engineering or medicine because of the specialized nature of the information needed. If an employee or client cannot comprehend communications, they will have a hard time understanding crucial information involved in the workplace. These misunderstandings can mean someone’s life in medical settings and someone’s future on legal grounds.
The ADA ensures that individuals with disabilities are given the same opportunity for employment as other individuals. Any individual with a disability who experiences discrimination can use the ADA law for protection in court.
What are some of the steps that a business owner can take to ensure that they comply with the ADA? Business organizations must register with the Department of Labor. Once they become registered, they are required to undergo many tests and monitoring procedures to ensure compliance. Managers and employees should also begin by undergoing cultural competency training and awareness presentations.
At Ability Summit 2020 Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella explains his personal passion for accessibility technologies and what accessibility means to him and to Microsoft. Satya’s son has made this personal to him. He demonstrates why empathy is core to embedding accessibility into the DNA of Microsoft and into business culture at large.
Link to closed captioning version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM7wFZo5yfI&t=175s.
Hi. I’m Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft. We’re going to talk about accessibility, so first let’s explain what this is. There are lots of examples of accessibility in the world. There’s accessibility of buildings and physical space with ramps, power door openers and more. And there’s also digital accessibility. Rendering websites, software, and games, to be accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities. All this and a lot more are great. Because at the core, accessibility is about creating experiences that are inclusive of the one billion people with disabilities around the world. With accessibility, we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to create inclusive tech that works for all of us. Accessibility is NOT optional. It is a key priority for Microsoft.
Technology can connect people in how they communicate, how they learn, transact and experience the world. And when tech is inclusive, we can connect people and information in amazing ways. On the flip side, if accessibility is not considered and your process does not prioritize accessibility, you have the power to exclude people, which is clearly not what we want to do. So, if we’re really going to lean into our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, we have to think about accessibility, and embed it into the DNA of Microsoft. It’s an ecosystem. It starts with the people that we hire and empower. Right the way through to our marketing, communications, to the standards to which we hold our suppliers, vendors, and partners, our products, our innovations, and our workplace. Because we have an amazing opportunity to explore the great potential and hard questions, of how to create the next generation of accessible tech and the wave of innovation that comes with it. Just imagine what we can do together.
We’re going to take you on a journey through time and space, and to illustrate some of the common scenarios. Just remember that everyone’s experience is completely different. And we’re going to share just a few stories that will be helpful in understanding accessibility for now and the future. Thank you for investing your time to watch this today.
When it comes to assistive technologies the person leading the way for Microsoft is their Chief Accessibility Officer Jenny Lay-Flurrie. She’s from Birmingham, England, is profoundly deaf, works in Seattle, Washington, USA, and is passionate about the importance of putting inclusion at the heart of corporate culture. This is no small undertaking as it requires a paradigm shift in corporate thinking. But Jenny has never shied away from a fight. This October 1, 2020 interview may be giving you a first look at this amazing woman. Here’s a more in-depth look into her: https://news.microsoft.com/stories/people/jenny-lay-flurrie.html.