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ADA Regulations-Provide Magnifying Glass?

Question: 
As a bank employee, are we required to provide a magnifying glass or similar to someone who is visually impaired in order to comply with ADA regulations?
Answer: 

by Randy Carey:

You are required to provide reasonable accommodations to assist disabled customers. In the DOJ ADA suit against Wells, the following stipulation was agreed to by Wells.

Wells Fargo will provide customers, potential customers, and their companions who are blind or have low vision with appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including documents in alternate formats, where necessary to ensure effective communication. Alternate formats include Braille, large print, audio format, accessible electronic format such as email or HTML, and raised line checks.

If a customer has requested a magnification device to help them read documents and you don't have any other viable alternative accommodation, I would have a hard time saying that is not a reasonable accommodation.

Answer: 

by Richard Insley:

ADA is two sets of rules, and it's impossible to determine which set applies to your situation because you didn't explain who needs the magnifying glass.

Title I of ADA prohibits discrimination in employment. If the magnifying glass may be needed by a member of the bank's staff, then you must comply with rules issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In general, these rules require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees. A “reasonable accommodation” is a change that accommodates employees with disabilities so they can do the job without causing the employer “undue hardship” (too much difficulty or expense).

Title III prohibits discrimination in the provision of products and services to your customers. If the magnifying glass is needed by a customer, then you must comply with rules issued by the U.S. Department of Justice. In general, these rules prohibit barriers (procedural, as well as physical) that would thwart full enjoyment of your products and services by a person with a covered disability. Full enjoyment of a product would include, for example, being able to read product literature, disclosures, and contract documents. Barrier-free access can be reduced to checklists for physical items (curb cuts, counter heights, ATM placement, etc.), but when it comes to vision or hearing barriers, your obligation is defined by the degree of impairment. Simply put, you should do what it takes to make the customer happy. It doesn't have to be state-of-the-art or expensive--it just has to remove the barrier.

First published on 07/29/2018

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