THE DISABILITY RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND COVID-19

picture of a disabled person in a wheelchair

[1]

The Disability Rights Movement has a vast history that is still being written today. The 1900’s saw the greatest advancements in the dignities afforded to Americans living with a disability. Beginning in the wake of World War II, veterans of the War started a new effort for their country to repay those military men who incurred a disability through their service. Their fight gained servicemen vocational training and rehabilitation treatment for the injuries that left them disabled. While this win may not have encompassed the full reparation deserved for the social group that historically endured shame and ridicule of those not otherwise encumbered, it did bring about a new sense of awareness for the disproportionate treatment of individuals living with a disability.[2]

During the 1960’s, while the Civil Rights Movement was taking shape, Disability advocates joined forces with these minority groups to further awareness and demand legislation which called for equal treatment. The Rehabilitation Act was finally passed in 1973, which made the rights of people with disabilities protected by law.[3] This Act provided equal employment opportunities and prohibited discrimination of such individuals with a disability. But the greatest advancement for the rights of disabled individuals came in the form of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA). This Act caused a surge of equality in the rights afforded to these individuals within their public life, one example mandate held that all businesses must provide reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals.[4]

Now that the ADA turned thirty years old on July 26th, it stands to wonder how public spaces are still a space of equality during the global pandemic the country as a whole is experiencing. Disability Rights Nebraska has filed a complaint charging that the current methodology for COVID-19 testing discriminates against individuals with disabilities because the plan in place is for drive through testing, meaning that disabled individuals that cannot drive are not able to receive testing with the same ease as individuals without the same obstacles. Disability advocates have also noted that the CARES Act, which allocates three trillion dollars to coronavirus relief efforts, provides less than one billion dollars to states in order to care for their elderly and disabled individuals.[5]

In response to this disproportionate treatment, the International Disability Alliance has launched a campaign to end the discrimination highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic. This campaign urges people the world over to call for equality and inclusiveness in accessing services delivered in response to COVID-19 at the local, national, and global scales. Since the nearly one billion individuals with a disability are at the greatest risk where the pandemic is concerned, it is imperative that these persons receive equal representation and relief.[6]

If you are hurt on the job due to unsafe working conditions, seek legal counsel, as you may be entitled to workers’ compensation or other benefits. As we have since 1967, we will continue to protect the legal rights of our clients – those who are hurt on the job while working for Alabama employers.  If you have been injured on the job and want to learn your rights, please consider contacting the Nomberg Law Firm. Our office number is 205-930-6900.

 

[1] https://validity.ngo/2020/04/20/disability-rights-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-launch-of-the-covid-19-disability-rights-monitor/.

[2] https://www.adl.org/education/resources/backgrounders/disability-rights-movement.

[3] https://ability360.org/livability/advocacy-livability/history-disability-rights-ada/.

[4] https://www.nps.gov/articles/disabilityhistoryrightsmovement.htm.

[5] https://theconversation.com/the-americans-with-disabilities-act-at-30-a-cause-for-celebration-during-covid-19-143399.

[6] https://www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/discrimination-covid19.


Bernard D. Nomberg has been a lawyer for more than 20 years. Bernard has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating. In 2019, Bernard was named a Super Lawyer for the 7th year in a row.

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Steve Altmann has been assisting consumers and business owners with bankruptcy matters for more than 27 years. 

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