The Price is Right...or is it?
Even TV game shows are required to be accessible to people with disabilities. Does this have any implications for employers?
Under a recent agreement with Freemantle Productions, Inc., and CBS Broadcasting Inc. (CBS), the Price Is Right television game show has to make sure that everyone can participate either as game show or audience participant. It seems that the wheelchair seating areas at the Bob Barker Studio were at the back of the audience seating area and that the lines of sight for the wheelchair seating were blocked by an elevated riser and by audience members standing in front of them. In addition, a very small number of individuals with observable disabilities have been selected as contestants on episodes of the Show that have aired since the ADA was enacted.
I mention this because many of the actions the producers must implement to ensure they are no longer discriminating against people with disabilities are the same ones that employers must comply with. For example:
1. You cannot use eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability or any class of individuals with disabilities. Do you have any policies or procedures that might unintentionally limit access by your employees to the employment benefits of your company?
2. You must make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures to afford access to individuals with disabilities that is equal to the access afforded to individuals without disabilities. Do you have any termination/leave policies that are prevent flexibility for employees that might need additional leave as a possible workplace support?
3. You must provide auxiliary aids and services when necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities. Do you consider providing video relay or large print if an employee requests an alternate form of communication to attend an employer-sponsored training?
4. You must remove barriers to access for individuals with disabilities. As a workplace support, do explore the need to widen a door so a person using a large wheelchair can get in/out of the workspace or providing accessible path of travel to that workspace?
The producers of the Show also have 60 days to submit the proposed text and visual content for their webpage to make sure everyone can apply to be a contestant or audience participant. Employers are reminded that company and employee information, such as HR benefits, training announcements, jobs available, emergency evacuation procedures, memos, etc., that rely on intranet and internet postings must be designed so that various types of “assistive technologies”, such as screen readers for people who are blind, can be accessed. Has your IT team done a web check lately?
This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.