In Part 1 of this article, we explored how businesses can remove organizational disability barriers. For the most part, this process involves making changes to policies, practices, and procedures. Here, we will consider how businesses should be preventing organizational barriers in the first place.
Preventing Organizational Barriers
Businesses can choose to remove barriers by changing their policies. They can explain, in their accessibility policies, that they will meet customers’ needs when other policies prevent access. However, this type of change still leaves a barrier in place. When customers with disabilities need to access service in ways non-disabled customers cannot, they must justify their needs to staff.
For instance, a customer must explain, every time they buy clothing, that they are exempt from no-refund policies. Similarly, job applicants must disclose their disabilities before they can apply in accessible ways. Likewise, clients needing alternate appointment formats must make extra arrangements with staff and justify their need. In contrast, non-disabled people can receive service without disclosure, a process that sometimes leads to discrimination. Therefore, people with disabilities should also receive service simply, without extra steps. Businesses can ensure equal service by preventing organizational barriers and creating broad policies that work for everyone.
Creating New Policies
Furthermore, when businesses are creating new policies, the staff designing them should consult with people who have disabilities. In this way, they can find out if they have designed barriers without meaning to. As a result, people will create fewer organizational barriers.
In addition, businesses will be preventing organizational barriers when they remove other types of barriers from their structures and services. Many organizational barriers happen as a result of other barriers. For instance, no-refund policies are often barriers because physical barriers prevent people from trying clothing on. Similarly, online-only job applications become barriers when information or technology barriers prevent applicants from using websites. Therefore, businesses should try to prevent or remove all disability barriers whenever they can.