The Washington Examiner: States have long had the right to require people who rely on their sight to wear blinds.
But the state of Washington, where nearly a quarter of the population lives with disabilities, has changed its rules, and now it’s time to take another step toward allowing blind people to wear a blindfold and stay home from work.
The Washington State Fair Commission voted on Tuesday to allow blind people with mobility impairments to wear their blindfolds and blindfangs up, after hearing testimony from advocates who said they are essential to keep them safe and out of trouble.
The change will go into effect Jan. 2.
The decision was prompted by a request from the state’s attorney general’s office for an update on its enforcement of the Blindness and Visual Disabilities Act, which requires people with visual impairments, including sighted individuals, to wear appropriate blindfiles and blind goggles at all times.
The attorney general asked for a change in state law in February, citing the need to ensure people are not subject to discrimination.
The commission’s decision on Tuesday was a response to the attorney general and the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for an amendment to the law that would require blind people and others with disabilities “to wear a valid blindfold or blindfang.”
The Washington state Fair Commission will hold a public hearing on the issue at its next meeting, which will be held at 3 p.m.
Feb. 28 in Seattle.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the attorney to the Fair Commission, Tom Pohlad, said the law requires blind people who use mobility aids to wear them.
He said it is essential to ensure safety for blind people while they work.
“We are asking for a rule that makes it clear that people who need to wear these devices must wear them and wear them properly, and this is the right thing to do,” he said.
Pohlad added that blind people must wear their fates to the workplace, in case of accidents or if there is a danger to the worker.
Many states require employers to provide the disabled with blind-friendly workplace accommodations, such as changing work locations or using technology that allows the blind to use a computer screen or computer monitor.
Last month, a federal judge ruled in favor of a transgender man who sued the Fair Commissions office that had barred him from using a restroom at a local business, the Bellevue, Washington, Businesses for Fairness.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which regulates workplace discrimination, ruled in favour of a trans woman, who sued her former employer over her gender identity.