ADA ensures employment, transportation during pandemic

Essential workers are able to help the community because of the landmark legislation.
The Americans With Disabilities Act ensures essential workers like Phillis Schemidbauer can continue doing their jobs.
Published: Jul. 26, 2020 at 11:20 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Whether she’s going to work or coming home, Phillis Schmidbauer rides a TARTA bus.

“I’ve been riding TARTA buses since I was in high school,” Schmidbauer said.

It may seem like an average part of a workday. However, the bus rides are vital for Schmidbauer because she’s unable to drive.

“I have a developmental disability,” Schmidbauer said. “My right eye is lazy. I’m able to do everything everyone else does, but when I go places, I need people to take me. That’s the only disability I have. I don’t drive.”

Her rides to and from work are guaranteed by the Americans With Disabilities Act. Part of the legislation requires accessibility. No one was to be refused transportation because of a disability. That legislation, now known as the ADA, was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990, thirty years ago today.

Title II: Access to Public Transportation

• Regulates all transportation providers except airplanes– busses, shuttles, cabs, trains and light rail, government sponsored and private;

• No transportation provider can refuse to transport someone because of their disability.

• New transportation facilities must be accessible;

• Newly acquired fixed route busses and commuter rail cars must be accessible (purchased after Jan. 26, 1992);

• Exception to accessibility requirements for private taxis.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

“Our whole goal is to make those with disabilities more independent in the community,” says Mallory Crooks with The Ability Center of Greater Toledo. The group works to connect those in our area to transportation and jobs by partnering with businesses and organizations. It’s part of the core mission of the non-profit organization, which has supported people in our community for 100 years.

Because of the bus rides, Scchmidbauer can help our community.

“Specifically, public transportation is very important to people with disabilities like Phillis because it’s really a lifeline for her,” added Crooks. “She’s able to get to work because of public transportation. So, not only is that great for our economy right now because it’s keeping another person employed, but it’s also giving her that independence and sensibility, and obviously, she’s an essential worker right now. So, it’s great to be able to keep her employed and it’s just great for the community overall.”

Throughout the pandemic, Phillis Schmidbauer has continued her job at Kroger as an essential...
Phillis Schmidbauer is protected by the ADA with reasonable accommodations or modifications allowing her to perform the essential functions of a job.(Mallory Crooks | Ability Center of Greater Toledo)

Schmidbauer works at the Kroger at Monroe and Secor in Toledo. She has continued to work her job as a bagger throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Her job is also regulated by the ADA. It states, “Employers must grant employees reasonable accommodations/ modifications if they are able to perform the essential functions of a job with those accommodations/ modifications.”

For Schmidbauer, it’s not just about making a living, it’s about making an impact. The ADA ensures it’s possible for her and others to keep going, keep working, and keep providing essential services to our area.

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