- There are 61 million disabled adults in the United States — roughly 26% of the adult population.
- 55.8% of disabled people between the ages of 16-64 are currently in the workforce
We’re all in it together
When you think about it—everyone who lives long enough eventually becomes a part of the disabled community. That’s why RingCentral puts such an emphasis on accessibility—because it doesn’t just benefit the workforce of today, but the one we’ll build tomorrow. As the 31st anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) approaches, we are proud to be working towards increasing accessibility for everyone.
The way to the ADA
Before 1990, if a building didn’t have a ramp, a wheelchair-bound person wasn’t getting in.
If Braille wasn’t included on signage, a blind or low vision individual was out of luck.
These inequities aren’t new; the first American disability activist groups appeared in the 1800’s, and since then thousands of disabled Americans have lobbied, worked and protested for accessibility and equal rights. In 1973 the Rehabilitation Act was passed, legally classifying the exclusion and segregation of people with disabilities as discriminatory for the first time.
Soon after, Section 504 of this act was added, actively prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability. Concerned about costs and enforcement, the Nixon and Ford Administrations attempted to stall the regulations both by rewriting them and calling for further study. The final responsibility fell to President Carter’s head of the U.S. Health, Education and Welfare Department, Joseph Califano, who resisted signing for the same reasons – resulting in nationwide protests and sit-ins at HEW offices. The activists’ continuous pressure eventually got the act signed, paving the way for even greater reform.On May 9, 1989, Congressman Tony Coelho (D, CA) introduced the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to Congress. The ADA ensured that people with disabilities were given the same basic rights as everyone else. The act passed the House in May 1990 and was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26 of that year.
Looking inward, reaching out
At RingCentral, disabled employees and customers aren’t an afterthought. We design every product and process from the ground up to make sure everyone has access. Closed captioning helps the hard of hearing. Audio narration helps the visually disabled. When and wherever we discover a need, we approach it as an opportunity – how can we make our products and services accessible to a wider audience?
That thinking applies to our employees, as well. Wherever there’s an issue, we work to provide a resource. From workplace accommodation to counseling and leave, every employee matters.
Have we done enough? Probably not. Will we keep innovating? Definitely. Giving more people more access to resources within our company so more people can connect around the world? That’s literally the definition of #enablinghumanconnection.
Originally published Aug 09, 2021, updated Sep 23, 2021