County Executive Laura Curran Signs Legislator Joshua Lafazan’s Human Rights Law Amendment to Ensure Reasonable Accommodations in Nassau Workplaces
(MINEOLA, N.Y.) - Today, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran signed into law an amendment to the county’s human rights law that will safeguard equal access to employment by ensuring reasonable accommodations can be utilized in Nassau County workplaces.
The amendment, which was introduced by Legislator Joshua Lafazan (Woodbury) in June and enacted in its final form by the full Nassau County Legislature on Sept. 23, enshrines into the law forms of reasonable workplace accommodations for individuals with hearing and vision impairments. These include, but are not limited to: eyeglasses, hearing aids, sign-language interpreters, Braille printers and screen-reading software.By removing barriers to entering the workforce, Legislator Lafazan’s bill empowers individuals to reach their potential, build meaningful careers and contribute to the growth of the local economy, County Executive Curran said.
“If we have people who are intelligent and talented and would be great at a job who now have the barrier removed and are able to do that job, that’s good for our families. It’s good for our communities, and frankly, it’s good for our bottom line. It will make sure that Nassau can reach its potential,” she said during the bill-signing ceremony.
Today’s action marks the latest in a series of enacted initiatives sponsored by Legislator Lafazan to better serving Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in the county. Last year, Legislator Lafazan introduced and secured passage of laws that require American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters to be present at all emergency-related news conferences in Nassau County and directs the Nassau County Police Department to produce and distribute cards that deaf and hard-of-hearing drivers can use to better communication with police officers and first responders.
“We must as a county remove barriers for individuals with disabilities who are seeking to enter the workforce. And if a reasonable accommodation is all that is standing in the between unemployment and employment, then we must get it right here in Nassau County,” Legislator Lafazan said. “I believe that we must continue to speak, in a loud and unified voice, to articulate that Long Island can be a place where everyone comes together, and nobody gets left behind. Together, we can continue to build a more inclusive Nassau County.”
During the ceremony, New York State Assembly Member Steve Stern (D – Dix Hills) announced he would bring advocacy for reasonable accommodation laws to the state level.“I am here to not only lend my support locally, but again to let everyone know this is a critically important issue we will be dealing with at a state level as well because all of our neighbors deserve every opportunity to reach their highest potential. When that happens, we are a better community,” he said.
Leaders of the Mill Neck Family of Organizations, an umbrella organization for agencies that provide educational, hearing health, employment and interpretive services for its Deaf and hard-of-hearing clients, applauded today’s action.
“To me, the most important thing is not only the economic benefit, but the benefit to the individuals that are going to be served by this bill,” Loretta Murray, Director of Mill Neck Services, said. “Those of us who have a disability will have equal access to gaining employment opportunities. In addition, it also benefits those individuals who now are working with a person with a disability.”