WAC 162-26-060     General principles.

     (1) Same service preferred. The purposes of the law against discrimination are best achieved when disabled persons are treated the same as if they were not disabled. The legislature expresses this policy in RCW 49.60.215 with the words "regardless of." Persons should, if possible, be treated without regard to their disability or use of a dog guide or service animal. This is called "same service" in this chapter.

     (2) Reasonable accommodation. In some circumstances, however, treating disabled persons the same as nondisabled persons (same service) will defeat the purposes of the law against discrimination. This would be true if persons in wheelchairs and nondisabled persons are equally entitled to use the stairway to reach the second floor of a store. In such circumstances, the operator of the place of public accommodation should if possible use the next best solution: Reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation would be to permit the shopper in the wheelchair to use an elevator to reach the second floor, even though the public in general is not permitted to use the elevator. Reasonable accommodation is explained in WAC 162-26-080.

     (3) Arranged service. Where same service will not carry out the purposes of the law and where no accommodation is reasonable, the operator of a place of public accommodation should use the third best solution: Arranged service. In the example used in this section, arranged service would be having a store employee bring merchandise of the size and description requested by the wheelchair shopper from the second floor for examination by the customer on the first floor. This would be appropriate if there were no elevator and no other safe and dignified way to transport the customer to the second floor. Arranged service is explained in WAC 162-26-090.

     (4) Overall objective. In applying RCW 49.60.215, the commission seeks to assure that disabled persons will have the enjoyment of places of public accommodation to the greatest extent practical. The legislature in RCW 49.60.040 has defined "full enjoyment of" with respect to the civil right set out in places of public accommodation in RCW 49.60.030 as follows:

     "'Full enjoyment of' includes the right to purchase any service, commodity, or article of personal property offered or sold on, or by, any establishment to the public, and the admission of any person to accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement, without acts directly or indirectly causing persons . . . with any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a disabled person, to be treated as not welcome, accepted, desired, or solicited."

[Statutory Authority: RCW 49.60.120(3) and 1997 c 271. 98-08-035, 162-26-060, filed 3/23/98, effective 4/23/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 49.60.120(3). 82-19-086 (Order 41), 162-26-060, filed 9/22/82.]