In this Edition... A Resolution for Efficiency

As we near the end of another calendar year, it is often considered the time to make changes and to aspire to bigger and better things in the new year. This issue highlights ways to make processes more efficient in regard to addressing fair housing, building accessibility requirements, and how to make receiving labor news even easier!

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Build it Once, Build it Right

Train Your Self to Inspire Leadership!

Construction occurs year-round, even during the winter months. It’s important to make sure new buildings are up to code and are accessible to those with disabilities. Landlords and builders are responsible for reasonably accommodating all occupants, no matter their capabilities. The Missouri Human Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate against those who have disabilities in housing, employment, and places of public accommodation.

The most recent building codes set the parameters for accessibility requirements in homes and businesses. Any building that was ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, has an elevator, and four or more units are subject to the following requirements:

  • Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs.
  • All units must have:
    • An accessible route into and through the unit
    • Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls
    • Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars
    • Kitchens and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs.

If the building has four or more units and no elevator, these standards apply only to ground-floor units.

The Labor Department has an easy-to-use assessment for business owners or builders to evaluate the accessibility of their businesses for those with disabilities. The assessment covers a wide variety of issues from how many parking spaces and bathrooms are required to how wide doors and tables must be to accommodate various disabilities.

For more on housing accessibility requirements, check out the Fair Housing Act Design Manual and the ADA Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities.

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Breaking Down Barriers to Fair Housing

Train Your Family to Learn about Others!

Furthering fair housing can only occur when the state and local governments work together to identify barriers and develop solutions to ensure housing rights for all Missourians are protected.

On a state level, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) has for several years received federal grants from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to raise awareness on the issue of fair housing through its Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project. MCHR’s most recent campaign focused on helping those affected by the natural disasters. Reduced housing availability resulting from floods, tornados, or other natural disasters can lead to housing discrimination.

Counties and cities receiving funds from Community Development Block Grants are charged with conducting an Analysis of Impediments, a review of a given authority’s laws, as well as other local public and private conditions, and how they affect the location, availability, and accessibility of housing in a community. Any action, omission, or decision that controls housing choices based on the protected categories of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin are considered to be impediments. If barriers are found during the study, it becomes necessary to take appropriate actions to correct the situation.

For example, in Kansas City, the analysis showed that income levels of minority and female-headed households, concentration of low-income housing, and lack of knowledge among landlords, property managers, and residents were listed as serious potential barriers to fair housing. Real estate professionals also viewed poor credit histories of borrowers as a serious barrier to fair housing.

While some may think housing discrimination is an issue from the past, it is clear by this analysis that concerns are still present. In fact, more than eight percent of all discrimination complaints received by the MCHR are housing cases. Know your rights and know what others are doing to protect them. View a list of all cities that have acquired funding to better their communities:

If you want to learn more about state and federal fair housing laws, check out the Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project.

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Enhance Your News Experience

Train Your Staff... to Work Safely!

With the ever-evolving world of technology, news is available to you through a variety of media outlets. The Department is constantly thinking of new ways to effectively disseminate up-to-date workplace information to its audience.

To that end, the Department has started using GovDelivery, a Digital Communication Management System, which helps the Department develop and send mass e-mail communications to those who subscribe to receive information.

GovDelivery also features a page watch function, which triggers an automatic notification to you, the viewer, if information on the Labor website changes or is updated. The system can manage messaging for e-mail and social media outlets, so the Department can deliver information to its various audiences successfully.

Are you an employer? We can send you the latest employer information about changes in employment security taxes, the latest on workplace safety techniques, free office training, how to reduce your workers’ compensation rates, and how to reduce your labor costs without having to layoff valuable employees.

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