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101 Ways To Improve Your Cooperative

CHAPTER NINE: DEALING WITH CIVIL RIGHTS

       As previously noted, Cooperatives must deal with laws designed to protect the rights of individuals, whether they are members or applicants. In addition to laws such as the Fair Housing Act Amendments and sexual harassment, there are many others that need to be considered.

72. Accommodating handicapped persons is an important area of emerging law. Aside from the traditional physical handicaps, the law is now recognizing mental handicaps. This is wreaking havoc on Rules regulating pets, as an example. Now a member can trump the Rules by securing a doctor’s opinion that having a pet is a necessary treatment for a person’s mental condition. Obviously it is a valid requirement in some cases, but abuses abound. Care must be taken when confronted with such a situation, and legal advice must be obtained. The Cooperative Attorney will provide guidance and assist in verifying the proper manner to respond to such requests.

73. Other areas of concern deal with how far must the Cooperative go to accommodate physical handicaps, in terms of remodeling entranceways, providing parking, adding rails and special steps. All of these have the potential of turning into lawsuits, and so the Cooperative Attorney must be consulted. Specialized expertise is often needed here.

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