04 September 2009
The Armless Man, The Bank, and A Thumbprint...
Sometimes one has to wonder about bureaucracy or perhaps bureaucrazy-ness and the truly bizarre results that can eventuate through the literal interpretation of rules. A Bank of America branch in Tanpa, Florida, refused to cash a check being presented by an armless man because he would not provide a thumbprint.
Now, it is not rocket science in terms of being able to work out that a man with prosthetic arms and hands is not going to be able to provide a thumbprint. So, the teller refused to cash the check unless either he came in with his wife or he opened an account. Unfortunately, the wife was not anywhere near by and the man did not want to open an account. He did however show two forms of identification. This, though, was not enough as the clincher here was that he had to, according to the bureaucratic rules of the Bank, provide a thumbprint. Simply, no thumbprint, no cash.
Bank of America has since issued a statement noting that the policy is sound and that the thumprint requirement is only for those that do not have an account with the bank. However, they also added that in the circumstances the Tanpa branch should probably have made an exception for the armless man.
The question now being posed is whether the rights of the armless man have been violated under the provisions of the US Disability Act. In general the act has been enacted to ensure that people with disabilities are not discriminated against. In very simple terms, demanding a thumbprint from an armless man would seemingly be a breach of the armless man's rights.