News & Events

  • Talking to Managers about Disability: Communication Tools

    Online Training

    Most organizations have done the work to develop policies and practices that support disability inclusion in the workplace. Managers and supervisors play a key role in implementing these policies, and research has shown that one of the most important factors in how they do that is their belief that top management thinks disability inclusion is important.

    This presentation will review critical topics in communicating about disability and an organizations belief in including people with disabilities to managers.  We will also introduce the Communication Tools to Support Disability Inclusion toolkit which allows workplace leaders (HR, Diversity and Inclusion, Company Owners or Executives) to send out the right messages to the right people in the right way. Here is what we mean:

    • The right messages focus on the importance of disability inclusiveness to business success.
    • The right people are managers and supervisors. They set the tone for disability inclusiveness in their own teams and across the organization.
    • The right way is to use short burst messages that are simple, clear, relevant and engaging.
    Presented By: Wendy Strobel Gower

    06/05/2018

    11:00 AM


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    Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Free Webinar-Effective Communication in the Medical Setting

    Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018 1:00 PM EDT - 2:30 PM EDT
    Talking about medical issues can be difficult in any context. When a patient is speaking with their medical care provider, there are varieties of challenges, barriers, and misunderstandings that can get in the way. In this webinar, we will discuss effective communication in the medical setting from both the patient with a disability and the medical provider perspective. We will also address best practices for creating a positive and clear exchange. To register go to: http://register.yangtaninstitute.org/register/index.cfm?event=6656

    A Note About Technical Assistance:

    The Northeast ADA will be conducting a staff retreat on Thursday May 31 and Friday June 1. During these two days, responses to technical assistance questions will be very limited. Please be patient and know that the technical assistance team will respond as quickly as they are able. Normal operations will resume on Monday, June 4.

     

    What's New in Our Region:

    The Addams Tavern in NJ Reaches Agreement under the ADA

    The United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey has reached a settlement agreement with the Harvest Restaurant Group (HRG) after responding to a complaint that the Addams Tavern was inaccessible to individuals with mobility disabilities. The Addams Tavern is an existing facility originally constructed prior to the effective date of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and so is subject to the "readily achievable" barrier removal provisions of the ADA. Under consideration were inaccessible features, including bathrooms, bar counters and seating. In the agreement, HRG agrees that any future alterations to the premises will comply with the ADA. To read the full agreement go to: https://www.ada.gov/adams_tavern_sa.html

    For New Yorkers with Disabilities, Decision to Work Now Less Stressful

    New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently came to Buffalo to spread the word about a state program that can relieve the stress of a higher income on individuals with disabilities and their families. The program is called NY ABLE, which allows people with disabilities to save as much as $15,000 a year, without jeopardizing their benefits and an additional $12,000 if they work. Just as the college savings plans are designated 529 savings accounts, the savings plan through the NY ABLE program provides 529A accounts, although DiNapoli points out they do not have the same tax deductibility, "So you are able to really enrich your life, have more financial security without jeopardizing your federal benefits, and that is very, very important to people." To read the full article go to: http://www.wivb.com/news/local-news/nyers-with-disabilities-decision-to-work-now-less-stressful/1147582165

    Hammonton NJ Youth Gymnastics Program Settles ADA Complaint

    An investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office determined that the Hammonton youth gymnastics program was in violation of Title III of the ADA. The law requires businesses that serve the public, including gyms and other exercise and recreational programs; to make reasonable modifications to their policies when necessary to avoid discrimination because of disability. In the case, the parents alleged the business, Youth Fitness and Fun LLC, , refused to modify a program to allow a six-year-old girl with a feeding tube to participate in a program. Management at the gym determined that the medical needs were too severe to participate even though she was already active in multiple sports. To read more about this go to: http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/hammonton-youth-gymnastics-program-settles-ada-complaint/article_3bca3ed4-f820-5493-9c19-197caf57426e.html

     

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Are The Nation's Schools Following the ADA?

    Members of Congress are asking for a federal investigation into whether schools across the country are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Citing a 2015 report from the US Attorney of the southern district of NY, US Reps. Jose E Serrano D-NY and colleagues contend "localities continue to undermine the law by limiting the number of schools students with disabilities can physically access through negligence and lackluster enforcement of the ADA." The congressmen are asking that the Government Accountability Office issue a report including an estimate of how many k-12 schools are ADA compliant and assess whether states and school districts have appropriate data on the issue. To read more about this go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2018/05/01/are-nations-schools-following-ada/25035/

    Microsoft Launches $25M Program to Use Artificial Intelligence for Disabilities

    CEO Satya Nadella announced the new "AI for Accessibility" effort as he kicked off Microsoft's annual conference for software developers. It comes as Microsoft faces off with Amazon and Google to offer internet-connected services to businesses and organizations. The five-year accessibility initiative will include seed grants for startups, nonprofit organizations and academic researchers, as well as deeper investments and expertise from Microsoft researchers. Microsoft's accessibility fund builds on the model of the company's AI for Earth initiative, which launched last year to jumpstart projects combating climate change and other environmental problems. To read more about this go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/newswires/news/business/microsoft-launches-25m-program-ai-disabilities-article-1.3975201

    Macy's To Pay $75,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

    Macy's will pay a former long-term employee $75,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the asthmatic employee worked for Macy's for nearly eight years, but she was fired after a one-day absence due to needing immediate medical attention for her asthma. Macy's policy permits absences for disability-related reasons. However, in this case, Macy's denied the employee's request to excuse the absence, even though she had to be seen in a hospital emergency room, and fired her three weeks later. Greg Gochanour, the regional attorney of EEOC's Chicago District Office, said, "Macy's response to the employee's absence was not reasonable. The employee found herself in a potentially life threatening circumstance and phoned Macy's to explain her absence before going to the hospital. The following day, she provided Macy's documentation from the hospital showing she was treated for asthma. Rather than accommodate the employee, Macy's fired her." To read the full article go to: https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/macy-s-to-pay-75-000-to-settle-eeoc-45950/

    Hertz to Pay $45,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

    According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Hertz actively recruited Norman "Dan" Newton for a sales position in its car sales division in Denver after spotting his resume online. Newton agreed to meet with the local sales manager for an interview. At the interview, according to the EEOC, the Hertz manager expressed reservations about Newton's mobility because he used a cane. The manager later informed Newton that despite his competitive qualifications, which included over ten years of car sales experience, Hertz hired two other people. Both of those individuals possessed significantly less car sales experience than Newton, and one of them had never previously sold cars. The two-year consent decree resolving the case requires Hertz to pay $45,000 to Newton and provide him with an apology. In addition, the decree requires Hertz to adopt and maintain policies and practices that will provide its employees a workplace free of disability discrimination in the future and that will encourage employees to report discriminatory conduct. To read the full article go to: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/hertz-to-pay-45000-to-settle-eeoc-disability-discrimination-lawsuit


    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar-Accessible Airport Terminals

    Thursday, June 7th, 2018 2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT
    This session will review solutions to common access issues in airports and will focus on areas of special concern such as accessible passenger loading zones, self-service ticketing kiosks, security checkpoints, boarding bridges and devices, signage, sales and service counters, communication systems, and service animal relief areas. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110663

    Ask the Department of Justice (DOJ): Open Question and Answer Session

    Tuesday, June 12th, 2018 2:00 PM EDT - 3:30 PM EDT
    Do you have a burning question regarding the non-discrimination in programs and services provisions of the ADA? Is there a policy or procedural issue that you are confused about? Do you have questions about service animals vs emotional support animals under the ADA? Are you clear about what constitutes undue hardship under the ADA? What are the guidelines regarding the provision of VRI versus Sign Language Interpreters during medical or professional services appointments? Join us for this popular session where you will have an opportunity to ask your question. We will be accepting questions in advance of the session. The first 25 questions submitted will be given priority and then we will take questions "live" during the session as well. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ADA-Audio/session/?id=110673

    Special Spotlight:

    A Hidden Market: The Purchasing Power of People With Disabilities

    A New report by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), quantifies the purchasing power of working-age adults with disabilities. In the United States 1 in 5 adults, or 64 million people have a disability. Of those 22 million are of prime working age. The report from AIR finds that inclusive hiring practices and involving people with disabilities in product development and advertisement can help businesses access a market worth billions of dollars. While some industries, such as technology and fashion, have begun marketing to and developing products for people with disabilities, the potential of these consumers has not been fully realized. Hiring and retaining people with disabilities and involving them in the development and production of products and services will be an important strategy for accessing this market. Several companies, including Starbucks, Northrop Grumman, AT&T, and Ernst & Young, have increased their inclusive hiring practices, recognizing that hiring people with disabilities can improve the bottom line and increase customer loyalty. To read more about this go to: https://www.air.org/news/press-release/meeting-needs-adults-disabilities-marketplace



  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Free Webinar-Effective Communication in the Medical Setting

    Presented by Joe Zesski
    May 23rd 2018 at 1:00pm ET

    Talking about medical issues can be difficult in any context. When a patient is speaking with their medical care provider, a variety of challenges, barriers and misunderstandings could get in the way. In this webinar, we will discuss effective communication in the medical setting from both the patient with a disability and the medical provider perspective. We will also discuss best practices for creating a positive and clear exchange. To register go to: http://register.yangtaninstitute.org/register/index.cfm?event=6656

    Attention Albany Region CDTA Riders!

    The Yang Tan Institute on Disability and Employment (YTI) at Cornell University, with support from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) has established the Transit Research & Accessibility Center (TRAC). TRAC includes an online training program to educate stakeholders about accessibility and usability requirements of public fixed route buses, and equip individuals to evaluate the accessibility and usability of bus trips using the TRACbus app on their smartphone. Data collected through TRAC will help to facilitate meaningful conversations between riders and the transit authority to determine where riders with disabilities experience difficulties and successes using the Capital District Transit Authority (CDTA) bus system.

    How Can You Help?

    We are looking for people with and without disabilities to be TRAC evaluators. Evaluators will:

    (1) Complete a short online training to learn about fixed route bus accessibility and how to use the TRACbus smartphone app,

    (2) Take an assigned Albany region bus trip with another evaluator

    (3) Use the app to rate their trip


    Online training begins late summer, 2018 and evaluations will begin fall, 2018. All evaluators must complete the online training prior to evaluating an assigned CDTA bus trip. Interested? - Please contact Jennifer Perry at jlp359@cornell.edu or 732.449.3621 and visit our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/The-Transit-Research-Accessibility-Center-TRAC-336551203511447/

    What's New in Our Region:

    Need Assistive Technology? The National Disability Institute Can Help!

    Did you know the National Disability Institute (NDI) provides affordable loans to help people with disabilities purchase assistive technology to meet their needs? If you are a resident of seven downstate counties in New York or all of New Jersey, you may qualify! Assistive Technology includes products such as computer equipment, hearing aids, modified vehicles, scooters and wheelchairs, smart home technology and more. To learn more, contact Laurie Schaller at lschaller@ndi-inc.org or by phone at 202-449-9521. Visit NDI's website at https://www.realeconomicimpact.org/asset-development/assistive-technology-loan-program

    MTA and NYCTA Sued over Accessibility Issues at Bronx Subway Station

    The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, has filed a lawsuit against the MTA and the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) because the agencies failed to make a subway station in the Bronx accessible to people with disabilities. U. S. Attorney Berman says the MTA violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not properly accommodating people with disabilities at the Middletown Road subway station on the 6 line. The station recently underwent a more than $27 million renovation, but the complaint says none of that money went towards an elevator. As a result, individuals with mobility disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, are unable to access the station, the lawsuit said. To view the full article go to: http://abc7ny.com/traffic/mta-and-nycta-sued-over-disabled-access-at-bronx-subway-station/3212310/

    Why Is It Getting Harder To Find Accessible Parking In NJ?

    With the graying of America, there has been an increased need for accessible parking spaces, said Mary Ciccone, an attorney with the advocacy group Disability Rights New Jersey. The number of accessible parking placards in circulation in New Jersey has increased by 2.3 percent since January 2017, from 403,368 to 412,738, according to state figures. With people with disabilities already wasting countless hours searching for parking, experts say the situation is likely to get worse as disabilities increase in the general population and baby boomers move into their senior years. Meanwhile, government agencies are slow to react to the changing needs, and parking laws are not fully enforced. As accessible parking shortages grow, it may be time for expanded ADA standards to be adopted to more effectively meet these needs. To read more about this go to: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2018/03/26/why-getting-harder-find-handicapped-parking-nj/301156002/

    Six Simple Tips for Smooth Travel with a Disability

    As the summer travel season begins to wind up, the anxiety and worry that goes along with hectic plane connections and overbooked hotels can add to the frustration of a trip that is meant to allow you to relax and forget about the real world for a while. Travel can be a challenge for anyone, but for people with disabilities it can bring about its own unique sets of challenges. Shivani Vora of the New York Times says that traveling with a visible or invisible disability does not have to be difficult. A few simple tips can go a long way. To read more about this go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/travel/disability-travel-tips.html

    New York State to Change Way Services for People with Disabilities are Coordinated

    Families with children with disabilities and adults have some decisions to make in the coming weeks. New York State is replacing the Medicaid Service Coordination Program that has served the OPWDD population for decades, with one called Health Home Care Management. The intent of this replacement program is to create more comprehensive care that includes things like health care and mental health supports. Before the program goes into effect July 1, 2018, a family must choose whether to sign on with one of the six comprehensive agencies, or go with a more basic plan. To read more about this go to: https://wskg.org/news/nys-to-change-way-services-for-the-disabled-are-coordinated/ 

     

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Google Introduces Wheelchair Accessible Navigation for Maps

    Google has recently introduced a wheelchair-friendly navigation feature on its maps application that will provide optimal transit routes "to make getting around easier for those with mobility needs." The search giant announced that its widely used digital map program would now provide users with wheelchair accessible routes that list train and bus services that are the most accommodating for travelers or commuters using wheelchairs. To read more about this go to: http://thehill.com/policy/technology/378591-google-introduces-wheelchair-accessible-navigation-for-maps

    March 2018 Jobs Report: Americans with Disabilities Reach Two Year Milestone

    Americans with disabilities reached a milestone in March, as the major economic indicators showed increases for the 24th consecutive month, according to the March National Trends in Disability Employment - Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by the Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). The strengthening economy underscores the value of diversity in the workplace. As hiring increases, preparing for the workplace is more important than ever for people with disabilities. Jobseekers with skills and experience gain employment more readily. The labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities increased from 32.3 percent in March 2017 to 34.8 percent in March 2018 (up 2.5 percent), while for working-age people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate increased slightly from 76.6 percent in March 2017 to 76.7 percent in March 2018 (up 0.1 percent; 0.1 percentage points). The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the population that is working or actively looking for work. To read more about this go to: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/kf-nm2040618.php

    Georgia Company Settles Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

    Georgia-based Capstone Logistics LLC will pay $50,000 and provide significant equitable relief as settlement for a federal disability and discrimination lawsuit filed by the US. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A deaf man applied for a position at the manufacturing and distribution company's Jessup, Md. warehouse. When the man came for an interview with the site manager, the meeting was canceled as the site manager said they would reschedule so that human resources and an interpreter could be present. The interview was then never rescheduled. According to the suit, the deaf man later received a text message from the site manager saying, "We have determined that there is no job that we can offer that would be safe for you." The EEOC charges that Capstone never asked the applicant about his ability to perform any essential functions of a warehouse position, with or without reasonable accommodation, which would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. To read more about this go to: https://www.abc2news.com/news/region/baltimore-city/georgia-company-settles-disability-discrimination-lawsuit

     

    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar-Recreation Snapshot Series

    Join us for three 30-minute sessions presented by U.S. Access Board Accessibility Specialist, Bill Botten.
    Let's Jump In: Swimming Pools and Spas

    Tuesday, April 24, 2018
    2:00 - 2:30 PM Eastern

    This is the first in a series of three recreational facility webinars. Bill Botten from the U.S. Access Board will provide a thirty-minute overview of the minimum scoping and technical requirements for newly constructed and altered swimming pools required to comply with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
    For more information and to register visit: http://www.adainfo.org/training/Swimming-Pools-Spas

    Save the Dates!
    Play Areas
    Tuesday, May 29, 2018
    2:00 - 2:30 PM Eastern

    Sports Facilities
    Tuesday, June 26, 2018
    2:00 - 2:30 PM Eastern

    Free Webinar-Recreation Facilities - A Refresher

    Thursday, May 03, 2018, 02:30pm - 04:00pm ET, Presenter: Bill Botten
    This session will provide a refresher on the requirements common to both the ADA and ABA for recreation facilities. The presenter will provide an overview of the criteria for accessible recreation facilities, including play areas, swimming pools, sports facilities, fishing piers, boating facilities, golf courses, and amusement rides.

    Registration: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110659

    2018 National ADA Symposium

    June 17-20, 2018 Pittsburgh, PA Wyndham Grand Hotel
    The National ADA Symposium is an annual conference on the Americans with Disabilities Act. This four day event is made up of pre-conference session options, keynote, break-out sessions, advanced discussion groups, exhibits, and hands-on learning activities. For more information and to register go to: http://www.cvent.com/events/2018-national-ada-symposium/event-summary-97515cba9a4941cc971ab0bd741539ec.aspx

    Special Spotlight:

    April is National Autism Awareness Month- Information from the Autism Society and Resources for Stakeholders

    "Nearly a quarter century ago, the Autism Society launched a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with ASD is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life. This year the Autism Society wants to go beyond simply promoting autism awareness to encouraging friends and collaborators to become partners in movement toward acceptance and appreciation. Let us embrace a new perspective. For over 50 years, we have worked in communities (both large and small) to ensure our actions, through our services and programming supported all individuals living with autism. Let us expand this work to focus on the rest of us - ensuring acceptance and inclusion in schools and communities that result in true appreciation of the unique aspects of all people. We want to get one-step closer to a society where those with ASDs are truly valued for their unique talents and gifts. Join us in celebration for 2018 National Autism Awareness Month! National Autism Awareness Month represents an excellent opportunity to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year." To learn more go to: http://www.autism-society.org/get-involved/national-autism-awareness-month/

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    ILR Researchers Demystify Disability Stats

    Researchers at the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability released the Disability Statistics Status Report Jan. 30, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2016 American Community Survey. The report showed 319 million noninstitutionalized people in the U.S. population, 41 million of whom are people with disabilities. Sarah von Schrader, associate director of research at the Yang-Tan Institute, said: "Documenting current statistics can be challenging. These status reports, our webinars and website were designed to interpret information, to improve the understanding of current situations for individuals with disabilities and to support effective planning." To read more about this go to: http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2018/02/ilr-researchers-demystify-disability-stats

    Northeast ADA Center to present at the American Society for Aging Conference

    "Know Your Rights! Older People and the ADA" at the American Society for Aging's Annual Conference in San Francisco on Monday, 3/26/18. As many older people are unaware of their rights under the ADA, this presentation offers a crash course on some of the hot topics concerning the ADA and older adults.

     

    What's New in Our Region:

    Disability Rights Activists Rally against Inaccessible Subway System at Manhattan Supreme Court

    In a show of support, activists, most of whom use wheelchairs for mobility, gathered in advance of the first court hearing for their lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City, claiming that many subway stations are inaccessible. According to the MTA, only 110 out of the city's 472 subway stations have elevators. In addition, while the MTA nearly met its goal of keeping 96.5% of elevators running in 2017, there were still 3,529 outages that year - and 2,442 of these were unscheduled, the agency said. Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York, told the Daily News that subway accessibility is "one of the top two barriers to employment for people with disabilities." To see the full article go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/manhattan/activists-rally-accessible-subways-court-article-1.3857022

    Sparta NJ Special Services, Presents Disability Awareness Assembly to Board of Education

    Sparta High School students joined members of the district's Special Services department to hold a Disability Awareness assembly at the Helen Morgan School. Danielle Hamblin, director of special services, spoke about the initiative at the February board of education meeting. Hamblin said 18 student "role models" gave their time to the Helen Morgan students. "This speaks volumes about the students in the high school," Hamblin said. The high school students received "about 10 minutes of training that morning," before manning tables for the fourth grade Helen Morgan students participating in the assembly. The program followed up on the activities of the fall based on the book Wonder at the fourth and fifth grade school. Hamblin said, "This assembly was a hands-on opportunity for students to take part in various simulations designed to raise awareness about all types of disabilities." To read the full article go to: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/sparta/articles/spartas-special-services-presents-disability-awa

    Sign Language to Be Taught at Public Schools in Puerto Rico

    The Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello Nevares, signed Senate Bill 606 into a law. The bill establishes the inclusion of a sign language course in every school, at all levels of the Department of Education. This legislative measure authored by Juan Dalmau Ramirez (Puerto Rican Independent Party), also promotes the inclusion of similar courses in private schools' curriculums. Senator Dalmau Ramirez said that "this measure, product of an extensive dialogue with sectors of the deaf community, is a fair and dignified step in the process of vindicating a historically marginalized community. There is still a long road ahead, but this is an indispensable step in the right direction." The Senator also added that "the bill aims to stop prejudice and adopt a culture of inclusion as part of the school curriculum. I want to thank the Governor for being willing to talk about this measure, and for his support in signing it into law." The Governor said that: "this measure, sponsored by our colleague Dalmau Rodriguez, is of vital importance to promote a more fair and sensitive society." "I want to thank Senator Dalmau Ramirez for working on this measure and achieving the approval of such a praiseworthy public policy which benefits our children and society in general," the Governor concluded. You can find more information about the bill, in Spanish, in the following link: www.periodicolaperla.com/gobernador-convierte-ley-medida-incluir-cursos-lenguaje-senas-escuelas-publicas/

    Bill Introduced for a New Special Education Act in Puerto Rico

    Bill 1484 of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico introduces the new Act for the Education of Children with Disabilities at a local level. This measure was introduced by Representative Rafael (June) Rivera, President of the Committee on Special Education and Persons with Disabilities. He said that the objective of this bill is to guarantee the services for children with special needs. The measure creates the position for an Associate Special Education Secretary, who is to be named by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, to try and achieve educational and fiscal autonomy. In addition, it creates the role of a "Children with Disabilities Advocate." On the other hand, in the search of promoting an impartial process, the Governor will name administrative judges. The secretary of the Department of Education of Puerto Rico, Julia Keleher, highlighted the fact that the project is aligned with what is being sought with the new education reform that is simultaneously being proposed. Keleher assured that the measure "will improve the services in an incredible way." You can read more information in Spanish here:
    www.metro.pr/pr/noticias/2018/03/08/presentan-medida-creara-ley-educacion-ninos-discapacidades.html.

    Free Professional Training for Employers in Puerto Rico

    The State Rehabilitation Council of Puerto Rico will provide free training for employers and human resources officers titled: "Work Inclusion: A Good Deal!" This will take place on April 5, 2018; from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, in the Assembly Hall at the Universidad del Este in Carolina. Important legal aspects, technology as a tool, as well as the benefits, and best practices for work inclusion of people with disabilities are among the issues to be discussed at the event. Snacks will be provided throughout the activity, and there will be parking at a low cost. To register or to get more information, please call 787-366-8014 or email ricardo.moichic@gmail.com.

    DOJ Reaches Settlement with WeHo's Atlantis Events

    The U.S. Justice Department reached a settlement on 2/20/18 with Atlantis Events Inc., a cruise and resort vacation company with offices in West Hollywood, to ensure that customers who are deaf or hard of hearing are provided effective communication when traveling with the company. The settlement agreement resolves complaints under the Americans with Disabilities Act in which individuals who are deaf alleged that Atlantis failed to provide them with effective communication on a cruise. Under the agreement with the Justice Department, Atlantis will ensure that interpreters, transcription services, written exchanges, assistive listening devices, captioning or other auxiliary aids and services are provided to individuals with hearing disabilities free of charge when necessary for effective communication. To read the full article go to: https://www.wehoville.com/2018/02/20/doj-reaches-settlement-wehos-atlantis-events/


    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Court Dismisses ADA Suit Filed by Fired Employee Taking Opioids

    A federal district court has dismissed an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit filed by an employee who was terminated after his employer learned he was taking both prescription morphine and nonprescription opioids. Robert Sloan worked for Tipp City, Ohio-based Repacorp Inc., which manufactures labels with the use of heavy machinery, from March 2007 to February 2014, according to the Feb. 27 ruling by the U.S. District Court in Dayton, Ohio, in Robert Sloan v. Repacorp., Inc. He spent about 10%-20% of his time working with heavy machinery, which was indisputably very dangerous, according to the ruling. The Case highlights the need to remain engaged in the interactive process when requesting accommodations under the ADA. To read the full article go to: http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20180305/NEWS06/912319622/Court-dismisses-Americans-with-Disabilities-Act-suit-filed-by-fired-Repacorp-Inc

    United Airlines to Train Employees on Intellectual Disabilities

    With a goal of making air travel a better experience for travelers with intellectual disabilities, United Airlines has announced that it will implement a new training for more than 60,000 of its frontline employees. Beyond employee training, United said it is exploring ways to hire people with intellectual disabilities as part of its efforts to build an inclusive workforce. To read more about this go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2018/03/09/united-train-disabilities/24832/

    Court Limits ADA's ‘Regarded As' Protections to Current Disabilities

    The Americans with Disabilities Act's (ADA) "regarded as" protections do not extend to cases where an employee is presently healthy but has the potential to become disabled in the future, a Florida federal court ruled in rejecting a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). While working as a massage therapist, Kimberly Lowe requested time off to go visit family in Ghana. Initially the time was approved but three days before her trip she was fired due to the owner fearing she would be infected with Ebola and infect others on her return. The EEOC filed suit in Florida federal court alleging the employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by firing Lowe with claims under both "regarded as" disability and association discrimination. In its decision the court declines to expand the ‘regarded as' disabled definition in the ADA to cover cases, such as this one, in which an employer perceives an employee to be presently healthy with only the potential to become disabled in the future due to voluntary conduct." To read the full article go to: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=028f5715-6ea1-46c2-baf6-92bd7863ff0a

    Monterey Airbus Settles with U.S. Department of Justice over Disability Access.

    Following an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Monterey Airbus has agreed to up its game when it comes to serving riders with disabilities. The airport shuttle service violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by discriminating against customers with disabilities, Acting United States Attorney Alex G. Tse for the Northern District of California said in a statement on March 2, 2018. Until 2017, the company didn't provide services for customers who use wheelchairs, and during the decade of 2005-15, bought five new 13-passenger vehicles and five new 24-passenger vehicles-none of which were usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, according to the DOJ. Because of the DOJ's investigation, Monterey Airbus has agreed to use vehicles that accommodate passengers with disabilities, and conduct ADA training for its staff. To read the full article go to: http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/blogs/news_blog/monterey-airbus-settles-with-u-s-department-of-justice-over/article_2f5baac2-1eaf-11e8-8876-4f4386e285c6.html

     

    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar-Accessibility of electronic content: How to apply the Revised Section 508 Standards within a Federal Agency; What Resources are Available?

    Tuesday, March 27, 2018
    1:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

    Our presenter, Deborah Kaplan, 508 Policy Lead at the Office of the CIO, Department of Health and Human Services will share examples of policies and programs her agency has put in place to address the accessibility of electronic content. She will also familiarize the audience with the new resources in the Revised 508 Standards Refresh Toolkit for building organizational support for accessible electronic content and describe resources for content authors. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/cioc-508/session/?id=110666

    Free Webinar-Accessible Shared Streets: Notable Practices and Considerations for Accommodating Pedestrians with Vision

    Thursday, April 5, 2018
    2:30 PM Eastern Time Zone

    The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has released a report that provides an overview of practices and considerations for accommodating pedestrians with vision disabilities on shared streets, which are streets in which pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles intentionally mix together. This session will describe the specific challenges pedestrians with vision disabilities face when navigating shared streets and the strategies they employ, and discusses ideas on how accessibility for pedestrians with vision disabilities can be addressed in the planning and design process. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110658

     

    Special Spotlight:

    March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

    The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) have come together again to plan a campaign for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 2018! The goal for this month is to create awareness about developmental disabilities, teach the importance of inclusion within every aspect of life, and to share the stories of individuals with a disability to show that a successful life is possible! To find resources for you to help plan activities to celebrate this month go to: https://nacdd.org/ddam/

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Free Webinar! "Is That a Service Animal: What Rights Apply Where?" Is Now Available in Our Archives!

    Our January 24, 2018 presentation on service animals, presented by Joe Zesski, is now available in our archives for those who missed it or want an additional review. It can be accessed by going to: http://www.northeastada.org/media/play/0_91gi1m9f


    Free Webinar- "Access for All: The ADA and Older People"

    March 21, 2018 1:00 EST-2:00 EST
    The ADA has done much to improve the quality of life for millions of people -including older people - with disabilities. This webinar will educate participants about how the ADA applies to and affects older adults. We'll discuss areas such as effective communication techniques when serving people with hearing disabilities and ensuring that programs and services are accessible to older people. To register go to:  http://register.yangtaninstitute.org/register/index.cfm?event=6615

     

    Cornell launches new disability awareness campaign

    Using campus wide postering and social media, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator Team is launching a new campaign, #DiversityIncludesDisability, to build awareness of disability issues and support for an inclusive and accessible environment for individuals with disability. Each month, a student, staff or faculty member will be highlighted - along with a disability-related topic - on Cornell's accessibility website and through Facebook. These profiles will complement and draw attention to the information already compiled online on disability and diversity at Cornell. To read more about this initiative go to: http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2018/02/cornell-launches-new-disability-awareness-campaign


    What's New in Our Region:

    JCC of Central NJ hosts a free special needs symposium on Feb. 25, 2018

    In honor of Jewish Disability Inclusion and Awareness Month, the JCC of Central NJ in Scotch Plains is hosting a free Special Needs Symposium on Sunday, February 25th, from 2-5 p.m. The keynote speaker is Pamela Schuller, stand-up comedian. As a teen, Schuller was diagnosed with a severe case of Tourette Syndrome. Now an internationally known disability and mental health advocate, Pamela's stories of growing up in a body she had no control over are engaging, powerful, a little bit heart wrenching, and unapologetically funny. Along with the keynote speaker, there will be breakout sessions in Occupational Therapy, Social Work, Education Consultancy, Transition Programs, Special Needs Wills and Trusts and Advocacy led by highly experienced local Special Needs professionals. To read more about this go to: http://www.nj.com/suburbannews/index.ssf/2018/02/jcc_of_central_nj_hosts_a_free.html

     

    How Design for One Turns Into Design for All

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of five adults in the United States has some disability. That is a demographic and economic motivator for many in the design industry. We also know that when people feel better about themselves, medical outcomes improve. "The utility of the most functional object in the world will go to waste if potential users don't connect with it and can't see themselves using it," said Donald Strum, a principal for product and graphic design at Michael Graves Architecture and Design. Graves's firm has rethought, among many medical devices, walking sticks, so they work better and use interchangeable handles, colors and tips, which let customers personalize them. More companies are catching on to a growing need where style meets function for the disability community. To read the full article go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/24/arts/design/cooper-hewitt-access-ability.html 

     

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Settlement Reached Over Cumberland County's Access to Polling Locations

    The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on Monday announced a settlement with Cumberland County over its access to polling places. According to the attorney's office, it and an architect from the U.S. Department of Justice surveyed 52 of Cumberland County's 118 polling place locations on the primary election on April 26, 2016. The survey discovered that many of the county's polling places contained barriers for people with disabilities. Title II of the American with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disability by state or local government in any of its programs or services, including its voting program, according to the office. To read more about this go to: http://cumberlink.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/settlement-reached-over-cumberland-county-s-access-to-polling-locations/article_0cb627de-babf-532e-9d1a-1c8e9c1b0e31.html


    Animals on Planes a Challenge for Airlines, Passengers

    When Marlin Jackson arrived at his row on a Delta flight from Atlanta to San Diego in June, a man with a sizable dog on his lap already occupied the middle seat. Jackson squeezed by them to his window seat, and the Labrador mix lunged at his face. The attack lasted about 30 seconds, according to Jackson's attorney, and left him with facial wounds that required 28 stitches and scars that are still visible today.

    The incident, which Delta said was inflicted by a canine identified as an "emotional support" animal, was among the thousands of incidents that pushed the nation's largest airline to tighten rules for passengers flying with service or comfort animals

    Though the Americans with Disabilities Act defines service animals as trained dogs or miniature horses, airlines are bound by the more liberal Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, which allows free travel for "any animal" that is trained to assist a person with a disability or that provides emotional support. Airlines can require passengers with creatures in the second category to produce a letter from a physician or mental-health professional, but the documents are easily forged or obtained from websites that provide cursory, questionnaire-style "exams." The result, airline officials complain, has been a surge in poorly trained animals that has turned some flights into airborne menageries, with dogs blocking beverage carts, cats urinating on seats and ducks wandering the aisles.

    Airlines have pushed for new federal rules to reduce fraud, and the transportation agency plans to begin taking comments on proposed regulations in July. To read more about this go to: http://www.timestelegram.com/news/20180203/animals-on-planes-challenge-for-airlines-passengers


    Largest Bar Exam Prep Class Provider Agrees to Settlement over Allegations of Discrimination Against Students Who are Blind

    Law students who are blind and enrolled in a bar exam class offered by BarBri, Inc - host of the country's largest bar prep course - settled their claims this week alleging the company denied them fair and equal access to critical components of BarBri's test prep offerings, including its mobile application, website and course materials. Despite multiple attempts by the students to alert management to these concerns, the lawsuit alleged the company's actions not only prevented blind students from fully enjoying the resources to which they were contractually entitled, but also undermined their ability to effectively prepare for the bar exam. BarBri agreed as part of a court-enforced consent decree to update its online products using industry-recognized web accessibility guidelines, and to strengthen internal processes, training and staff resources for ensuring compliance with these standards. To read more about this go to: http://www.washlaw.org/news/685-largest-bar-exam-prep-class-provider-agrees-

     

    NBC Olympics to Present 94 Hours of Paralympic Television Coverage

    NBC Olympics' coverage will include all six Paralympic winter sports - alpine skiing, snowboarding, sled hockey, wheelchair curling, cross-country skiing, and biathlon - spread across ten days. The 250 hours of coverage includes 94 hours on television, which is NBC Olympics' most ever for a Paralympic Winter Games, nearly doubling Sochi 2014 (50 hours). 156 hours of streaming coverage will be available via NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs. The 2018 Paralympic Winter Games will take place March 9-18, 2018, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with nearly 700 of the world's finest Paralympic winter athletes competing for glory in 80 events across six different sports on snow and ice. Team USA will compete in each of the sports contested in Pyeongchang with an estimated team of 70+ athletes. Read more at: https://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Features/2018/January/29/NBC-Olympics-to-present-94-hours-of-Paralympic-television-coverage


    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar- The History of Disabilities - Part 4: Civil Rights to Disability Rights

    Thursday, February 22nd, 2018
    1:00 PM EST - 2:30 PM EST

    The quest for social equality for people who have disabilities is a story that begins in the earliest years of the American experience. Marked by both great achievement, as well as some of the darkest policies imaginable, the struggle to remove physical, institutional, and attitudinal barriers faced by people who have disabilities is a dynamic story of disappointment and perseverance that continues to today. This webinar series provides an educational framework for students, social service professionals, family members, and most of all, people who experience disability. We will explore the roots of the disability rights movement and the historical turning points that shape contemporary policy. Dr. Logue's conversational style and deep subject matter knowledge make for an intriguing and thought-provoking webinar experience. Join author and educator Dr. Larry Logue as he tells the story of the disability rights movement in a four-part webinar series, "History of Disability Rights". Dr. Logue takes us on a fascinating journey; exploring the policies, legislation, movements, and personalities that have left their mark on this civil rights movement. To register go to: http://www.adasoutheast.org/webinars/2018/history-disabilities-webinar-series.php


    Special Spotlight:

    April will mark the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act (FHA)

    With the goal of eliminating housing discrimination and residential segregation of all kinds, the bill is a critical tool for those with disabilities. In celebration of this important milestone, the National Fair Housing Alliance is organizing events across the country and launching a celebratory campaign called "#FHAct50."
    To learn more about the FHA and to celebrate its anniversary visit: http://fhact50.org/

     


  • Update from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Free Webinar! "Is That a Service Animal: What Rights Apply Where?"

    January 24, 2018
    1:00pm to 2:00pm

    One of the most popular topics that the Northeast ADA is asked about is service animals. It can be confusing for individuals with disabilities, businesses, transit providers, and landlords to know what rights a person with a disability has under which law, in which places, and what's required. This webinar will discuss what is a service animal, an assistance animal, and where these animals can or cannot go. To register, go to: http://www.yti.cornell.edu/events/6557


    What's New in Our Region:

    New York Passes Law Against Service Animal Fraud, Joining Other States

    New York recently joined an increasing number of states that have passed laws aimed at curbing abuse of laws and regulations designed to ensure that individuals with disabilities can be accompanied by their service animals in places of public accommodation and other settings. According to the Department of Justice, service animal registrations, vests, and any other means, which identify service animals, do not have any legal significance and therefore it is important for places of public accommodation to be aware of and train their employees to comply with service animal requirements of the ADA, as well as any applicable state and local laws. Authority to enforce the new law is vested with each municipality's dog control officer. Violators will face a fine of up to $100, up to 15 days of jail time, or both.

    To read more about this go to: https://www.adatitleiii.com/2018/01/new-york-passes-law-against-service-animal-fraud-joining-other-states/?utm_source=Seyfarth+Shaw+-+ADA+Title+III+News+%26+Insights&utm_campaign=a1ad99862f-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_decb46f1f5-a1ad99862f-70397889


    Guidance from the New York City's Mayor's Office on Winter Snow Removal

    The NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) began planning and preparing for the winter snow removal season well in advance. Snow laborers are recruited in early fall to be on call. This year there will be 100 compact loaders (Bobcats) to assist with snow removal, which will be dispersed throughout the city. DSNY has also acquired additional small salt spreaders (with plows to ad¬dress the tighter residential streets, and will continue to utilize pickup trucks with plows to assist with snow removal in bike lanes and other small locations. To read the full policy go to: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/mopd/downloads/pdf/snow_removal_2018.pdf

     

    Settlement Agreement Reached Between the United States of America and The Beachcomber Resort Motel Condominium Association

     

    This settlement agreement resulted from an individual complaint that portions of the Beachcomber Resort in New Jersey were not accessible to people with disabilities. The Department of Justice reviewed architectural plans and other information provided by the Beachcomber Association, and conducted a site visit of the Resort. The results of the site visit, which were shared with the Beachcomber Association, revealed a number of architectural barriers to access in and around the Resort. In the agreement, the Resort agrees to provide accessible parking to all patrons with disabilities and improve accessibility in the lobby area. Other areas covered in the agreement are pool areas, unisex bathrooms, and adherence to accessibility requirements for any new construction or alterations at the Resort. To read the full agreement go to: https://www.ada.gov/beachcomber_sa.html

     

    Toms River, NJ Seeks Members for ADA Committee

    The committee that advises Toms River, NJ officials on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is seeking new members for 2018. The ADA committee is generally responsible for advising and making recommendations to the mayor and Township Council on ordinances and policies related to persons with disabilities, concerns of people with disabilities, accessible facilities and employment matters affecting individuals with disabilities To learn more about this, go to: https://patch.com/new-jersey/tomsriver/toms-river-seeks-members-ada-committee

     

    NJ School District to Pay $35K to Worker Fired After Gallbladder Surgery

    A former North Plainfield School District employee who was fired after emergency gallbladder surgery will be paid $35,000 by the district, according to New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino. The employee was released due to "job abandonment" after missing three weeks of work after having gall bladder surgery. The lawsuit claimed that the employee was discharged because of her disability or as retaliation for taking extended time off. To resolve disability-based discrimination allegations, the district is also required to update policies regarding medical leave and provide training for all supervisors, managers and employees. To read more about this, go to: http://www.nj.com/somerset/index.ssf/2017/12/north_plainfield_former_employee_35k_disability_di.html


    Uncertainty in the Cases of Special Education in Puerto Rico

    The restructuring of Puerto Rico's debt has cast a shadow of uncertainty over hundreds, if not, thousands of cases that are currently being argued in court as part of claims so that children and youngsters registered in the Special Education program receive the services they need. Last May, when the Oversight Board (JSF, by its Spanish acronym) filed a petition before the court to restructure the debt under the protection of Title III of the Promesa Federal Law, all cases already filed against the government, which involved a monetary claim, were paralyzed. Since then, several courts have issued contradictory ruling for service claims to Special Education students.

    Although the Deputy Secretary of Special Education, Eliezer Ramos Pares, acknowledges the lack of uniformity in handling the cases, he guarantees that student services have not been affected. He confirmed that regardless of the positions assumed by the Department of Justice in the judicial forums, the Department of Education has tried to resolve the cases.

    The discussion has even reached the Supreme Court, where a resolution issued in early December to confirm the cessation of the damage phase of the class action of Special Education students, turned into an opportunity for the members of the highest judicial body to clarify their positions on the impact of Promesa on these students. The presiding judge, Maite Oronoz, made it clear that only the federal court handling the case of Title III can redirect this claim which, in her opinion, "has little or no effects on the bankrupt process, the historical and pressing matter of this lawsuit, and that its cessation only delays the concession of the legal remedy that the affected parties have sought for many years."

    For more information, read:
    www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/incertidumbreenloscasosdeeducacionespecial-2385336

     

    The 64th Convention of the APPR is Dedicated to Disability Psychology

    The 64th Convention of the Psychology Association of Puerto Rico (APPR, by its Spanish acronym), titled: Psychology for the People, will focus on the psychological aspects of functional diversity. This includes: the psychology of deaf persons, intimate relationships, and the psychological benefits of labor and community inclusion. This event will take place from January 25th to January 27th, 2018; at the Ponce Hilton Hotel. For more information, go to:
    http://www.asppr.net/convencionappr2017

     

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Dependable Health Services to Pay $38,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

    Dependable Health Services Inc., a health care staffing agency, will pay $38,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The case involved a woman who worked as a phlebotomist at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. After seeking a reasonable accommodation due to a disability related issue, the health care facility terminated her. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability. The ADA also requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations unless the employer can prove it would be an undue hardship to do so. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Dependable Health Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 8:17-cv-02316) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. To read more about this, go to: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/dependable-health-services-to-pay-38000-to-settle-eeoc-disability-discrimination


    Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Denver to Improve Accessibility

    The Department of Justice announced on January 8, 2018 that it has reached an agreement with Denver, Colorado, to improve access to civic life for people with disabilities. The agreement was reached under Project Civic Access (PCA), the Department's initiative to ensure that cities, towns, and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the agreement, Denver will ensure that its services, programs, and activities are accessible to people with disabilities. Based on surveys conducted by the United States as part of its investigation, the agreement requires Denver to remedy inaccessible features at courthouses, emergency shelters, libraries, parking lots, polling places, and parks to make these facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. In addition, to improve communication with people with hearing disabilities, Denver will contract with sign language interpreters and use Relay Colorado and text-to-911 on calls. Denver has also agreed to ensure that its emergency operations plan is accessible, to provide training to its employees on the ADA, and to survey certain facilities that were not already surveyed by the Department. "Denver has committed to ensuring all of its residents, including persons with disabilities, have access to county and city services and programs," said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. "We applaud Denver for taking this step." For more information about the agreement, please visit:
    https://www.ada.gov/denver_pca/denver_sa.html

     

    What Was The EEOC Up To This Year? Takeaways From 2017

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's fiscal year ended on Sept. 30, 2017 and it has released its yearly "Performance and Accountability Report." Although this is a look back, it provides insight on what is important to the commission. Some of the highlights looked at combating employment discrimination through strategic law enforcement, prevent discrimination through education and outreach, as well as deliver excellent and consistent service through a skilled and diverse workforce and effective systems.
    To read more about this including a link to the full report go to: https://www.law360.com/articles/993989/what-was-the-eeoc-up-to-this-year-takeaways-from-2017

     

    Opportunities for You!

    Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST Design & Construction-Free Training

    May 8th, 2018, 8:00AM - 4:15PM EST
    Museum of disABILITY History, Main Training Room - 2nd Floor
    3826 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14226

    This training will highlight the importance of design and construction requirements outlined under the Fair Housing Act. This is a full day training that is free and open to the public. To register for this event go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/buffalo-ny-fha-first-design-construction-training-tickets-41438850718

     

    Special Spotlight:

    Justice Department Scraps ADA Guidance

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he is rescinding more than two dozen guidance documents including several clarifying the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Guidance documents are tools that educate stakeholders about the requirements of the law. Advocates worry that the move could send mixed signals to public entities about their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Taking away the guidance does not change any of the ADA's mandates, disability advocates noted. Nonetheless, withdrawing the guidance, which serves as an interpretation of the law, can create uncertainty, they said. To read more about this go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2018/01/04/justice-scraps-ada-guidance/24546/


    Withdrawn Technical Assistance and Guidance Documents

    As part of the ongoing government-wide effort to reduce regulatory burdens and improve the quality of guidance documents offered to the public, the Department has been reviewing its catalogue of technical assistance and guidance documents, including those related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Department has identified documents that are appropriate for withdrawal and, where applicable, removal from ADA.gov. Withdrawing out-of-date, duplicative, or otherwise ineffective materials will make it easier for individuals with disabilities, covered entities, and the public to understand their rights and responsibilities under the ADA. To see the list, visit: https://www.ada.gov/ta_withdrawn.html

     

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    New Jersey Foundation for Aging Features Northeast ADA Center Staff on Television Program regarding the ADA and Older AdultsThe newest episode of Aging Insights, is titled Know Your Rights. On this program the New Jersey Foundation for Aging's (NJFA) Deputy Director, Melissa Chalker speaks with guests Joseph Zesski and Jennifer Perry of the Northeast ADA Center and they discuss the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA). The guests explain the history of the law and what rights individuals are entitled to because of it. To see the video of this program, you can visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2aYBEXsFQ8&feature=youtu.be

    Northeast ADA Center Closed November 23rd and 24th
    The Northeast ADA Center and technical assistance services will be closed between 4:30 PM on Wednesday, November 22nd and 8:30 AM on Monday, November 27th for the Thanksgiving holiday. Thank you in advance for your understanding and we hope you have a good holiday!


    What's New in Our Region:

    College Websites Must Accommodate Students with Disabilities, Lawsuits Say
    Since January 2015, at least 751 lawsuits have been filed over the issue of inaccessible websites. The lawsuits filed against universities have come one after the other, against Fordham University, Manhattan College, Long Island University and other area colleges and universities. In all, eight suits have been filed in federal court in Manhattan; most recently against Hofstra University on Long Island on Oct. 4, 2017. The filings are part of a growing number of actions involving accessibility and the internet. The ADA requires that public accommodations be accessible to those with disabilities, and legal battles have long revolved around physical spaces and therefore physical solutions, such as elevators or wheelchair ramps. Now, advocates and lawyers argue, websites are also public spaces and need to be accessible, with things like captions or audio descriptions. To read the full article go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/nyregion/college-websites-disabled.html?emc=eta1&_r=1

    New York's Highest Court Rules That Perceived Alcoholics Are Not Protected under New York City Human Rights Law
    The New York Court of Appeals ruled that the New York City Human Rights Law ("NYCHRL") does not permit a claim of disability discrimination based solely on a perception of untreated alcoholism. To sustain a claim, an individual must actually be a recovered (or recovering) alcoholic and no longer abusing alcohol. The case stems from two former New York City police officers who were falsely accused of being alcoholics during child custody disputes. The officers underwent treatment so as to not face disciplinary action, but in subsequent litigation were found not to be alcoholics. The New York Court of Appeals was asked to determine as to whether the NYCHRL precludes a plaintiff from asserting a disability discrimination claim based solely on a perception of untreated alcoholism. The New York Court of Appeals answered the question in the negative, holding that the "plain language" of the law limits protections only to those employees who (1) are recovering or have recovered from alcoholism, and, (2) are "currently free of such abuse." The meaning of this plain language is that the NYCHRL "does not regulate employer actions motivated by concern with respect to the abuse of alcohol."

    To read more about this go to: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/new-york-s-highest-court-rules-perceived-alcoholics-are-not-protected-under-new-york


    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    EEOC Launches Online Services for Inquiries, Appointments & Discrimination Charges
    On November 1, 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched an EEOC Public Portal to provide online access to individuals inquiring about discrimination. "This secure online system makes the EEOC and an individual's charge information available wherever and whenever it is most convenient for that individual," said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. "It's a giant leap forward for the EEOC in providing online services." The EEOC Public Portal allows individuals to submit online initial inquiries and requests for intake interviews with the agency. Initial inquiries and intake interviews are typically the first steps for individuals seeking to file a charge of discrimination with EEOC. In fiscal year 2017, the EEOC responded to over 550,000 calls to the toll-free number and more than 140,600 inquiries in field offices, reflecting the significant public demand for EEOC's services. Handling this volume of contacts through an online system is more efficient for the public and the agency as it reduces the time and expense of paper submissions. To access the public portal, please visit: https://publicportal.eeoc.gov/portal/ShowForm.aspx?templateId=129

    2017 Study on the Cost of Workplace Accommodations
    The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has released the 2017 update to its annual study of Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact. The research, which has been conducted annually since 2004, found that the majority of workplace accommodations (59%) cost nothing. Those accommodations which do involve cost are typically small expenditures which pay for themselves in reduced insurance and training costs, as well as increased productivity and morale. To read about the study go to: https://askjan.org/media/lowcosthighimpact.html


    National Council on Disability Recommends Decoupling Eligibility for Cash and Health Benefits; Amending Small Business Act to Benefit Business Owners with Disabilities
    The National Council on Disability (NCD) - a nonpartisan, independent federal agency comprised of presidential and congressional appointees - On October 26, 2017 released an advisory report to Congress and the President on poverty and disability during its, business meeting in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. NCD's report addresses why people with disabilities are often destined to live in poverty and experience high unemployment despite existing federal regulations and public policies that were intended to improve their lives. The report asserts that the basic needs for people with disabilities go beyond what is covered in the official U.S. definition of poverty and that a new definition of poverty could help highlight the financial challenges facing people with disabilities and influence changes in policy.

    The NCD report focuses on seven factors that are crucial for enhancing the economic independence of people with disabilities - education, employment, financial assistance and incentives, health care, long-term services and supports, transportation, and housing - and offers recommendations to policymakers in each area. To read more about this go to: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/highlighting-disability--poverty-connection-federal-agency-urges-congress-to-alter-federal-policies-that-disadvantage-people-with-disabilities-300544099.html

    Man Rewarded Job at Kaiser Aluminum's Mill and $175,000 in Discrimination Settlement
    Under the terms of a settlement in a disability discrimination lawsuit, a Spokane man will receive $175,000 and a new position. After reviewing old medical documentation, Kaiser withdrew its job offer. Over the years, the Trentwood man had recovered from previously documented injuries and had worked a number of jobs in the same industry. The EEOC filed a lawsuit in September 2016 against Kaiser on behalf of McMurray, claiming the company discriminated against him because of a previous disability. To read more about this go to: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/oct/25/man-rewarded-job-at-kaiser-aluminums-mill-and-1750/

    Settlement Reached in Federal Lawsuit against New Albany, Indiana
    A settlement has been reached in a federal case against the City of New Albany, Indiana for alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act after an officer's personal medical information was disclosed at a public meeting. According to the Department of Justice, the complainant's rights were violated when personal information about his medical history was read during a public meeting as well as given to the media. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act states that employers "must keep medical information confidential when obtained through employment-related medical examinations and inquiries." The city was ordered to pay $100,000 to the complainant and the city must show that it has revised and implemented new policies in line with the ADA. To read more about this go to: http://www.newsandtribune.com/news/settlement-reached-in-federal-lawsuit-against-new-albany/article_a1b3c460-b519-11e7-b2cf-c761773195c0.html


    Opportunities for You!

    Service Animals and the ADA: Exploring Common Issues and Scenarios-Free Webinar!
    Tuesday, November 21st, 2017
    2:00 PM EST - 3:30 PM EST

    While more than 27 years have passed since the implementation of the ADA, there are areas which continue to raise questions and cause confusion. One of these areas relates to service animals. This session will explore the rules governing service animals in a variety of settings, including but not limited to the workplace; education; healthcare; business, public spaces; hospitality and travel venues and places of recreation. Bring your scenarios to share and discuss with the presenter. Learn what your rights are as a person who uses a service animal and/or as someone who deals with the public and has questions about how your organization should appropriately respond to service animal issues. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ADA-Audio/session/?id=110647 


    W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Resources-Free Webinar!
    Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
    1:00 PM EST - 2:30 PM EST

    The Revised Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines incorporate the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Success Criteria Level A and AA and apply them to both web and non-web ICT, including electronic content. This session will review the robust technical assistance supporting the use of the WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria provided by the W3C (World Wide Web) Web Accessibility Initiative at https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag.php (link is external). This webinar will explore the use of the WCAG 2.0 supporting technical materials, including "How to Meet WCAG 2.0: A customizable quick reference to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 requirements" (Quick Links); "Techniques for WCAG 2.0" (suggested details on how to develop accessible Web content, such as HTML code examples) and "Understanding WCAG 2.0" (additional guidance on learning and implementing WCAG 2.0). This session is helpful for people who want to understand the guidelines and success criteria more thoroughly and will lead to improvements in the creation of accessible content. The presenter in this session will discuss best practices, helpful tips, and will provide real-life examples to ensure that your agency is successfully engaging with all its stakeholders including those with disabilities. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/cioc-508/session/?id=110616


    Special Spotlight:


    Navigating the Interactive Process: Best Practices for Complying with the ADA

    Four recent lawsuits filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") against health care employers underscore the federal agency's intent to continue to ensure that employers are complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act's ("ADA") mandate to reasonably accommodate workers with disabilities. The lawsuits highlight the need for employers to effectively navigate the interactive process when working on accommodating an employee.

    To read more about the lawsuits go to: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/navigating-interactive-process-best-practices-complying-ada

    To read about employer responsibilities under the ADA go to: https://www.eeoc.gov/facts/ada17.html

    For a guide on reasonable accommodations, go to: http://www.adainfo.org/content/employers-guide-employees

    For a guide to the interactive process, go to: https://askjan.org/media/eaps/interactiveprocessEAP.doc

     

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    The Northeast ADA Center Website Has a New Look!
    Please come and visit us at http://www.northeastada.org/ and see our new look. With an expanded search feature you have some of the most popular ADA topics at your fingertips as well as access to our webinar archive.

    Free Webinar! The Power of Apprenticeship: Including People with Disabilities

    October 25th, 2017 12pm to 1:30pm EST
    Apprenticeships serve two purposes. They offer opportunities for job seekers to build real world employment skills while earning money. They also meet the needs of employers for a skilled workforce. Through an injection of new funds, ApprenticeshipUSA is enabling states to partner with job-driven industries to develop innovative strategies to increase apprenticeship opportunities. This session will highlight how apprenticeship programs can enable employment service providers who support people with disabilities to foster collaboration with employers to create apprenticeship opportunities in local communities. These partnerships will offer a proven path to good, secure middle-class jobs for people with disabilities who are traditionally underrepresented in these opportunities. We will also discuss how employers might approach providing accommodations for apprentices who have disabilities. To register go to: http://www.yti.cornell.edu/events/6402

    Opportunity to Participate in Research

    The Northeast ADA Center, which is located within Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, is seeking participants in a research study on implementation of reasonable accommodation policy and practice within small employers (defined as 15-500 employees). Ideal participants will be employed by or serve in a leadership position of a small employer and have responsibility for implementing the accommodation process within their company. We have included a consent form that describes the study in more detail. Your participation in this study is entirely confidential. Neither your company nor your name will be shared in connection with our findings. We hope to develop a snapshot of how the accommodation process for employees with disabilities happens (or doesn't happen) within small employers in order to develop a comprehensive set of resources to support small employers in this area.

    Your involvement in the study would entail a 60-minute phone interview. During the interview, our researchers will ask some question about the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and accommodations in your workplaces. Remember, even if your company doesn't have a lot of experience with disability or the ADA, your perspective is still valuable. At the end of your participation, you will be compensated with a $50 gift card. We will also notify you once the materials that result from the study are available for use.

    If you are willing to participate, please reach out to Vicki Chang (vc337@cornell.edu). Vicki will work with you to schedule the phone call at your convenience. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the principal investigator, Sarah von Schrader (sv282@cornell.edu, 607-254-8088), or Vicki Chang (vc337@cornell.edu) at any time.

    Northeast ADA Center Contributes to Training for NYC Disability Service Facilitators

    The Northeast ADA Center was happy to participate in a 2 day training program in September, 2017, administered through the ADA National Network, the NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) and the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). The program provided training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as other federal, state and local laws that impact people with disabilities. The hallmark of the program is that it provided the most relevant and up to date information, guidelines, new resources and other pertinent information that is specific to city governmental programs, services and activities offered to New Yorkers with disabilities. The training was designed and provided in order to establish a knowledge base essential to performing the role of the Disability Service Facilitator (DSF) in New York City. The training program provided information on the following topics: The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design/NYC Building Code accessibility requirements; Effective communication for people with disabilities; Emergency Preparedness and Planning; ADA Self-Evaluation and Transition Planning; Fair Housing and Accessible Digital Technology.


    What's New in Our Region:

    The U.S. Department of Labor to Provide Immediate Grants and Assistance for Hurricane Maria Recovery Efforts

    As with Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the U.S. Department of Labor, in cooperation with the territories and local partners, is setting aside funding, making grants to assess workforce needs, and providing additional regulatory flexibilities in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in response to Hurricane Maria. With assistance for Dislocated Worker Grants and Disaster Unemployment Assistance,the Department of Labor is taking steps to assist residents and businesses as they recover from a devastating hurricane. To read more about this go to: http://viconsortium.com/virgin-islands-2/u-s-department-of-labor-to-provide-immediate-grants-and-assistance-for-hurricane-maria-recovery-efforts/

    For People with Disabilities, New York's Sidewalks Are an Obstacle Course

    In a long running battle over New York City's 162,000 sidewalk corners, a federal court ordered report has highlighted numerous shortcomings in the city's effort to install and maintain curb ramps to make every corner accessible to people with disabilities. The report, by Robert L. Burgdorf Jr., an expert on disability rights, was issued as part of a federal lawsuit filed by the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, now known as the United Spinal Association, against the city in 1994. In spite of a subsequent 2002 settlement, and another agreement last year to address continuing concerns, the report found that the majority of the city's curb ramps are still not in compliance with federal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and that the city lacks even a comprehensive survey of all its corners or an adequate plan of action. To read more about this go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/08/nyregion/new-york-city-sidewalks-disabled-curb-ramps.html

    US Virgin Islands Non-Profits Struggle to Serve in the Wake of Devastating Storms

    Like other segments of the population, the V.I.'s non-profit community was hit hard by September's double hurricane hits, but charitable groups don't have the option of closing for business while they make repairs. A survey of a few of the many entities serving the territory's most vulnerable found some of them up and running shortly after the storms - albeit limping - while others are struggling just to survive. Organizations like the American Red Cross of the Virgin Islands, Catholic Charities, The Disability Rights Center Coalition and others have led response efforts to serve struggling citizens. The Disability Rights Center Coalition is comprised of Several V.I. groups that serve people with disabilities working to address the special needs of their clients. To read more about this go to: http://stthomassource.com/content/2017/10/08/v-i-non-profits-struggle-to-serve-in-the-wake-of-devastating-storms/


    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Supreme Court Denies Review of Rules That Vending Machines Are Not Places of Public Accommodation

    The Supreme Court declined to review a Fifth Circuit decision stating that a public accommodation covered by Title III of the ADA has to be a physical place and vending machines are not sales establishments covered by Title III of the ADA. In doing so, it affirms the Fifth Circuit's decision that vending machines are not covered under the ADA. By denying review, the decision prolongs a conflict between other circuits that have interpreted "public accommodation" to extend beyond physical spaces. To read more about this go to: http://www.adatitleiii.com/2017/10/supreme-court-denies-review-of-rules-that-vending-machines-are-not-places-of-public-accommodation/?utm_source=Seyfarth+Shaw+-+ADA+Title+III+News+%26+Insights&utm_campaign=2ba79d920e-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_decb46f1f5-2ba79d920e-70397889


    Survey: Employers Miss Opportunities for Workers with Disabilities

    A national survey released October 10, 2017 finds that employers often overlook recruiting and training practices that could expand employment opportunities for workers with disabilities. For example, only 13 percent of supervisors said their organizations offer job sharing, yet more than 90 percent of those who allow it said such policies were effective for both people with disabilities and workers overall. While two-thirds of those surveyed said it is very important to provide requested accommodations to workers with disabilities, only 28 percent of organizations have disability hiring goals, compared to nearly 60 percent that have goals for other types of diversity. To read more about this go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/newswires/news/business/survey-employers-opportunities-disabled-workers-article-1.3553169


    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar! U.S. Access Board Webinar: Harmonization between the ADA Standards and the IBC/ANSI A117.1

    November 2nd, 2017
    2:30 PM - 4:00 PM (ET)
    The next webinar in the U.S. Access Board's monthly series will review differences between the ADA Standards and counterpart provisions in the International Building Code (IBC) and the accessibility standard it references, the ICC ANSI A117.1 Standard. While the ADA Standards and IBC/ANSI A117.1 were largely harmonized, substantive differences remain. In addition, the newly released 2017 edition of the A117.1 standard includes additional changes not reflected in the ADA Standards. A representative from the International Code Council, which maintains the IBC and published the new A117.1 standard, will partner with the Board to highlight differences between these documents, answer questions, and clarify common areas of confusion.

    Visit www.accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register for the webinar. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

    Free Webinar! Kayaking, Rafting and Ziplining: Making Community Recreation and Adventure-Tourism Accessible to All

    Tuesday, November 14th, 2017
    10:00 AM PST - 11:30 AM PST
    This session is a basic overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) nondiscrimination requirements for outdoor recreational providers and operators, including tips, tools, and resources for best practices. Does your program or business model strive to make "the great outdoors" accessible to ALL customers, including patrons with disabilities? Find answers in this session.

    To register go to: https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=2021150


    Special Spotlight:

    Remember to Celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

    October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, so please consider encouraging all members of your organization to participate in this awareness project. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.

    Held annually, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM.

    For specific ideas about how your organization can support National Disability Employment Awareness Month, visit www.dol.gov/ndeam. Suggestions range from simple steps, such as putting up a poster, to more involved actions such as implementing a disability education program. Regardless, all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities - every day of every month.

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Overview of the Final Rule for Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment- Free Webinar
    Thursday September 28th 2017 1pm to 2pm EST
    Presented By: Jennifer Perry
    This webinar will review the accessibility standards developed by the U.S. Access Board for equipment used in medical settings by health care providers for diagnostic purposes, including: examination tables and chairs, weight scales, mammography equipment, and other imaging equipment. The webinar will also discuss the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' guidance information for health care providers regarding their responsibilities to make their services and facilities accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. To register go to: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=6401

     

    What's New in Our Region:

    NYC Denies Nearly 9,000 Children with Disabilities the Services They Need
    As of last May, 8,854 public school students with disabilities were lacking services such as speech therapy, physical therapy and counseling, according to figures the city Education Department supplied. The city's data shows that students from underserved districts in the south Bronx and Brooklyn are most likely to be deprived of the services they need to learn in comfort and safety. The problem is most acute in districts such as Bronx District 9, where 856 kids with disabilities weren't getting their needed services as of last May. By way of comparison, in Manhattan's relatively affluent District 1, only 67 students were missing the treatments they needed, the city's figures show. In July, advocates filed a lawsuit against the city for failing to provide services to hundreds of Bronx kids with disabilities. To read more about this go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/nyc-denies-9-000-kids-disabilities-services-article-1.3467241

    School Settles Claim it Didn't Evacuate Student with a Disability During Fire Alarm
    The Watchung Hills Regional High School District Board of Education in Warren, New Jersey, agreed to settle claims that staff failed to evacuate at least one student with a disability during an unplanned fire alarm and did not have policies for evacuating students with disabilities, federal officials said Monday. The student, who uses a wheelchair, could not leave the building because its elevators had been shut down, according to the settlement. Fellow students waited with the student with a disability, but an "unidentified adult" told the students without disabilities to leave. The district agreed to make sure that students with disabilities are included in emergency evacuations and drills, provide Americans with Disabilities Act training for staff and maintain policies to ensure that students with disabilities are accounted for in school safety protocols, including drills and unplanned evacuations. To read the full article go to: http://www.nj.com/somerset/index.ssf/2017/09/school_didnt_evacuate_disabled_student_during_fire.html

    Retail Websites Are 'Public Accommodations' Subject to ADA, Judge Rules
    As courts remain divided over whether or not websites should be held to the same standard under the Americans with Disabilities Act as brick-and-mortar locations, companies across the country continue to get hit with lawsuits for lack of online accommodations for people with disabilities. There are an increasing amount of lawsuits being filed against websites that are claimed to be inaccessible. Over a period of about two weeks in June and July of 2017, Steven Matzura, who is legally blind, filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against 18 companies for lack of accommodation on their websites, including Shake Shack, Nordstrom Inc. and Katz's Delicatessen. Another legally blind man, Lawrence Young, filed suit in the Southern District against more than 20 companies over several weeks this summer. His targets include Sotheby's, Sbarro and Ethan Allen. In a recent ruling, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York found that the website for Blick Art Materials, where customers can purchase products, is a place of public accommodation and thus subject to the ADA. To read more about this go to: http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/id=1202797300013/Retail-Websites-Are-Public-Accommodations-Subject-to-ADA-Judge-Rules?slreturn=20170812115052

    If you would like to learn more about making your website accessible, please visit our archived webinar at: http://www.northeastada.org/pages/webinars/#collapse3103


    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    More Businesses are Opening up to People with Disabilities

    More than a decade ago, when Jenny Lay-Flurrie was looking for a job, she told an interviewer at Microsoft that she had some trouble hearing. "I didn't tell them I was profoundly deaf," Lay-Flurrie tells USA TODAY through an American Sign Language interpreter. "It was Microsoft that educated me. They helped me realize that my disability is a strength that makes the company better." Thirteen years later, Lay-Flurrie is the chief accessibility officer for Microsoft. "I work for a company that supports me every day," she says. "I want every employee to have that shot." Microsoft is not the only business actively working to incorporate people with disabilities in both its customer base and workforce. The 2017 Disability Equality Index (DEI), a survey conducted by the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), reports that U.S. businesses are becoming increasingly accessible for people with disabilities. To read more about this go to: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/careers/2017/08/23/u-s-businesses-becoming-increasingly-accessible-people-disabilities/590335001/

    U.S. Access Board Consults Stakeholders on Reform Plan
    During its July meeting, the Board met with stakeholders to gather feedback on an agency reform plan for improving its operations and services. Attendees included representatives from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Environmental Health Network, the Great Lakes ADA Center, the National Federation of the Blind, the National Park Service, the National Recreation and Park Association, The Paciello Group, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The Board convened this group to discuss ways it can improve and make more efficient its programs and activities, including technical assistance, training, and enforcement of the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). Participants urged the Board to increase its outreach and external communications to make more people aware of its services and resources. They recommended that the Board work with professional and trade associations to disseminate information to their membership. In addition, the Board should expand its communications platform to include blogs, podcasts, and additional webinars. You can read more at: https://www.access-board.gov/news/access-currents-july-august-2017#reform


    Opportunities for You!


    Accessible Hospitals and Medical Care Facilities: A Refresher-Free Webinar
    Thursday, October 05, 2017, 2:30pm - 4:00pm EST
    This session will provide a refresher on the requirements in the ADA and ABA Accessibility standard for Hospitals and Long-Term Care facilities. The presenters will provide an in-depth review of the standards and design challenges in long-term care settings, including highlights from recent research. Additionally, they will explore strategies for success in the field that both comply with the standard and meet the needs of older adults and their caregivers. This is a joint session presented by the Access Board and the AIA Codes and Standards Committee. Session participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance. 

    Presenters:
    • Rex Pace
    • Amy Carter, AIA
    To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/schedule/


    Special Spotlight:

    As the Northeast ADA Center typically receives technical assistance questions related to the rights of students with disabilities under the ADA and Section 504 this time of year, we are sharing several resources below that will be of use to individuals that would like to learn more about the federal protections for students with disabilities in school settings.

    Frequently Asked Questions page developed by the U.S. Department of Educations' Office of Civil Rights:
    https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/frontpage/faq/disability.html

    U.S. Dept. of Education Guidance on Schools' Obligation to Provide Equal Opportunity to Students with Disabilities to Participate in Extracurricular Athletics: https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-clarifies-schools-obligation-provide-equal-opportunity-s

    Bullying of Students with Disabilities Addressed in Guidance to America's Schools: https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/bullying-students-disabilities-addressed-guidance-america%E2%80%99s-schools

    The Civil Rights of Students with Hidden Disabilities Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq5269.html

    Protecting Students with Disabilities - this is a Department of Education document on the overall requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in elementary and secondary education in public schools.
    https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html

    Assistive Technology Glossary - this is produced by the Family Center on Technology and Disability. It compiles terms and definitions frequently encountered in the educational setting.
    www.ctdinstitute.org/sites/default/files/file_attachments/ATGlossary.pdf

     

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    The Northeast ADA Center is Updating our Website!
    The Northeast ADA Center's website is getting a new look and expanding the ability to easily access resources regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act. To take a look at our Beta site under construction, please visit: http://beta.northeastada.org/

    Free Webinar! Overview of the Final Rule for Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment
    Thursday, September 28, 2017
    1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT
    This webinar will review the accessibility standards developed by the U.S. Access Board for equipment used in medical settings by health care providers for diagnostic purposes, including: examination tables and chairs, weight scales, mammography equipment, and other imaging equipment. The webinar will also discuss the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' guidance information for health care providers regarding their responsibilities to make their services and facilities accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=6401


    What's New in Our Region:

    Regional International Sued by EEOC for Firing Employee Who Requested Leave for Surgery
    Regional International Corporation, a commercial truck and trailer dealership with locations in Western New York, unlawfully fired an employee after he requested leave for hip replacement surgery. After requesting a short leave to have surgery on a degenerative hip that caused the employee excruciating pain that hindered his walking, climbing of stairs, and sleep, the employee was fired rather than being provided the accommodation to take care of the issue. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that employers provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities, and prohibits employers from discriminating against them. To read more about the case go to: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/7-27-17.cfm

    NY City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Residents, Advocates Urge Cuomo Signature on Bill Allowing Residents with Disabilities to Take More Accessible Units
    There's a push to make public housing friendlier to some of its most vulnerable residents. The proposed legislation would allow residents that use wheelchairs to move into accessible apartments when they become available. As residents age or become disabled they may have greater challenges with mobility needs and ideally lower level apartments should be reserved to meet those resident's needs. To see the article go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nycha-residents-urge-cuomo-sign-disability-housing-bill-article-1.3382383

    Rev Up NJ Kicks off Disability Voter Registration Week 2017 in Trenton
    On July 18th, approximately 50 people gathered at the State House Annex to kick off National Disability Voter Registration Week. The event, hosted by the Alliance Center for Independence (ACI) and REV UP NJ, included speeches by NJ Senate President Stephen M. Sweeny, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Rutgers Distinguished Professor, Douglas L. Kruse, NJ Council for Developmental Disabilities, Kevin Casey, and a host of advocates and civil rights activists. ACI and REV UP NJ will be holding voter registration and education events during the months leading up to the November 8th Gubernatorial Election. To read more go to: https://www.adacil.org/latest-updates/ndvrw-kickoff-2017?utm_source=July+2017+-+News&utm_campaign=Newsletter&utm_medium=email


    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    President Trump Nominates Iraq Veteran Daniel Gade to EEOC Commissioner Spot
    President Trump has nominated Daniel M. Gade to the last vacant slot on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Dr. Gade, who has a Master's and Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Policy, is a veteran of the second Iraq War, and lost his right leg in 2005 after an explosion that occurred while he was carrying out a routine patrol. Based on his writings and some articles about him, Dr. Gade appears to be a strong advocate for self-reliance and getting disabled veterans back to work. How this philosophy will apply to issues that arise under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which the EEOC enforces, is not clear. It could mean that he will strongly advocate reasonable accommodation, which allows individuals with disabilities to be gainfully employed to the fullest extent possible. But he has also spoken out against the military definition of "disability," contending that it is too broad and encourages veterans to stay out of the work force. To read more about his nomination go to: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=3b3de01d-d198-4bb4-9daa-982717b945f3

    UPS to Pay $1.7M to Resolve EEOC's ‘Maximum Leave' Lawsuit
    United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) reached a $1.7 million agreement with the EEOC to settle a nationwide lawsuit challenging the delivery company's policy of discharging workers who can't return from medical leave after 12 months. The EEOC alleged in its 2009 lawsuit that UPS's maximum leave policy, in addition to providing a basis for the company to unlawfully fire disabled workers, also acted as an illegal employment qualification standard that screened out or tended to screen out workers with disabilities. To read more about this go to: https://www.bna.com/ups-pay-17m-n73014462571/

    New ADA-Accessible Trail Showcases Cedar Breaks Splendor
    It's not often that we see new trails in our national parks, but Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah recently opened the mile-long Sunset Trail. Designed to be ADA-ABA accessible, the Sunset Trail provides exploration opportunities for all people, including young children, seniors and those with physical disabilities, including people who use mobility devices. While there may be a long way to go in providing equal access to all of our national parks, the Sunset Trail is a good example of what is possible. To read more about this go to: http://www.thespectrum.com/story/sports/outdoors/backyard-ramblings/2017/08/03/new-ada-accessible-showcases-cedar-breaks-splendor/536924001/


    Opportunities for You!

    Open Q & A-Free Webinar
    Thursday, September 7th, 2017
    2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT
    This is a regular session in the Accessibility Online webinar series that provides an opportunity to ask questions on any topic related to the Access Board's work and activities. Questions are welcome on the Board's accessibility requirements and rulemaking activities, including the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards, new standards being developed for medical diagnostic equipment, and other topics related to the Board's work. Accessibility specialists will answer questions submitted in advance during the first half of the session, leaving time in the second half to answer questions in the live session. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110599

    Facebook Friends-Workplace Enemies-Free Webinar
    Tuesday, September 19th, 2017
    2:00 PM EDT - 3:30 PM EDT
    Can I Google applicants or use information posted on Facebook? Within social media and employment law the risk of social media in the employment world is a relatively new fad and form of communication. With the popularity of social sites like Facebook and Linkedin, employers can gain access to all sorts of information that would normally be "off limits" during an interview. Could this be creating a legal problem for employers? Are people with disabilities being "weeded out" by potential employers because of their "electric footprints"? In this lively session EEOC's Joe Bontke will spell out the risks and offer some remedy for the new risk of social network "investigating" when an applicant has some "google issues" To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ADA-Audio/session/?id=110627


    Special Spotlight: Web Accessibility

    The internet is a source of entertainment, news, commerce, education and much more. However, many people with disabilities struggle to access this key resource. Web accessibility ensures that people with disabilities can use the web effectively no matter how they access the site. It asks that web developers consider alternative access methods when building sites, that forms are labeled, that alternative text is used to describe pictures that mean something on the page, and that pages are structured in a way that make sense to someone who can't see them. Web accessibility has other benefits as well; well-designed pages load more quickly, take less space on your server, and will transport more easily to mobile devices. The Northeast ADA Center offers resources on web accessibility, accessed here: http://www.northeastada.org/pages/accessibility/website-access.cfm

    As web access has been a "hot topic" in recent months, below are several articles on this topic that highlight new developments.

    DOJ Disables Titles II and III Website Regulations
    The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has placed its once-planned website accessibility regulations under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on an inactive list, putting to rest speculation about what the Trump administration may do with respect to the long-promised regulations. No one knows for sure what relegation to the inactive list means, as this is the first time that federal agencies have prioritized their rulemaking agendas by dividing proposed regulations into three categories: (1) the regulatory plan, which highlights regulatory priorities for the coming year; (2) long-term actions, which are regulatory actions not expected within 12 months; and (3) the inactive list, which includes regulations that have not been formally withdrawn, yet seem to have no known place in the agency's planned rulemaking. While the DOJ has placed this on a low priority list there is no assurance that this protects an entity from private lawsuits. To read more about this go to:
    http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=b90be499-a45b-4a92-a0d6-2ac166b60d03

    New Ruling Requires Websites to Make ADA Accommodations
    In June, a federal judge in Florida passed down an important Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website accessibility decision, finding that Winn-Dixie was liable under the ADA because its website was inaccessible. In Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., the plaintiff argued that Winn-Dixie's website was inaccessible to visually-impaired individuals and thus violated the ADA because features such as the website's online coupons and pharmacy could not be accessed using a screen reader. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff on all issues and awarded injunctive relief and attorneys' fees. To read more, go to: https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2017/08/01/new-ruling-requires-websites-to-make-ada.html

    Start Spreading the News - EDNY Denies Motion to Dismiss Website Accessibility Complaint
    While the ADA finished celebrating its 27th anniversary at the end of July, for plaintiffs looking to bring website accessibility complaints in New York the party is still ongoing. Following on the heels of last month's decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Five Guys, Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in Andrews vs. Blick Art Materials, LLC, recently denied a motion to dismiss a website accessibility action, holding that Title III of the ADA ("Title III"), the NYS Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law all apply to websites - not only those with a nexus to brick and mortar places of public accommodation but also to cyber-only websites offering goods and services for sale to the public. Read more at: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=0945b90a-eec8-4a5b-8b48-37c3564ee2f1

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Information Access to Healthcare Medical Records-Free Webinar
    July 26th 2017
    1:00 pm ET to 2:00pm ET
    Presented by Joe Zesski

    Whether a person is going to their general doctor for a checkup or being admitted to a hospital for a procedure, today the record of medical visits are kept electronically and typically made available to the patient through some form of e-portal. With this movement towards electronic records keeping and sharing, effective communication for the patient is essential. This webinar will discuss the impact of the ADA on access for the patient to electronic medical records and documentation as well as the need for medical providers to ensure the accessibility of this critical information. To register go to: http://register.yangtaninstitute.org/register/index.cfm?event=6399


    What's New in Our Region:

    New York Stores to Improve Access for People with Disabilities Under Deal With the State
    After a 2015 probe by the NYS Human Rights Commission, more than onehundred stores were found to be inaccessible to people with disabilities. Starting with Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood and eventually expanding to the entire city and northern suburbs, 129 stores have agreed to install ramps and take other measures to remove barriers for people with disabilities. To read the full article go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/100-n-y-stores-improve-access-disabled-article-1.3282877

    City's Disability Pride Parade Marches Through Health Care Concerns
    July 9th, 2017 saw thousands take part in the third annual NY City Disability Pride Parade held in Manhattan. While participants said rights for people with disabilities have come a long way in the nearly three decades since the ADA's passage, they said there is still a lot of work to be done. The Disability Pride Parade also gave participants a platform to talk about issues that are most important to them, such as how to improve the accessibility of the city. To read the full article go to: http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2017/07/9/2017-nyc-disability-pride-parade-manhattan.html

    These Actors with Disabilities are Wowing Theater Crowds
    The Off-Broadway production "Cost of Living" set out to cast actors with disabilities to provide a cast more indicative of what America looks like. "Cost of Living" playwright Martyna Majok insisted on casting actors with disabilities who can "tell their own stories".. "I wanted a cast that looked like America, and 19 percent of Americans have some kind of disability," says its co-writer and director, Marc Acito, citing recent census findings. To read the full article go to: http://nypost.com/2017/07/06/these-actors-with-disabilities-are-wowing-theater-crowds/


    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Edinburg Hospital to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Ineffective Communication for Deaf Patients

    After being sued by the US Attorney's Office from the southern district of Texas, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance has agreed to settle a lawsuit claiming the hospital failed to provide auxiliary aids and services for deaf patients. The lawsuit claimed that the hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing an interpreter to a family whose daughter was undergoing treatment and instead forced the parents to use family members to translate. To read the full article go to: http://valleycentral.com/news/local/edinburg-hospital-to-settle-lawsuit-claiming-ineffective-communication-for-deaf-patients.

    Florida Agrees to Make Prisons More Accessible for Inmates with Disabilities

    A lawsuit filed by Disability Rights Florida has been settled with the State to address disability related barriers that inmates face. The settlement, filed in United States District Court in Tallahassee, followed years of legal actions on behalf of inmates with physical disabilities who sought equal treatment. The lawsuit that Disability Rights Florida filed last year included complaints from 32 of those prisoners, who said they were denied prosthetics, wheelchairs, hearing aids and functioning canes, among other issues. The changes include making qualified interpreters available for disciplinary hearings and doctor's appointments, providing functioning canes to inmates with visual disabilities and removing architectural barriers in prisons for people that use wheelchairs and others with mobility issues. To read the full article go to: http://www.bradenton.com/news/state/article160396829.html

    Santa Rosa CA Grinds Out Accessibility Upgrades
    In 2008, investigators from the U.S. Attorney General's Office conducted an audit of 40 city facilities, identifying nearly 200 violations of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The following year the city entered into a settlement with the DOJ, agreeing to fix the problems over five years at what was a then-estimated cost of $2.9 million.

    Seven years later the city is still working to complete the multimillion dollar upgrades. While the city tackled some of the more readily achievable upgrades such as lowering hand dryers in public bathrooms, the larger and more costly projects are just getting underway. The work in and around the 152-acre Howarth Park, the city's busiest, is one such example. The city recently ripped out and replaced a long stretch of buckled sidewalk along Summerfield Road next to the park's lower parking lot. As part of the project, the city cut down several large mature trees, whose roots had forced several concrete slabs upward. For people with mobility disabilities this has made a big difference. The project is just one of hundreds the city has completed over the past several years at a total cost of $7.5 million. To read the full article go to: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/7140950-181/santa-rosa-grinds-out-accessibility

    Sensient Pays $800,000 to Settle ADA Claim Because of Inflexible Leave/Accommodation Policy
    The EEOC announced on 6/30/17 that Sensient Natural Ingredients, a division of Sensient Technologies, has agreed to pay up to $800,000 and also provide other significant relief, to settle a charge of disability discrimination based on an inflexible leave/no restrictions policy. According to the EEOC, employees were either discharged for surpassing the company's restrictive leave policy or were required to return to work without accommodations or restrictions. The EEOC also contended that when employees attempted to return to work even without restrictions, the company refused to accept them back and fired them instead. To read more about this go to: http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=32875


    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar: ADA Basics for Museums
    Tuesday, July 25th, 2017
    12:30 PM EDT - 1:00 PM EDT

    The ADA impacts the visitor experience from the moment they first land on your website, purchase a ticket and enter your building. Not sure how to best enhance their experience? Then join us for a brief overview of successful ways to ensure greater customer satisfaction. This session will be presented by Donna Baker-Notter, Senior Director of Operations and ADA Compliance Officer with the Newseum, an organization headquartered in Washington, DC which promotes, explains and defends free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. To register go to: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eebj76qie5961d87&oseq=&c=&ch=

    Free Webinar: Surface Roughness and Rollability Research
    Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
    2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT

    Rough and uneven surfaces can be uncomfortable, even painful, for people who use wheeled mobility aids. While there are ways to measure and analyze surface roughness for roadways, none are appropriate for pedestrian pathways. The U.S. Access Board funded a study that used subject testing to examine how the roughness of pathway surfaces impacts wheelchair travel. Conducted by the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh, the project measured body vibrations resulting from travel across various types of bumpy or uneven surfaces, including existing sidewalks and simulated surfaces. Results from this research were used in the development of a new ASTM standard on pedestrian surfaces. This session will discuss the research findings and the new ASTM standard. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110598


    Special Spotlight:

    ADA 27: 27th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
    Happy 27th Anniversary ADA!
    On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, commercial facilities, telecommunications, and state and local government services. In honor of this anniversary, below are several features that highlight the importance of this landmark civil rights law.

    Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act: July 26
    This Facts for Features (developed by the U.S. Census Bureau) provides a demographic snapshot of the U.S. population with a disability and examines various services available to them. The statistics come from various Census Bureau censuses and surveys, covering differing periods of time: https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/newsroom/facts-for-features/2017/cb17-ff11.pdf

    ADA Anniversary Toolkit
    Throughout the year, celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Anniversary (July 26) in your workplaces, schools and communities. While much progress has been made, much remains to be done. This Tool Kit is a project of the ADA National Network and its ten regional ADA Centers across the United States that provide information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Learn more here: https://www.adaanniversary.org/home

    Battle-Tested People with Disabilities Fight for Rights
    July is widely celebrated as Disability Pride Month in the U.S. This year, the month marks the 27th anniversary of passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990. The ADA, a landmark U.S. civil rights bill for people with disabilities, was enhanced in 2008 by the ADAA, Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act. . With legislation being considered in Congress that could have broad ranging impacts on people with disabilities, the disabled community has responded to these attacks with resistance. To read the full article go to: http://www.workers.org/2017/07/05/battle-tested-people-with-disabilities-fight-for-rights/#.WWOYsITyuUk


  • Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: June 21st, 2017



    The Northeast ADA Center provides information, guidance, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act and related disability issues throughout New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

     

    FOR QUESTIONS REGARDING RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THE ADA AND/OR OTHER DISABILITY ISSUES, CALL 1.800.949.4232 OR EMAIL NORTHEASTADA@CORNELL.EDU 

     

    Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Free Webinar! Beach Access Routes-Key Considerations for Public Entities

    Wednesday, June 28, 2017 from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM

    Presented by Jennifer Perry

    It's that time of year that many of us take advantage of the summer weather and "head to the shore" for some R&R. This webinar will review the scoping and technical requirements for beach access routes from the ABA Outdoor Developed Areas Final Rule.  While the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design do not directly address access to beaches, there are still Program Accessibility obligations to consider (for beaches maintained by state/local government entities) that require that programs and activities offered by public entities must be accessible to people with disabilities. This webinar will review the ABA's requirements that apply to beach access routes in national parks and other outdoor areas developed by the federal government, as they can be a useful tool for ADA covered entities that are looking for best practice guidance related to beach access routes. To register go to: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=6361


    What's New in Our Region:

    Do You Need Assistive Technology for Work or for Home?

    National Disability Institute's Assistive Technology (AT) Loan Program provides affordable loans to persons with disabilities, seniors and veterans to help purchase assistive technology products and services.  Assistive Technology can improve your independence and quality of life, and includes home and vehicle modification, screen readers for computers, hearing aids and more.

    If you are a resident of New York or New Jersey and at least 18 years old, then you may qualify.  Visit NDI's website to learn more: http://bit.ly/NDI-AT-Loan.

    To discover AT loan programs across the country, visit http://bit.ly/RESNA-projects or contact: Laurie Schaller at schaller@ndi-inc.org or 202.449.9521


    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    City Agrees to Settlement of Housing Discrimination Suit with DOJ

    On May 26, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the city of Jacksonville, Florida (city), agreed on a settlement over claims that the city violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The DOJ alleged that the city denied permission for the development of permanent supportive housing for individuals with disabilities in an historic district and discriminated on the basis of the intended residents' disabilities.  To read about this go to:  http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=fb3a1a73-9fd1-497b-bbf0-c0e31667ed0d

    Airlines Face Soaring Disability Complaints

    The number of disability-related complaints against airlines shot up more than twofold in a decade, a new government report finds. Travelers with disabilities filed more than 30,000 complaints with airlines in 2015, up from fewer than 14,000 in 2005. That's according to a report out from the Government Accountability Office. The vast majority of complaints, 58 percent, blamed airlines for failing to provide assistance, generally with wheelchairs, GAO found. Seating accommodations, damage to assistive devices and problems related to service animals were also frequently cited issues. To view this article go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2017/06/05/airlines-soaring-complaints/23767/

    City Closes Dog Park for ADA Violation

    The city of Piqua Ohio announced on its website that Hollow Park will no longer be used as a dog park, as the U.S. Justice Department has determined that it is not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  "We conferred with the Department of Justice, and it was their interpretation that the existing dog park at Hollow Park would not meet with ADA requirements and cannot be used for a dog park," City Manager Gary Huff said. "We have officially closed it."  The city has also immediately stopped development work that was being done at the site to create two fenced-in dog areas. They will be putting down grass seed on the areas that were disturbed.  This determination followed concerns that residents voiced during the public comment portion of the Piqua City Commission meeting.  Valerie Mullikin and Randi Simon-Serey, both of Piqua, each came forward to talk about how the Hollow Park Dog Park is not accessible to people living with limited mobility. The city is still working toward finding a new location for a dog park that is accessible for everyone in the Parks Master Plan that is currently under development. They hope to receive recommendations through the creation of that document.  To read more about this go to: http://dailycall.com/news/25002/city-closes-dog-park-for-ada-violation

    Lack of Accessibility at Fitness Facilities

    According to a recent study published in the Disability Health Journal, individuals with physical and mobility disabilities have limited opportunities to participate in physical activity due to barriers in the built environment, the lack of knowledge of fitness staff, and the costs associated with membership fees at recreation facilities. Previously, only a handful of studies examined the accessibility of fitness facilities for individuals with disabilities. The results of this latest study indicated that none of the facilities examined were fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Of the fitness facilities included in the study, the majority received a low accessibility score in all sections other than programs, parking, and water fountains. The study found similar results in both urban and suburban facilities, regardless of whether they were built after the passage of the ADA. Further research is needed to plan how to remove barriers in fitness facilities.

    To read more about this go to: http://www.disabilityandhealthjnl.com/article/S1936-6574(16)30186-8/fulltext

    UPCO Will Pay $106,000 For Disability Discrimination

    A Claremore, Okla.-based manufacturer of sucker rods and accessories for the oil and gas industry will pay $106,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Lydia Summers began working as a temporary receptionist and assisting in the accounting department. After five months, UPCO made Summers a conditional offer of full-time, permanent employment, conditioned on Summers passing a pre-employment medical exam conducted by a third-party vendor. Following the exam, the vendor's physician, who never examined or questioned Summers, refused to approve her for employment with UPCO because of the supposed side effects of her prescription medications. Even after Summers provided UPCO with a letter from her personal physician stating that she was not impaired by her medications, UPCO rescinded its job offer, the EEOC alleged.  To read more about this go to: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/5-31-17.cfm

    First Public Accommodations Website Accessibility Case Goes to Trial in Florida

    The first trial under the Americans with Disabilities Act about the accessibility of a public accommodations website took place in the southern district of Florida.  U.S. District Judge Robert Scola presided over the first trial in the history of the ADA about the accessibility of a public accommodations website.  To read more about this go to: http://www.adatitleiii.com/2017/06/first-public-accommodations-website-accessibility-case-goes-to-trial-in-florida/?utm_source=Seyfarth+Shaw+-+ADA+Title+III+News+%26+Insights&utm_campaign=8e08ffa091-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_decb46f1f5-8e08ffa091-70397889

    IBM and West Virginia University's Center for Disability Inclusion Unveil Mobile Workplace Accommodation Case Management App

    IBM and West Virginia University's Center for Disability Inclusion (CDI) announced they are developing a first generation mobile workplace accommodation case management app to help U.S. businesses create inclusive workplaces for employees with disabilities.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 20.4 percent of people with disabilities were employed in March 2017, as opposed to 68.7 percent of people without disabilities. Therefore, creating better support for job applicants and employees is critical to creating a diverse pool of talent in the workplace, optimizing the productivity of every worker, and increasing job satisfaction.  To read more about this go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ibm-and-west-virginia-universitys-center-for-disability-inclusion-unveil-mobile-workplace-accommodation-case-management-app-300472307.html

    New Edition of the ICC A117.1 Accessibility Standard Approved

    The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently approved the 2017 edition of the ICC A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. This voluntary consensus standard, which provides technical provisions for accessible spaces and elements in facilities, is referenced by the International Building Code (IBC). (The 2018 IBC will reference the prior edition of the ICC A117.1 Standard, so jurisdictions that wish to implement the 2017 edition will have to adopt it specifically.)

    The new edition features enhanced requirements for clear floor space, turning space and accessible routes based on new research on human measures and wheeled mobility. It also includes new provisions covering acoustics in classrooms, electric vehicle charging stations, and components in public rights-of-ways such as curb ramps, blended transitions, detectable warnings, and on-street parking. The International Code Council (ICC), which maintains the IBC and serves as the secretariat for the ANSI A1171 Committee, will publish the new standard in June. Visit the ICC's website for further information here: http://shop.iccsafe.org/icc-a117-1-2017-accessible-and-usable-buildings-and-facilities-1.html.


    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar! What is Universal Design?

    Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

    12:30 PM EDT - 1:00 PM EDT

    Universal Design (UD) is the design of buildings, products, communication and environments that are usable by all people. In this 30- minute session, John Salmen, President of Universal Designers & Consultants, Inc. will discuss the evolution of UD, methods of accommodation using UD in architecture and in other elements, accessible design vs. universal design, and UD for aging in place.  To register go to: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ee6tdnov7a7b3a63&oseq=&c=&ch=

    Free Webinar! Accessible Courthouses (A refresher)

    Thursday, July 6th, 2017

    2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT

    This session will provide a refresher on requirements in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards for courthouses and courtrooms. Presenters will review provisions in the standards for secured entrances, judges' benches, jury boxes, witness stands, clerk and bailiff stations, spectator seating, holding cells, and other courthouse spaces and elements. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110597

    Free Webinar! Section 508 Best Practices

    Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

    1:00 PM - 2:30 PM EDT

    The US Access Board offers a free webinar series on standards issued under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires access to information and communication technology in the federal sector. This year's sessions focus on the updated Section 508 Standards published by the Board in January. The next webinar in this series is scheduled for July 25 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will review requirements for hardware, including mobile devices, in Chapter 4 of the revised 508 Standards. Presenters will cover provisions for speech-output for devices with display screens, access to two-way voice communication, privacy, closed captioning, audio description, operable parts and user controls.

    For more details or to register for this session, visit www.accessibilityonline.org/cioc-508/schedule. The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the Board.


    Special Spotlight:
     

    A Cautionary Tale for Healthcare Providers: Are You Actually Providing Effective Communication Under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act?

    The Eleventh Circuit, in Silva v. Baptist Health South Florida, Inc., recently addressed a healthcare provider's obligation to provide effective communication, through appropriate auxiliary aids and services, to persons with disabilities pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (RA). The lessons from this opinion are instructive to healthcare providers around the country who may find themselves in the shoes of the defendants.  The plaintiffs in Silva, who are hearing-impaired, alleged that the defendants, two nonprofit hospitals and their nonprofit parent company, failed to provide an in-person interpreter for American Sign Language but relied instead on video remote interpreting (VRI), which was alleged to be ineffective in violation of the ADA and the RA. The district court awarded summary judgment to the defendants on the basis that the plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to seek injunctive relief under the ADA or the RA because they did not show that they were likely to return to the healthcare facilities in the future. The district court also dismissed plaintiffs' claims under the RA because they failed to establish any damages, i.e., they failed to demonstrate instances where communication difficulties resulted in actual adverse medical consequences to them.  A unanimous Eleventh Circuit panel, however, reversed the lower court's ruling. While the court recognized that it is ultimately up to the healthcare provider to determine the appropriate auxiliary aid to provide and that it is not required to supply any and all auxiliary aids demanded, the court stressed that the auxiliary aid furnished must provide effective communication. To read more about this go to: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=2e338964-b31e-4f7e-b763-c05d99752bc6

     

     


  •  

    Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

     Did you know you can follow the Northeast ADA Center on social media?  You can follow us on Facebook by going to https://www.facebook.com/Northeast-ADA-Center-394193790770343/  On Twitter by following @northeastada and on LinkedIn by going to https://www.linkedin.com/in/northeast-ada-center-b4b4b4103/

    What's New in Our Region:

    New York State Passes Funding to Improve Accessibility of Sidewalks

    A total of $112.2 million in funding has been awarded to support transportation enhancements across New York State.  According to the governor's office, funding supports projects that include multi-use bicycle and pedestrian facilities, new accessible sidewalks that adhere to regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, improved access to public transportation, and enhance roadway safety.  "This funding is critical to enhancing our infrastructure and paving the way for both pedestrian and bicycle travel," Governor Cuomo said. "By improving roadway safety and increasing access to healthy transportation alternatives, we are providing both residents and visitors a chance to experience the state's natural beauty like never before, while supporting a cleaner, greener New York for generations to come."  To read more about this go to: http://news10.com/2017/04/19/112m-in-funding-announced-to-support-transportation-enhancements-across-ny/

    NYPD to Equip Police with Tablets to Help Them Better Communicate with People Who are Deaf

    The New York Police Department is launching a pilot program to help police better communicate with people who are deaf. Police in the three precincts, the 9th in Manhattan, the 115th in Queens and the 121st in Staten Island will be equipped with tablets to allow them to connect via video with a remote sign-language interpreter if a live interpreter is not available to handle the call in person, the NYPD said.  There are more than 200,000 people who are deaf or hard of hearing across the five boroughs and in the past NYPD has been slapped with some lawsuits for failing to properly communicate with them.  In 2009, the police department entered into a consent decree to resolve Americans with Disabilities Act violations, and agreed to revise its handling of cases involving the deaf.  To read more about this go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nypd-equip-cops-tablets-connect-deaf-article-1.3063273

    Horizon NJ Health to Pay Former Employee $80,000 After Alleged Wrongful Termination

    New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino announced April 10th that health insurer Horizon NJ Health will pay $80,000 to a former employee after allegations of wrongful termination.  Horizon purportedly fired Nicole Fitchett because she did not earn a required professional certification on time. Fitchett, however, had taken two months of disability leave that delayed her preparation for the certification test.  "What sometimes gets lost on employers and their HR departments is that the term 'disability' is more broadly defined under our state law than under the federal ADA," said division director Craig T. Sashihara. "And, of course, the promise of work benefits like sick leave is meaningless if an employee is punished for using it."  To read more about this go to: http://legalnewsline.com/stories/511104971-horizon-nj-health-to-pay-former-employee-80-000-after-alleged-wrongful-termination

    MTA Accessibility and Maintenance Critiqued

    The New York City subway system is under dual attack over its lack of accessibility for people requiring elevators or escalators; and for its general maintenance of those which the system already has. City Comptroller Scott Stringer's office released an audit on May 1st claiming that there are serious gaps in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's maintenance program.

    The report came one week after three individuals and six advocacy groups for the disabled filed a suit against the MTA, its interim executive director, Valerie Hakim, the New York City Transit Authority and its acting President Darryl Irick, saying that 80 percent of the city's subway system remains inaccessible. Read more at: http://www.qchron.com/editions/queenswide/mta-accessibility-and-maintenance-critiqued/article_55404e5f-41c6-599e-a82e-2ef5e8d60335.html

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Medstar Harbor Hospital Will Pay $179,576 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

    Harbor Hospital Inc., trading as MedStar Harbor Hospital, will pay $179,576 and furnish other relief to resolve a federal disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced yesterday.  The EEOC said that MedStar Harbor Hospital violated federal law when it refused to provide a reasonable accommodation to and instead fired Jerome Alston, a respiratory therapist, because of his disability. Alston had a kidney transplant and takes medication which compromises his immune system and increases his risk of infection. Due to his weakened immune system, Alston requested, and MedStar initially granted him, a "work-around" which excused him from working in isolation rooms with a mechanical ventilation system designed to trap infectious airborne materials. MedStar also gave some other employees similar work-arounds when requested. EEOC charged that in November 2013, when Alston again needed a work-around, MedStar refused to grant this reasonable accommodation and instead abruptly terminated him because of his disability and his accommodation request.  To read more about this go to: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/medstar-harbor-hospital-will-pay-179-82955/

    Opportunities for You!

    The Interplay between the ADA and the FMLA-Free Webinar

    Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

    2:00 PM EDT - 3:30 PM EDT

    Employee leave is one of the most complex and common situations that businesses encounter. This session will compare and contrast the ADA and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), their respective regulations, and court decisions to assist employers and employees with navigating leave under each statute separately and in tandem. Sponsored by the Great Lakes ADA Center and ADA National Network. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ada-legal/session/?id=110607  

    Accessible Dining Surfaces and Bars-Free Webinar

    Thursday, June 1st, 2017

    2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT

    The ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards apply to a wide range of spaces in the public and private sectors and specify which elements and spaces must be accessible. This session will review how to apply these criteria to dining surfaces and bars and provide guidance on some common errors in design. A representative from the Restaurant Association will provide an overview of the most common restaurant design issues, including product selection, installation details, furniture placement and best practice design tips.  Sponsored by the Great Lakes ADA Center.  To register go to: https://adata.org/event/accessible-dining-surfaces-and-bars

     Housing Accessibility under the Americans with Disability Act and the Fair Housing Act-Free Webinar

    Wednesday, May 24, 2017 

    2:00 - 3:30 PM ET

    This 90 minute session will provide an overview of the 2010 ADA Standards and Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines. It will include a brief discussion of the basic accessibility requirements mandated by federal and state building codes.

    Accessibility Specialist, Dom Marinelli of United Spinal Association's Accessibility Services will be our presenter and answer your questions.
    Dom Marinelli has been with United Spinal Association (Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association) since 1988 and is the VP of the Accessibility-Services Department. He is a voting member on the American National Standards for Accessible and Usable Buildings & Facilities (A117.1) Committee and has contributed to the accessibility requirements within the International Building Code (IBC), the International Existing Building Code (IEBC), the Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines, and the 1991 and 2010 ADA Standards.

    For more information and to register visit: http://www.adainfo.org/training/housing-under-ada-fha

     Special Spotlight:  

    VA Adopts New Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will adopt new accessibility standards issued by the U.S. Access Board to ensure access to medical diagnostic equipment (MDE) at its health care facilities. Under an agreement governing acquisitions, the VA will require that new equipment meet the MDE standards which were published in January. The VA's health care network, the largest integrated health care system in the U.S., includes 152 medical centers, nearly 800 community-based outpatient clinics, and over 125 nursing home care units.  Access to MDE has been problematic for people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids. The Board's standards provide design criteria for examination tables and chairs, including those used for dental or optical exams, weight scales, radiological equipment, mammography equipment and other equipment used for diagnostic purposes by health professionals.

    "The Board applauds the VA for its initiative and leadership in advancing access to health care for all veterans, including those with disabilities," stated David M. Capozzi, the Board's Executive Director.  The MDE standards, as issued by the Board, are not mandatory unless adopted by a federal agency. The VA's use of these standards will help it meet responsibilities under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires access to federally funded programs and services. Other entities, including health care providers and state and local governments, can voluntarily adopt and apply the standards as well. To read more about this go to: https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/health-care/about-this-rulemaking

     

     

     

     


  •  

    Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

     

    Understanding the Word Disability in the ADA-Free Webinar!

     Wednesday April 26th 2017 1 pm EDT to 2 pm EDT. 

    Presented by Joe Zesski

    Disability is a term that is used by people in many different ways. Often when they call the Northeast ADA Center, individuals are not sure if they have a disability or might think that there is some special process to be "registered" as having a disability under the law. This webinar will address the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, what it is and what it is not, and how individuals and organizations can think through whether or not someone may be considered to have a disability under the law.  To register go to: http://www.northeastada.org/pages/events/

     What's New in Our Region:

     U.S. Access Board Issues Guidance on the International Symbol of Accessibility

     The Access Board has released guidance on the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) to address questions that have arisen on the use of alternative symbols. Some cities and states have adopted a different symbol that was created to be more dynamic and suggestive of movement. The Board's guidance explains how use of a symbol other than the ISA impacts compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is important guidance for stakeholders in New York State where legislation has been passed requiring what is known as the "Active ISA". You can read this guidance material here: https://www.access-board.gov/news/1899-access-board-issues-guidance-on-the-international-symbol-of-accessibility

     Allergic Reactions Caused by Mishandling Food in Dining Halls

     Students at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, who have severe food allergies are asking the school to provide a safer eating environment for them. One student recently had a reaction to tree nuts and is requesting increased training requirements for staff in the dining halls to prevent mislabeled or mishandled food in the future. For individuals with food allergies, mislabeled food can be life threatening. The school reports that it labels foods that contain the seven most common food allergens to help mitigate instances of allergic reactions from students. A food allergy is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, obligating colleges to make changes to their food services practices to accommodate students with food allergies. To read more go to: https://theithacan.org/news/mishandling-of-dining-hall-food-causes-allergic-reactions/

     Community Care for Adults with Disabilities to Continue Through Fiscal 2021

     The federal government has given New Jersey the go-ahead to expand and reform work it has done over the past 45 years to provide community-based services to adults with serious disabilities to help them avoid institutional living.  Disability advocates welcomed the news that federal funding would continue to pay for critical nonmedical services that enable individuals to live independent, productive lives. But they raised concerns about the state's plan to change the way it pays those who provide these critical services, which they fear could lead to gaps in care.  The state's Department of Human Services announced Friday March 31st 2017 that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had signed off on New Jersey's Community Care Waiver, renewing the program through June 2021. The program covers services for some 11,000 residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities over age 21 and had been operating on a temporary extension since 2013.  To read more go to:  http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/04/05/community-care-for-disabled-adults-to-continue-through-fiscal-2021/

     What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Special Education School Vouchers May Come With Hidden Costs

     For many parents of children with disabilities in public school systems, the lure of the private school voucher is strong. Vouchers for students with disabilities have been endorsed by the Trump administration, and they are often heavily promoted by state education departments and by private schools, which rely on them for tuition dollars. So for families that feel as if they are sinking amid academic struggles and behavioral meltdowns, they may seem like a life raft. And often they are. But there's a catch. By accepting the vouchers, families may be unknowingly giving up their rights to the very help they were hoping to gain. The government is still footing the bill, but when students use vouchers to get into private school, they lose most of the protections of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. To read more about this go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/us/school-vouchers-disability.html

    Parents of Children with Autism Use Benefits to Continue to Work

    Penn State, University of Pennsylvania, and the RAND Corporation teamed up to research employment trends of parents with children with autism. The data came from the 2005-2006 and 2009-2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs and was compared with information about state Medicaid home and community-based services waivers. These waivers assist people with disabilities to receive services, such as home health aides, that allow them to live at home and be part of their local communities, rather than living in institutions. The study showed that parents were more likely to work if there were Medicaid waivers available to help care for their children. Medicaid waiver services are income based, meaning families' income levels determine what services they can receive. Some states have Medicaid waiver programs for families who have low incomes that offer more money for children to receive services. Others offer services to families with varied income levels but limit the amount of money each family receives.  To read more go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2017/02/21/study-waivers-parents-employed/23345/

    Sign Language Translating Kiosks Increase Accessibility at Restaurants

     Self-order kiosks are becoming more and more commonplace at restaurants. A new wrinkle to this type of technology, from manufacturer Juke Slot, includes the ability to set the language on the device to sign language. The new kiosk, called Oublié, features a virtual avatar, which translates customer's selections into sign language.  Kiosks in general provide a significant aid between the deaf community and the restaurant community. However, because many people who are deaf struggle to read above a third-grade level but can communicate in sign language, Juke Slot's ADA compliant software is a big step towards accessibility in restaurants for the deaf community. To read more go to: https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/02/21/925606/0/en/Kiosk-translating-in-sign-language-assist-deaf-customers-and-help-restaurants-reduce-risk-of-ADA-lawsuits.html

    Opportunities for You!

    Accessible Fitness Facilities and Exercise Equipment-Free Webinar!

     Thursday, May 4th, 2017

    2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT

    The 2010 ADA Accessibility Standard and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standard include provisions for health club and fitness facilities and equipment. This session will highlight provisions for exercise equipment, toilet and bathing facilities, locker rooms, and other fitness facility amenities. Registration deadline is May 3rd, 2017.  To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110595

    Open Call for Performers for the NJ Disability Pride Parade and Celebration

     The Alliance Center for Independence is putting out a call for performers with disabilities for the 7th annual NJ Disability Pride Parade and Celebration (NJDPP) to be held SATURDAY, October 7th at Mill Hill Park, Trenton! They are looking for performers (bands, dancers and/or solo artists) who would like to be promoted and given the opportunity to perform at this festival in the park. They anticipate 1,000 people to attend. Please fill out the performance application to be considered: https://www.adacil.org/parade-performance-application

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact Carole Tonks at ctonks@adacil.org

    Special Spotlight:  

     April is Fair Housing Month

     Happy Fair Housing Month! The theme for this year's Fair Housing Month commemoration is "Fair Housing Equals Opportunity," which emphasizes the fact that equality in housing provides the foundation upon which aspirations can be achieved and productive lives can be built, while reflecting on the continued relevance of the Fair Housing Act.  The Act protects the right of every American, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status, to obtain the housing of their choice. Much progress has been made since the Act was passed, but the law continues to be flouted. Annually, HUD and its fair housing partner agencies receive around 8,000 complaints alleging discrimination. The majority of complaints filed under the Fair Housing Act in FY 2016 were on the basis of disability with 4,908 complaints. As we celebrate Fair Housing Month 2017, let us demonstrate the true strength of America by recommitting ourselves to advancing fair housing in a meaningful way. To learn more about Fair Housing Month, please visit:

    https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/2017fairhousingmonth

     

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

     

    The Northeast ADA Center is on Social Media

    Did you know you can follow the Northeast ADA Center on social Media?  You can follow us on Facebook by going to https://www.facebook.com/Northeast-ADA-Center-394193790770343/  On Twitter by following @northeastada and on LinkedIn by going to https://www.linkedin.com/in/northeast-ada-center-b4b4b4103/

     

    What’s New in Our Region:

    How Accessible are New York City’s High Schools? Students with Physical Disabilities are About to Find Out

    Michelle Noris began her son’s high school search the way many parents of children with physical disabilities do: by throwing out most of the high school directory.  She knew her son Abraham would only have access to a few dozen of the city’s 400-plus high schools because of significant health needs, despite being a bright student with a knack for writing.  “I tore out every page that didn’t work in advance of showing [the directory] to him,” Noris recalls.  Even once they narrowed the list of potential schools, they still couldn’t be sure which schools Abraham — who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair — would be physically able to enter. The directory lists whether a school is considered partially or fully accessible, which, in theory, means that students should have access to “all relevant programs and services.”  Ultimately it fell on families to visit the school before they could get a clear picture on how accessible the school and its programs were.  Using a 58-question survey, the city is collecting more granular data: if music rooms or computer labs are accessible, for instance, or whether there’s a slight step in a library that could act as a barrier. The survey also tracks whether a student in a wheelchair would have to use a side or back entrance to make it into the building.  To read more about this go to: http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2017/02/24/how-accessible-are-new-york-citys-high-schools-students-with-physical-disabilities-are-about-to-find-out/

     

    Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities Getting a Boost from NJ Colleges

    New Jersey colleges and universities — big and small — are doing their part in making sure more young adults with developmental disabilities get their shot at a successful postsecondary education. According to the latest figures from the National Center for Education Statistics, 11 percent of undergraduate students in the 2011-12 academic year reported having a disability.  In the past, higher education may not have been a realistic option for those dealing with intellectual disabilities or autism. But over the past 10 years or so, a handful of New Jersey institutions have implemented programs aimed at leading these students in the next step of their education and towards a career.  A first-of-its-kind program for a four-year school, COMPASS launched at the Metropolitan campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2008, devoted to students with high-functioning autism. The program began operating at the Madison campus this academic year as well.  Dr. Kathleen Viezel, COMPASS director, said the two-year program helps students transition from high school to college with an ultimate goal of independent functioning. Participants receive academic coaching, group counseling and individual counseling on a weekly basis.  To read more about this go to: http://nj1015.com/developmentally-disabled-young-adults-getting-a-boost-from-nj-colleges/?trackback=tsmclip

     

    What’s New in the Rest of the Country:

    Metro Agrees to Settle Discrimination Case for $175,000

    Metro transit agency has agreed to pay $175,000 to a Maryland man who said his job offer with the authority was rescinded when the agency learned he had epilepsy. The transit agency must also implement new policies that ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including training hiring managers so that a similar scenario is avoided in the future, according to the terms of the settlement. The U.S. Justice Department filed suit in January on behalf of the applicant, Bennie Vaughan. According to court documents, Vaughan received a job offer for the position of elevator/escalator parts supervisor in May 2013, but it was withdrawn a month later after the agency learned of his medical condition.  To read more go to: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/03/02/metro-agrees-to-settle-discrimination-case-for-175000/

     

    People with Autism, Intellectual Disabilities Fight Bias in Transplants

    Paul Corby needs a new heart. On that there is no dispute. The same rare disease that killed his father at 27 is destroying his left ventricle. While there is no cure or surgery that might repair the damage, a heart transplant could extend his life considerably. But Corby, who lives in Pottsville, Pa., is autistic, has several psychological conditions and takes 19 medications. When he applied to the transplant program at the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, he was rejected because of his “psychiatric issues, autism, the complexity of the process and the unknown and unpredictable effect of steroids on behavior,” according to the denial letter sent to his mother.  “I couldn’t even believe this would happen,” Karen Corby said, “that this would be the reason in this day and age.”  In fact, people with cognitive disabilities are turned down for organ transplants often enough that their rights are a rapidly emerging ethical issue in this corner of medicine, where transplant teams have nearly full autonomy to make life-or-death decisions about who will receive scarce donor organs and who will be denied.  Beyond some restrictions imposed by laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers at 815 U.S. transplant programs are free to take neurocognitive disabilities such as autism into consideration any way they want. To read more about this go to: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/people-with-autism-intellectual-disabilities-fight-bias-in-transplants/2017/03/04/756ff5b8-feb2-11e6-8f41-ea6ed597e4ca_story.html

     

    Opportunities for You!

    U.S. Access Board Announces Section 508 Webinar Series Schedule

    The U.S. Access Board announces this year's schedule for the Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series which will be devoted to the Board's recent final rule updating its Section 508 Standards. The rule also refreshes guidelines for telecommunications equipment covered by Section 255 of the Communications Act. The next five webinars, which are free and held every other month, will cover different sections of the rule, including referenced standards such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0:

    • March 28, 1:00 - 2:30 (ET)
      WCAG 2.0 and the Revised Section 508 Standards
    • May 30, 1:00 - 2:30 (ET)
      Old versus New: Original Section 508 Standards (2000) compared to the Revised   Section 508 Standards (2017)
    • July 25, 1:00 - 2:30 (ET)
      Revised Section 508 Chapter 4 Hardware (including Mobile)
    • September 26, 1:00 - 2:30 (ET)
      Revised Section 508 Chapter 5 Software (including Mobile)
    • November 28, 1:00 - 2:30 (ET)
      W3C WCAG 2.0 Resources

    For more details or to register for any of these webinars, visit www.accessibilityonline.org/cioc-508/schedule.

     

     

     

     

    Join the Diversity Partners National Kick-Off Webinar on March 29th!

     

    The Diversity Partners Project, housed at the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, is bridging the gap between employment service professionals, job seekers with disabilities and business.  Diversity Partners can help improve your business relationships in serving job seekers with disabilities, using a combination of in-person training, online toolkits and on-demand technical assistance.

     

    For more information about the project, please visit: www.buildingdiversitypartners.org 
    To register for the free webinar, please visit: 
    https://goo.gl/qJRpgM

     

    Special Spotlight:  

    Service Animals and School Districts

    Service Animals and their presence in schools have been featured in the media recently. Below are two articles that highlight the implications of denying access of service animals in educational settings.

    Cherry Hill Student Prevails in Fight to Bring Service Dog to School

    In Cherry Hill, NJ it took several months of lobbying school officials before they decided they should allow junior Ben Shore to bring his service dog to school, while they worked to revise the policy that had previously prevented him. Shore, 16, is on the autism spectrum and has a service dog to help him deal with panic attacks. He had argued to school officials that the district's service dog policy placed restrictions on service dogs that violated state and federal law, including requiring proof of formal training and banning them from buses. On February 2nd, Ben was finally allowed to bring his dog to school. A school district spokeswoman said the school decided to allow Shore to bring his service dog "in advance of the adoption of the revised policy, as we work to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act." To read more about this, please visit: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/Cherry-Hill-student-.html

     

    Supreme Court Sides with Family in Service Dog Case

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals should reconsider whether Ehlena Fry and her family can sue a Michigan school district for its decision years ago to tell Ehlena, who has cerebral palsy, that she could not bring her service dog to school.  In Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, Ehlena’s parents and their lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union argued in October that they shouldn’t be required to exhaust administrative remedies under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act before suing under a separate law involving access to public institutions, as the school district argued.  To read more about this go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2017/02/22/supreme-court-sides-family/23363/

     

     

     

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

     Northeast ADA Center Operating Hours Have Changed

     Please note that the Northeast ADA Center's technical assistance line hours of operation have changed to 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday.  The Northeast ADA Center will still remain closed on all federal holidays. Technical assistance questions can always be submitted any time of day to us via email, at northeastada@cornell.edu and a response will be provided within one to two business days.

    What's New in Our Region:

    University Under Investigation After Student Denied Service Dog

    Fordham University denied a student's request for a service dog to live with her on campus, despite her documented disability with the Office of Disability Services. She submitted her request shortly after transferring to Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) and moving into McMahon Hall in the spring semester of 2016. On August 4th, just before she began her junior year, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) opened an investigation based on her allegations. Since then, the university offered her $5,000 during settlement proceedings, which she rejected. Since the two parties have not reached a resolution, the investigation is currently still open.

    Read more about this at: http://www.fordhamobserver.com/fordham-under-investigation-after-student-denied-service-dog/

    Determined Teen Finally Allowed to Bring Service Dog to School

    While Ben Shore, 16, and his service dog Charlie were standing outside Cherry Hill High School East Thursday morning, a woman he didn't know rolled down her car window.  "Ben, have a nice day at school," she said.  Shore said that he has had support from strangers and students in his fight to be able to bring his golden doodle service dog to school.  The fight apparently ended this week, when the school administration in an abrupt about-face, told Shore he could bring the dog without jumping through the hoops spelled out in their official policy.  After talking with reporters outside the school, a clearly excited Shore joined the flow of students heading inside, accompanied by his father, Eric Shore.  Asked what led to the district's decision to allow the dog, spokeswoman Barbara Wilson said only that it related to the Board of Education's upcoming vote Feb. 14 on a revised service dog policy.  "In the meantime, the district decided to allow a service dog to accompany a student to Cherry Hill High School East in advance of the adoption of the revised policy, as we work to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act," To read more about this go to: http://www.nj.com/camden/index.ssf/2017/02/school_allows_service_dog_in_school_after_months_o.html

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Employee Can Proceed On ADA Claim That He Was Discriminated Against On Account Of Severe Obesity

    Mark Richardson worked for the Chicago Transit Authority as a Bus Operator from 1999 to 2012.  He took an extended medical leave from work and attempted to return to his job in September 2010.  The Authority sent him for a fitness exam, and the doctor cleared Richardson to return to work. He was next required to submit to a safety assessment, which he contended turned out to be different than the normal safety assessment required of bus operators.  The Authority eventually rejected his request to return to work.  Richardson then filed a charge with the EEOC, stating that the Authority discriminated against him based on his disability, namely severe obesity.  After the parties were not able to resolve the charge, Richardson sued in federal court. The Authority argued that obesity is not a disability unless it is due to a physiological disorder and further contended that since the plaintiff never alleged that there was a physiological basis for his obesity, his complaint must be dismissed. Ultimately, the court noted that the plaintiff's complaint was sufficient to allow him to move forward with discovery and to attempt to prove his case. This is an interesting case because obesity claims are likely to become a major area of litigation given both the near epidemic levels of obesity in the United States and the expansion of coverage of disability under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). To read more about the case go to: http://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/workers-comp-blogwire/25275-employee-can-proceed-on-ada-claim-that-he-was-discriminated-against-on-account-of-severe-obesity-nwcdn-new-jersey-member.html

    EEOC: Workplace Disability Discrimination Claims Set New Record

    For the second year in a row, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said charges of job bias related to disability hit an all-time high, reaching 28,073 for the 2016 fiscal year. Of these complaints, 5,680 were resolved in favor of the person who brought the complaint. The EEOC also noted that nearly a third of the complaints they received cited disability. Read more at: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2017/02/06/workplace-disability-new-record/23274/

    For the Traveler with a Disability, Strategies for a Successful Trip

    Terry Scott Cohen, 42, enjoys roller coasters, mushing in Alaska and tobogganing in the Pyrenees Mountains. Though he gets about in a motorized scooter, he has not let his myotonic dystrophy, a disease involving progressive muscle loss, curtail his travels. His father, Barry M. Cohen, 72, a retired industrial psychologist, acts as his travel companion, and together the two Floridians have written a book, "Travel Near & Travel Far: Step Out of Your Disabled World!" that provides both encouragement for travelers with disabilities and practical advice on navigating the world from a scooter or wheelchair. The elder Mr. Cohen recently discussed the book. To read more about that conversation go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/travel/disabled-traveler-strategies-for-a-successful-trip.html

    Opportunities for You!

    Act Quickly - Must Register by 2-15-17!

    Free Webinar - Self-Evaluations and Transition Plans: Some Considerations

    Thursday, February 16th, 2017

    2:00 PM EST - 3:30 PM EST

    All public entities subject to Title II of the ADA must complete a self-evaluation, and those with 50 or more employees must also have a transition plan that addresses structural changes that are necessary for achieving program accessibility. Learn how to conduct a self-evaluation and how to integrate the information gathered into a transition plan.

    To register, go to: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07edo3a3f61059e082&oseq=&c=&ch=

    Free Webinar - Employer Practices to Improve Employment Outcomes: Considerations Across the Employment Process-

    Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

    2:00 PM EST - 3:30 PM EST

    There is increasing interest in the business community in finding the best ways to hire and retain individuals with disabilities. New assistive technologies, features and applications are creating more employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Virtual offices and mobile technologies enable work by anyone, anytime, anywhere.

    This presentation provides an overview of effective workplace disability inclusive practices across the employment process and includes recruitment and hiring, career advancement and retention, compensation and benefits, accessibility and accommodation, diversity and inclusion, and metrics and analytics. The information is taken from research that examined the most effective ways to minimize disability discrimination and maximize workplace disability inclusion.

    To register go to: https://adata.org/event/employer-practices-improve-employment-outcomes-considerations-across-employment-process

    Free Webinar - Medical Diagnostic Equipment Final Rule

    Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

    2:30 PM ET- 4:00 PM ET

     The Access Board, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has published a final standard addressing access for people with disabilities to medical diagnostic equipment. The standards provide design criteria that will allow independent access to diagnostic equipment, including types that require transfer from wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Provisions address transfer surfaces, support rails, armrests, compatibility with lift devices, and other features to facilitate transfer. This session will provide an overview of this important rulemaking. To register, go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110590

    2017 Disability Rights Storytellers Fellowship - Deadline to Apply: 3-15-17

     The Disability Rights Storytellers Fellowship managed by Rooted in Rights and AAPD provides the opportunity for an individual with a disability to learn and apply skills in digital media storytelling, and to connect with media professionals to prepare participants for advanced careers in media production, journalism, online advocacy, or digital design. The project combines hands-on training on cutting edge technologies with a strong foundation in developing the individual's voice and using story-driven videos in advocacy.  Upon admission to the project, Rooted in Rights will send a pre-tested, pre-assembled video production kit to the Fellow. The project kicks off with orientation sessions in which  Rooted in Rights creative professionals and AAPD staff lead workshops on the history of the disability rights movement, current policy issues, and the media's role in the disability rights movement as well as technical workshops focused on video technique, script writing, digital storytelling, basic camera composition, and video editing.

    In addition to hands-on workshops, the Fellow will participate in video chats and Q&A's with media professionals, including people with disabilities, to receive advice on how to break into the media industry. AAPD will also work to connect the Fellow to internships and employment opportunities. Because work in the Storytellers Fellowship is not a full time commitment and can be completed from anywhere, the Fellow would have the opportunity to begin work or internships simultaneously.  To apply go to: http://www.aapd.com/disability-rights-storytellers/

    Special Spotlight:  

    Animation on Signs Now Available from the U.S. Access Board

    A new animation on accessible signage is now available from the U.S. Access Board as part of its online guide to standards issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). The 15-minute animated film reviews and illustrates requirements in the standards for signs and clarifies common sources of confusion. It covers provisions for visual access, tactile signs, required access symbols and other pictograms.

    "We're excited to make this resource available so that the provisions for signs are correctly understood and applied," states Marsha Mazz, Director of the Board's Office of Technical and Information Services. "The Board receives many questions on this subject, and the new animation is very effective in answering them."

    The signs animation is the latest in a series produced by the Access Board. Other animations address wheelchair maneuvering, entrances and doors, toilet and bathing facilities, protruding objects, and parking and passenger loading zones. The animations are viewable on the Board's site, and copies of them can be downloaded as well.

    The Board's online guide to the ADA and ABA Standards also features technical bulletins that explain and illustrate requirements and address common questions. Bulletins are currently available on the first five chapters of the standards, including application and scoping, building blocks, accessible routes, accessible means of egress, parking and passenger loading zones, and stairways. The Guide to the ADA Standards covers design requirements for places of public accommodation, commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities subject to the ADA. The Guide to the ABA Standards addresses similar standards that apply under the ABA to facilities that are federally funded.

    Future installments to the guides will be released as they become available. Users can sign-up to receive email updates on the release of other animations and bulletins in the series by going here: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USACCESS/subscriber/new?topic_id=USACCESS_28

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Northeast ADA Center Operating Hours to Change

    Please note that beginning on January 30th, 2017 the Northeast ADA Center's technical assistance line hours of operation will be changing to 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday.  The Northeast ADA Center will still remain closed on all federal holidays. Technical assistance questions can always be submitted any time of day to us via email, at northeastada@cornell.edu and a response will be provided within one to two business days.

    What's New in Our Region:

    Princeton University reaches deal with U.S. Department of Justice on ADA compliance issues

    Princeton University students with mental health disabilities will have better access to seeking "reasonable" housing and other accommodations, according to a settlement agreement that Princeton's Nassau Hall reached with the U.S. Department of Justice. The federal government said Monday that starting in May 2014, it had looked into, "among other things, policies and procedures Princeton had for dealing with students with mental health disabilities". The review came after a federal lawsuit was brought against the school two months earlier, although details of the suit were not disclosed.  The government said the outcome of its review, into the school's compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, was an agreement both sides reached calling for steps the university agreed to take including revising policies and updating websites to make it easier for students to get the information they need.

    To read more go to: http://www.centraljersey.com/news/princeton-university-reaches-deal-with-u-s-department-of-justice/article_4c230ede-c64a-11e6-a6bf-27274f972d86.html

    New Yorkers with Disabilities Fight to Text 911

    New York City's failure to implement texting access for emergency 911 services inspired a federal complaint Tuesday by a disability-rights group.  Disability Rights New York filed the suit in Brooklyn on behalf of two New Yorkers who are unable to communicate by telephone.  The group's first client, Nicholas Dupree, underwent a tracheotomy and is on a ventilator. This past April, when Dupree experienced several health emergencies the complaint says he had to have other individuals call 911.  Similarly, co-plaintiff Deborah LeGerfo attempted to report a car fire while traveling on Route 135 North in Plainview, N.Y.  A resident of Farmingdale with partial deafness, LeGerfo was unable to communicate crucial information to the 911 operator because of her disability.  The complaint notes that both plaintiffs communicate primarily via text message as well as other mediums. Dupree can also use eye-tracking software, while LoGerfo reads lips, written notes, emails and closed captioning.  Saying that the city needs a text-to-911 service, the complaint describes several situations where such functionality would come in hand for individuals with disabilities, such as if they experience an emergency away from home, if they witness a crime, or if they detect a gas leak.  To read more go to: http://courthousenews.com/disabled-new-yorkers-fight-to-text-911/

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    YMCA agrees to administer medicine to diabetics in settlement of complaint

    The YMCA of Metro Chicago has agreed to train its employees to administer the emergency medicine glucagon to diabetics who request it as part of a settlement to a discrimination complaint, the U.S. Attorney's office said on Wednesday.  The two-year settlement agreement, which took effect Dec. 21, 2016 also requires the YMCA of Metro Chicago to implement a comprehensive policy on diabetes management, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office.  In 2015, the parents of a 9-year-old girl with Type 1 diabetes requested that the YMCA train its staff to administer glucagon injections to their daughter, a member of the center's swim team, in an emergency situation. They later filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Attorney's Office after the center denied their request.  A federal investigation concluded that the YMCA of Metro Chicago discriminated against the girl by denying her the opportunity to participate in the program on the basis of disability and by failing to make reasonable modifications in its policies to administer the medication.  To read more go to: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-ymca-lawsuit-settled-met-20170104-story.html

    University of Connecticut Teaching Hospital Settles ADA-Breach Claim

    UConn's teaching hospital in Farmington has agreed to a federal settlement that improves the quality of services to its deaf and hard-of-hearing patients, authorities say. John Dempsey Hospital and Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly announced settlement terms Tuesday, including the hospital's agreement to a $20,000 penalty to resolve the matter.  According to federal investigators, a patient who is deaf and communicates via sign language lodged a complaint, alleging John Dempsey Hospital denied the patient a signing interpreter or access to other communications options for the hearing impaired during her emergency-room visit.  The patient claimed she had to rely on her boyfriend's limited signing skills to convey details of her illness to her, authorities said. Two days later, the patient's symptoms intensified, resulting in her going to another hospital for an emergency appendectomy.  To read more go to: http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20170104/NEWS01/170109982/uconns-hospital-settles-ada-breach-claim

    Avoiding ADA Pitfalls: Navigating Employee Mental Illness

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) treats mental illness the same as physical disabilities for purposes of coverage. However, dealing with an employee's mental health condition can be particularly challenging for employers because the traits that confer protected status are not always visible or otherwise noticeable. An employee's diagnosis of depression or other mental illness can easily subject a well-meaning employer to potential liability.

    According to charge data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the number of charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC based on mental health conditions are on the rise. During the 2016 fiscal year, the EEOC resolved almost 5,000 charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions, obtaining approximately $20 million for individuals with mental health conditions who were discriminated against based on a disability. The EEOC has responded by issuing a publication on the rights of job applicants and employees with mental health conditions to raise awareness about the protections the ADA affords individuals with mental health conditions and using its enforcement power to protect individuals with mental health conditions. To read more go to: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/avoiding-ada-pitfalls-navigating-employee-mental-illness

    Opportunities for You!

    ADA Coordinators: Roles and Responsibilities-Free Webinar

    Thursday January 26th 2017
    2:00pm EST - 3:30pm EST

    An effective ADA Coordinator is critical to successful ADA implementation. However, the role and responsibilities of the ADA Coordinator are often both ill-defined and misunderstood. This session will clearly outline the functions of the ADA Coordinator position, the departments and community members the ADA Coordinator should interact with, and how the ADA Coordinator position should fit into the overall structure of a Title II entity.

    Presented by Sally Conway, Former Deputy Chief, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice. 

    To register go to: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07edmipa0d5f62f52f&oseq=&c=&ch

    Self-Evaluations and Transition Plans: Some Considerations-Free Webinar

    Thursday February 16th 2017
    2:00pm EST - 3:30pm EST

    All public entities subject to Title II of the ADA must complete a self-evaluation, and those with 50 or more employees must also have a transition plan that addresses structural changes that are necessary for achieving program accessibility. Learn how to conduct a self-evaluation and how to integrate the information gathered into a transition plan.

    Presented by Sally Conway, Former Deputy Chief, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice.

    To register go to: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07edo3a3f61059e082&oseq=&c=&ch

    Special Spotlight:  

    U.S. Access Board Issues Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment

    The U.S. Access Board has issued new accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment (MDE) under section 510 of the Rehabilitation Act. The standards provide design criteria for examination tables and chairs, weight scales, radiological and mammography equipment, and other diagnostic equipment that are accessible to people with disabilities. They include requirements for equipment that requires transfer from mobility aids and address transfer surfaces, support rails, armrests, and other features. The Board developed the standards in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration.

    "The new standards will be instrumental in ensuring access to health care services," states Regina Blye, Vice Chair of the Access Board. "The Board is pleased to fill this gap in accessibility because diagnostic equipment has remained problematic for many people with disabilities due largely to the lack of design specifications for making such equipment accessible."

    Barriers to diagnostic equipment include equipment height and other dimensions, the lack of supports and features necessary for transfer, and the characteristics of contact surfaces. The standards address these as well as other features such as operable parts and patient instructions. The provisions are organized based on use position (standing, lying down, or seated) and whether transfer from wheelchairs is necessary. In addition to the final rule, which includes a discussion of the requirements and background on how they were developed, the Board released an assessment of the benefits and impacts of the standards and an overview of the rule.

    As issued by the Board, the standards are not mandatory on health care providers and equipment manufacturers. The U.S. Department of Justice, which has issued guidance on access to medical care, may adopt them as mandatory requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other federal agencies may implement them as well under the Rehabilitation Act which requires access to federally funded programs and services.

    Visit the Board's website for further information or contact Earlene Sesker at sesker@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0022 (v), or (202) 272-0091 (TTY).


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Northeast ADA Center Holiday Closing

    Season's Greetings from the Northeast ADA Center!  Please note that our Cornell offices will be closed from 3:00pm ET Friday, December 23, 2016 until 8:30am ET Tuesday, January 3, 2017.  The Cornell based Northeast ADA Center staff will be unavailable; however, our Technical Assistance Call Center (1.800.949.4232 for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) and our Technical Assistance email (northeastada@cornell.edu) will operate and be staffed on a limited basis during this time. When we are open, we will be happy to return any phone messages or emails/online TA requests you may have submitted to us during our closing.  The Northeast ADA Center Cornell based staff will be available again beginning Tuesday, January 3, 2017, and normal ADA Center business hours and operations will resume at that time. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience regarding any potential delays in our response time to technical assistance, training, or materials requests.  The Northeast ADA Center wishes all of you a most enjoyable holiday season, and a very happy and healthy New Year!

    What's New in Our Region:

    Settlement Agreement between the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York and Camp Treetops under the Americans with Disabilities Act

    A resident of Valley Stream, New York, filed a complaint with the United States, claiming that Camp Treetops refused to accept her daughter as a camper because of her daughter's disability. Camp Treetops is a residential summer camp, accredited by the American Camp Association, located in the Adirondack Park of Lake Placid, New York.  Camp Treetops had informed the mother of the girl that its acceptance of her into Camp Treetops' 7-week junior camp was rescinded because they learned that she had Type 1 diabetes.  Camp treetops avoids litigation by settling with the United States and agreeing to conditions to avoid future discrimination.  To read the full settlement agreement go to: https://www.ada.gov/camp_treetops_sa.html

    Judge halts eviction of a person with a mental disability as Brooklyn landlord seeks to evict tenants with disabilities

    A federal judge has issued a temporary order to stop the eviction of a man with a mental disability from his building, where the landlord in the gentrifying neighborhood allegedly no longer wants to lease apartments to tenants with disabilities. Robert Cardona, 46, was informed that he was being evicted when his lease was due to expire on Nov. 30, according to a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.  The suit contends the landlord's new policy discriminates against persons with disabilities and violates the Fair Housing Act and New York City Human Rights Law. To read more about this, go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/judge-halts-eviction-mentally-disabled-man-brooklyn-article-1.2889132

    Man with Disability Helps Children with Disabilities

    Brentwood NY resident Oscar Valentin doesn't let his disability stop him from helping children with disabilities. Valentin has been an active member with the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Long Island for more than ten years. He says the agency helped him to find his independence and to live his "life without limits", which is why he wanted to give back to the organization in a special way.  Now every Friday, Valentin volunteers at The Children's Center at UCP of Long Island, located in Commack and works as an assistant coach to students.  To read more about this go to: http://patch.com/new-york/westislip/man-disability-helps-children-disabilities

    "Jake's Law" would nudge every N.J. County to build a playground accessible to all children

    A bill up for consideration in the state Assembly would push every New Jersey County to build at least one "inclusive" playground that is accessible to children with disabilities.  Inclusive playgrounds aim to accommodate children with varying physical and/or intellectual disabilities. The proposal would bar any county without an inclusive playground (or one under construction) from receiving Green Acres funds for conservation and recreation projects.  It would also direct the state Department of Community Affairs to publish rules for the design and construction of inclusive playgrounds. Jake's Law is a reference to Jake's Place, an inclusive playground in Cherry Hill, Camden County, created in honor of Jacob Myles Cummings Nasto, who died from complications of heart surgery.

    To read more about this go to: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/new-jersey/99106-jakes-law-would-urge-every-nj-county-to-build-a-disability-friendly-playground

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Dyslexia: The Learning Disability That Must Not Be Named

    Megan Lordos, a middle school teacher, says she was not allowed to use the word "dyslexia." She's not alone. Parents and teachers across the country have raised concerns about some schools hesitating, or completely refusing, to say the word. As the most common learning disability in the U.S., dyslexia affects somewhere between 5 and 17 percent of the population. That means millions of school children around the country struggle with it. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), schools are required to provide specialized services to assist students by providing supports such as reading tutors and books on tape. But those special services can be expensive, and many schools don't have the resources to provide these accommodations. That has led some parents and advocates to worry that some schools are making a careful calculation: If they don't acknowledge the issue or don't use the word "dyslexia" then they are not obligated to provide services. To read more about this go to: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/12/03/502601741/dyslexia-the-learning-disability-that-must-not-be-named

    FAPE Case Draws Flurry of Attention

    As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider how much educational benefit schools must provide students with disabilities, everyone from lawmakers to  advocates are weighing in. A dozen amicus briefs have been filed in the case known as Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District since the high court said this fall that it would take up the matter. The case marks the first time in more than three decades that the Supreme Court will hear arguments about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act's mandate that public schools provide children with disabilities a free appropriate public education, or FAPE. The case is expected to be heard in January. To read more about this go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2016/12/06/fape-case-draws-flurry-attention/23089/

    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar! ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards- Open Q & A

    January 5, 2017

     2:30PM-4:00PM ET

    This is your chance to get answers to your "burning" questions about either the 2010 ADA Accessibility Standard or the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standard. After a brief introduction, accessibility specialists will respond to questions submitted during the live session. Come prepared with your questions.

    To register, please visit: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/schedule/

    The LiveWell Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (LiveWell RERC) is conducting a survey, and they need you!

    LiveWell RERC's mission is to promote accessibility of information and communication technology.  The focus of the survey is on the use of consumer technology (cellphones, tablets, fitness trackers, etc.).  The data collected will help designers create new solutions to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

    Please use the following link to participate in the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SUN-ICT-2016-2017

    If you have any questions, or wish to complete the survey by phone or paper copy, please contact Kathleen at: karthik_arulselvam@shepherd.org; 404-350-7458

    Special Spotlight:  

    Department of Justice Issues Final Rule on Movie Captioning and Audio Description

    On November 21, 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed a Final Rule revising the Justice Department's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III regulation to further clarify a public accommodation's obligation to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services for people with disabilities. The Final Rule requires movie theaters to: (1) have and maintain the equipment necessary to provide closed movie captioning and audio description at a movie patron's seat whenever showing a digital movie produced, distributed, or otherwise made available with these features; (2) provide notice to the public about the availability of these features; and (3) ensure that theater staff is available to assist patrons with the equipment before, during, and after the showing of a movie with these features. The department has long held the position that captioning and audio description are auxiliary aids required by the ADA.  Despite this obligation and the widespread availability of movies with these features, the department received numerous reports from the disability community indicating that neither closed movie captioning nor audio description is universally available at movie theaters across the United States, hence the release of this Final Rule to clarify this obligation.  To read more on this go to: https://www.ada.gov/regs2016/movie_captioning_rule_page.html


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Northeast ADA Center Closed November 24th and 25th 

    The NEADA Center and technical assistance services will be closed between 5:00 PM on Wednesday, November 23rd and 8:30 AM on Monday, November 28th for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will reopen at 8:30am ET on Monday November 28th.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and we hope you have a good holiday!

    What's New in Our Region:

    Lawsuit: N.J. preschool expelled Down syndrome toddler because she was not toilet trained

    Chesterbrook Academy in Moorestown, NJ, part of Nobel Learning Communities Inc., is facing a discrimination lawsuit after expelling a girl with Down syndrome. The school gave the parents a deadline for the girl to be toilet trained and refused to provide accommodations, even after a note from her doctor stated she wouldn't be toilet trained in time for the school's deadline. The school is accused of treating students without disabilities differently and not enforcing the same rule with other students. Chesterbrook Academy facilities in other parts of New Jersey and the country have faced similar complaints about disability discrimination. To read more about this story, go to: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20161027_Lawsuit__N_J__preschool_expelled_Down_syndrome_toddler_because_she_was_not_toilet_trained.html

    When is a student 'gifted' or 'disabled'? A new study shows racial bias plays a role in deciding

    A recent study done at NYU shows a direct link between teacher bias and referrals for special services. Teachers were more likely to see academic shortfalls as disabilities in white students than in black students, and students of color were more likely to be referred for special education testing for emotional and behavioral issues and less likely to be identified as gifted. This was tested through fictional profiles of students from different racial groups. While other studies have shown racial disparities in gifted and special education, this study may shed light on how this disparity may happen, as teacher referrals account for 75% of referrals to these programs.  To read more about this study, go to: http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2016/10/20/when-is-a-student-gifted-or-disabled-a-new-study-shows-racial-bias-plays-a-role-in-deciding/

    How Employers Can Make Businesses More Inclusive for People with Disabilities

    Michael Ray, who has hearing loss, uses technology that allows him to hold a job that requires talking on the phone at VA Western New York Healthcare. He says other people have used simple accommodations, such as writing out interview questions, and that the best thing an employer can do to accommodate people with disabilities is to start a conversation. With proper accommodations, employees with disabilities can be very successful. To read more, go to: http://www.twcnews.com/nys/buffalo/news/2016/10/24/employers-making-businesses-more-inclusive-for-people-with-disabilities.html

    Somerset County, NJ selects winners of Disability Advocates Award

    After receiving many nominations this year, Somerset County selected two individual category winners for the Disability Advocates Award. Karen Kowalski was selected for her commitment to people with special needs through occupational therapy and music access programs. Samantha Petersen was nominated for her work with people with visual impairments and Seeing Eye Programs. Finally, Legal Services of Northwest Jersey was nominated for its commitment in providing legal assistance to people with disabilities. To read more about these honorees, go to: http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/index.ssf/2016/11/somerset_county_selects_winners_of_disability_advocates_awards.html

    New Technology Helps NJ's Developmentally Disabled Gain Independence

    New Jersey works with a network of nonprofit agencies to connect residents with disabilities with programs, technologies, and other forms of assistance. Assistive or Adaptive technology is a broad term that refers to anything that can help someone do something better. While this term isn't limited to devices that help people with disabilities, research has shown that technology can help make up for certain limitations and can help better integrate individuals into the workplace and live independently. The NJ Division of Disability Services assesses individuals' needs and refers clients to other state offices that can be of assistance with retaining appropriate assistive technology. To read more on this topic, go to: http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/10/25/new-technology-helps-nj-s-developmentally-disabled-gain-independence/

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Statement of the Department of Justice on Application of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead vs. L.C. to State and Local Governments' Employment Service Systems for Individuals with Disabilities

    In Olmstead vs. L.C., the Supreme Court mandated integration as part of Title II of the ADA, in order to place people with disabilities in the most integrated setting. This means the setting that enables the most interaction between people with and without disabilities, especially in the employment sector. Integrated supported employment services have thus emerged as a leading model for enabling people with disabilities to work in competitive employment settings. People with disabilities should be given the chance to make an informed decision about the best employment setting in order to promote overall integration. To read more about the Integration Mandate go to: https://www.ada.gov/olmstead/olmstead_guidance_employment.pdf

    McDonald's to pay $56,500 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

    The EEOC charged that McDonald's refused to interview a job applicant at its Belton, Mo., restaurant because of his deafness, resulting in McDonald's paying $56,500 to settle a discrimination suit. The applicant had previous experience working at McDonald's, yet the new location canceled his interview when they heard he needed an interpreter. McDonald's is also now required to train new management employees on the ADA and reasonable accommodations. To read more about this case, go to: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/mcdonald-s-to-pay-56500-to-settle-eeoc-disability-discrimination-suit

    Financial aid for students with disabilities

    In addition to dealing with the same conditions and obstacles as other students when entering college, students with disabilities also have to pay the same tuition and fees as other students. There are many levels of loans, however, that students with disabilities are eligible for to help alleviate some of these costs. These include Pell Grants, Stafford loans, as well as disability specific scholarship programs. To read more about financial aid options for students with disabilities, go to: http://www.nj.com/njeducation/2016/11/financial_aid_for_students_wit.html

    Jefferson County agrees with DOJ to improve access to polls for disabled voters

    Jefferson County, Alabama has agreed to improve physical access at polling sites to accommodate voters who are blind or use wheelchairs. This settlement was reached under Title II of the ADA in order to ensure the right to vote for people with disabilities. The Department of Justice is looking to resolve this issue of inaccessible polling sites around the country. To read more about polling place access, go to: http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/10/jefferson_county_agrees_with_d.html

    Opportunities for You!

    AccessibilityOnline Free Webinar Series: Transient Lodging Q & A

    December 1, 2016 2:30pm to 4:00pm
    Presented by the U.S. Access Board and the ADA National Network

    The Access Board will partner with the American Hotel and Lodging Association to provide an overview of the scoping and technical requirements for transient lodging facilities and to respond to your burning questions. Session participants are encouraged to submit your questions in advance regarding transient lodging facilities to include amenities, such as swimming pools, fitness facilities, spas, restaurants, and conference rooms offered by the facility.  To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110503

    Special Spotlight:  

    Disabled veterans find peace and fish during 'thank you' tournament at Table Rock Lake

    A group of 21 disabled Missouri veterans got an unusual "thank you" for their service Wednesday morning on the cool water of Table Rock Lake. They went fishing. Guided by professional bass anglers and local fishing experts, the veterans poked into coves and cast lures into fishy-looking spots during the first Fishing Dreams for Veterans fishing tournament. All the gear, lures and fast competition boats even special motor-powered reels for a few were provided free of charge to the former servicemen, who suffered a wide range of injuries during their military careers or after they got out.  To read more go to: http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2016/11/07/disabled-veterans-find-peace-and-fish-during-thank-you-tournament-table-rock-lake/93115116/

    For Free resources about veterans please visit NortheastADA.org

    http://www.northeastada.org/pages/webinars/#veterans  

     http://www.northeastada.org/docs/vets/Vets_Disabilities_Brief.pdf

    https://www.northeastada.org/docs/vets/Vets_Disabilities_Family_Brief.pdf


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Educating and Empowering: Northeast ADA Center Continues on Cornell Campus

    ILR's Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability has been awarded renewed grant funding to operate the Northeast ADA Center during the next five years. The center, located at the Yang-Tan Institute on the Cornell campus, is a neutral resource for companies, educational institutions, disability advocacy organizations and individuals. The Northeast ADA Center's mission is to provide a greater awareness of the Americans with Disabilities Act through information, referrals, resources and trainings focused on the equal opportunities that people with disabilities are guaranteed under federal law. "Our goal is to educate and empower the diverse range of ADA stakeholders throughout our region," said Wendy Strobel, director of the Northeast ADA Center. It covers New York State, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and is one of 10 ADA centers across the United States. "Specifically, we hope to increase their knowledge of the ADA to allow people to make better decisions regarding disability inclusiveness, and to implement the ADA in their own lives, workplaces, businesses and communities." The ADA is a comprehensive civil rights law designed to ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities in all aspects of society. The ADA addresses disability discrimination in employment, participation in state and local government activities, access to businesses open to the public such as hotels and restaurants, telecommunications access and other areas.
    Tied to the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability mission of advancing knowledge, policies and practices to enhance equal opportunities for all people with disabilities, the Northeast ADA Center provides trainings and technical assistance, and distributes materials on disability-related topics.
    "Our objectives are to improve ADA stakeholders' understanding of their rights and responsibilities under the ADA, as well as identify barriers to ADA compliance and develop innovative approaches to address these barriers," Strobel said. "Further, we strive to continuously improve our understanding of ADA stakeholders' needs for and use of our services, systematically enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our services, and increase the implementation of the ADA throughout our region."

    What's New in Our Region:

    Online Training from Puerto Rico on Accessible Tourism

    With the slogan "Tourism for Everyone", the Puerto Rico Tourism Company joins in the celebration of the International Tourism Month, sponsored by the World Tourism Association. As a result, this year they will have their sixth webinar cycle. It is geared towards the tourism industry in general, and promotes universal accessibility. 

    Accessible Tourism is a way of doing tourism that implies a collaboration between the different services in the industry. This gives access to people with special needs (mobility, vision, hearing and intellectual); allowing them to feel more independent with equality and dignity.

    One of the webinars focused on people with disabilities is titled: A Plan for an Accessible Tour through the Structures in Old San Juan. The session will be held on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm. Karen Rivera and Andy Rivera from the PRHBDS will be the speakers. You can sign up for the event visiting this link:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7012594279606574338      

    The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico Authorizes Damage Claims in Special Education Cases

    Those who have been students of the special education program in Puerto Rico since 1980, and did not receive the services needed for an appropriate education; their parents or legal guardians have until October 31, 2016 to file a claim for the damages suffered due to the noncompliance of the Department of Education. This is a result of a decision from the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, as part of the procedures of a class-action suit presented in 1980 by the parents of special education children, Rosa Lydia Velez v. DE.  The claimants have to comply with the requirements established in an edict authorized by the Court. For more information, visit: www.pleitodeclase.org.

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Up to Half of People Killed by Police Have Disabilities

    People with mental disabilities represent a large demographic of people killed by police. The lack of training for police officers to effectively communicate and interact with people with disabilities has contributed to this large percentage of deaths. The social stigma about talking about mental disorders has exacerbated this issue because it prevents police from learning how to assess these risks more appropriately. To read more go to: http://www.teenvogue.com/story/half-of-people-killed-by-police-have-disabilities

    EEOC Issues Final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues

    When an employee files a retaliation claim there are different standards to analyze than if the employee had filed a discrimination claim. Retaliation is when an employer takes action against an employee for taking part in a protected activity. In a retaliation claim, evidence against the employer could be anything that affects a normal person's engagement in a protected activity. For a discrimination claim, evidence against an employer must be much more specific and has to do with creating a hostile work environment.  To read more about EEOC guidance on retaliation go to: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/eeoc-issues-final-enforcement-guidance-17492/

    Ruling Is Mixed Bag for EEOC's Effort to Rein in Wellness Programs

    A federal district court ruled partially in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Sept. 19 in EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems Inc., a disability discrimination case involving an employer's wellness program. At one firm employees were given the choice to either complete medical exams that were part of the employee's wellness programs or pay the 100 percent of their premiums. This firm was sued but a federal district court ruled in favor of the employer. Because the firm did not force employees to complete the medical exams and only offered an incentive, the court found the employee's decision voluntary.  The court did allow that in moving forward, voluntary programs only provide a maximum financial incentive of thirty percent.  To read more about this go to: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/orion-eeoc-wellness-ruling.aspx

    An Employee with Diabetes Gets Fired Over a $1.69 Drink and Dollar General Must Now Pay Her $277,656.

    The EEOC settled a lawsuit where an employee was fired over management of her diabetes while on the job. The EEOC cites that companies need to train their employees how to better handle requirements of the American with Disabilities Act.  The employee with diabetes was notified that she could not have juice near her workplace. The employee drank an orange juice from the store after fearing a low sugar attack, and was fired over the company's "grazing" policy. The EEOC contends that his would not have happened if the basics of ADA were taught better to employees.  To read more go to: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/orion-eeoc-wellness-ruling.aspx

    U.S. Backs Consent Decree for 30 Hop Restaurant after Allegations of Failing to Meet ADA Standards

    The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that 30 Hop restaurant and bar in Coralville, Iowa, will enter a proposed consent decree to resolve allegations of violating the new construction requirements of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It did not allow access for people with disabilities to the rooftop patio or lower level. The decree says 30 Hop will work to make its facility comply with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design by, among other things, adding an elevator between the ground floor and rooftop patio. The restaurant also will pay a $17,500 civil penalty.  To read more go to: http://legalnewsline.com/stories/511012681-u-s-backs-consent-decree-for-30-hop-restaurant-after-allegations-of-failing-to-meet-ada-standards

    Jeff Flake to Introduce Bill that Proposes to "Fix" ADA Lawsuit Problems

    Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is planning to introduce a bill in Congress that would change the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The Senator wants to introduce a bill that will pause any ADA litigation for 120 days and give the business owners a chance to rectify the situation before needlessly bombarding them with expensive lawsuits. He contends that this will help small businesses by giving them time to adapt to ADA requirements in a much less hostile way than lawsuits.  To read more go to: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2016/09/29/jeff-flake-introducing-bill-that-proposes-to-fix.html

    Opportunities for You!

    Hot Topics in Reasonable Accommodation-Free Webinar

    Thursday, October 27th, 2016

    2:00 PM EDT - 3:30 PM EDT

    This webinar, presented by Jeanne Goldberg, Senior Attorney Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), will review court decisions issued in 2015-16 raising new reasonable accommodation issues and highlighting examples of employer pitfalls and best practices for ADA compliance.  You must register by October 26, 2016

    To register got to: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=zc9ug6cab&oeidk=a07ed8qm43x.

    Special Spotlight:  

    Shhh! America's most common workplace injury is hearing loss

    Around 22 million workers deal with dangerous levels of sound making hearing loss the most common workplace injury. Hearing loss can be debilitating and cause isolation from society as well as stress and anxiety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the most common work-related injury with approximately 22 million workers exposed annually to hazardous levels of occupational noise. Workers in the mining sector, followed by those in construction and manufacturing, are most likely to suffer from hearing impairment. An estimated $242 million is spent on worker's compensation annually for hearing loss disability, according to the Department of Labor.  To read more go to:

    http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/ap/shhh-america-s-most-common-workplace-injury-is-hearing-loss/article_e80226eb-0211-5eb0-9129-42d42698fdb3.html


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    The Northeast ADA Center now has a YouTube Channel!

    Check out our Northeast ADA Center YouTube Channel to learn more about what the Northeast ADA Center does and how we've made an impact in our region!  Each video is captioned with English and Spanish subtitles.  Visit: Northeast ADA Center YouTube Channel or go to www.YouTube.com and Search "Northeast ADA Center."

    You can also view these videos on our Northeast ADA Center website with a featured video on the home page at www.northeastada.org, or browse all of them, at http://northeastada.org/pages/media/.

    Northeast ADA Center Archived Webinars

    The Northeast ADA Center has a page dedicated to all of our previously live broadcasted webinars. Topics include Building Design, Employment, Research and Statistics, Veterans, Emergency Preparedness, Website Accessibility, Education, and more! To view an archived webinar, download the slides, listen to the audio, or view the transcript, visit, http://northeastada.org/pages/webinars/#archives.

    What's New in Our Region:

    Athletes Compete at Annual Special Olympic Games

    In early June, The College of New Jersey hosted 2,500 athletes at the Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) Summer Games. Some of the events included powerlifting, softball, and gymnastics. Each athlete qualified for the SONJ through success at previous area and sectional competitions. The SONJ started off with the 33rd annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, where thousands of NJ law enforcement officers express support by carrying the torch over 750 miles while raising money for the SONJ. Further, the Youth Activation Summits foster opportunities for young people to be leaders in athletics, academics, and communities. The SONJ provides an exciting and inclusive atmosphere for people with disabilities to display their athletic achievements.  To read more, go to: http://www.tcnjsignal.net/2016/08/30/athletes-compete-at-annual-special-olympic-games/

    Phillipsburg Aims to Make More Sidewalks ADA Compliant

    Phillipsburg, NJ town officials are seeking a $400,000 grant to improve the area's sidewalks and comply with ADA standards. The town has applied to the Public Facilities Fund portion of the Small Cities Community Block Grant Program, which helps municipalities meet important community development and housing demands. If accepted, the grant will be available for Phillipsburg's disposal in 2017.To learn more, go to: http://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-newjersey/phillipsburg-aims-to-make-more-sidewalks-ada-compliant/41240444

    New legislation aims to address adults with severe disabilities in PR

    Puerto Rico's new Act No. 105 of 2016, "The Access, Training and Extended Support for the Social Insertion of People with Disabilities of 22 Years of Age or More Act", intends to address the needs of the adult population with severe disabilities; who up to now have lacked adequate services.

    To meet this objective, the new Act creates the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Independent Living Division of the Department of Health of Puerto Rico. This Office will be responsible for offering the necessary services to empower people with disabilities, that are older than 22 years of age. It will also allow them to transition adequately to the work force, academic life, independent living, society and the community.

    The new government entity will operate based on the Federal Innovation and Work Force Opportunities Act. And it will address those adults with functional diversity that are not eligible for the available programs at the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration (ARV, by its acronym in Spanish).

    Regarding the allocation of funds, the law mandates the Department of Labor and Human Resources, Department of Health, Department of Education, Department of Family, Department of Sports and Recreation, the ARV, amongst other government agencies; to include in their annual budget request the necessary resources to comply with the new public policy.

    "The Office of Management and Budget will make the necessary arrangements to identify the mandatory funds to achieve the effective compliance with this law," states the legislation.

    For more information in Spanish, visit: http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/masatencionparaadultoscondiscapacidades-2233106/.

    Public hearings in the agency for the Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities in Puerto Rico

    The Office of the Ombudsman for People with Disabilities (DEPI, by its Spanish acronym), agency in charge of the federal programs for the protection and advocacy of those with developmental deficiencies and disabilities in Puerto Rico, held public hearings on September 8, 2016; in all of its regional offices regarding their work plans for these programs during the next fiscal year. In addition, this government agency will receive a visit from the Federal Agency that monitors it, the Administration for Community Living (ACL), from September 12 through 16, 2016.  Any person that wishes to issue any comments on the functioning of the DEPI, may send them directly to the Federal Agency at: ophelia.mclain@acl.hss.gov.

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Waterparks Work to be More Inclusive for Those with Autism

    Waterparks create an environment where children with autism can have fun, learn social skills, and overcome the threat of drowning, which is one of the biggest causes of death for this group. Gary Weitzen, executive director of the nonprofit Parents of Autistic Children, describes the importance of exposing children with autism to water and teaching them to swim regardless of the potential embarrassment. Some waterparks offer services in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act to improve the park experience for people on the autism spectrum. For example, waterpark operators offer special line-skipping privileges at designated times. However, there has been a debate as to what are reasonable accommodations for guests with disabilities to give them an equal experience as guests without a disability. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, that employs hospitable and accommodating policies, experienced a recent lawsuit. The parks once used the Guest Assistant Card (GAC) which allowed visitors to board attractions through "Fastpass" lanes with minimal wait times or simple skip the line altogether if no Fastpass line was available. However, visitors quickly began to abuse this program. So, in October 2013 Disney started a new program called Disability Access Service (DAS) which would give users a specific time slot in which they could avoid the line at a ride. In turn, guests sued-and continue to do so-saying this new system is restrictive and violates the ADA. So, many waterpark operators watch Disney's actions closely and have noted to include great flexibility in their scheduling and park readmission polices. To learn more, go to: http://www.aquaticsintl.com/facilities/waterparks-resorts/autism-at-the-waterpark_o

    LA Settles Largest Disability-Access Case Ever

    In late August, a federal judge in Los Angeles approved the largest disability access settlement in history, a $1.4 billion settlement to fix broken sidewalks and crosswalks to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. Over the next thirty years Los Angeles will be working to improve and install sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, and walkways to meet ADA standards. This settlement will make Los Angeles more accessible for people with mobility disabilities to get to work, participate in the community, and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. Further, under this settlement, people with disabilities can request improvements in their own neighborhood. To learn more, go to: http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/08/31/la-settles-largest-disability-access-case-ever.htm

    Regis Settles EEOC Claims over Claustrophobic Hair Stylist

    SmartSyle, a Minnesota-based Regis Corporation, will pay $60,000 after allegations of federal disability discrimination in obstruction of the ADA. Jacquez, a hairstylist at Smartsyle, was denied accommodations for her claustrophobia and had a reaction that landed her in the emergency room. Reportedly, Smartsyle refused to assist Jacquez with her medical leave and fired her. The EEOC determined that the management's conduct violated the ADA and the settlement provides an avenue for the employer to change its approach and communicate its commitment to its employees with disabilities. To learn more go to: http://legalnewsline.com/stories/511002363-regis-settles-eeoc-claims-over-claustrophobic-hair-stylist

    Justice Department Focuses on Police Treatment of Mentally Ill

    In Baltimore, MD, officers found themselves in violent confrontations with people with mental disabilities who, often times, have not committed any crimes. This was the first time the Justice Department has found that a police department's policies violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. This discovery will now lead to improvements within the police department's training and relationships with mental health specialists. However, there are still concerns that officers are being forced to act as the mental health system, facilitating society's reliance on arrests rather than seeking treatment for the mentally ill. Officers in other cities such as Seattle, Cleveland, Albuquerque, and Portland have also responded too quickly and violently in interactions with persons with disabilities.  To learn more go to: http://nj1015.com/justice-dept-focuses-on-police-treatment-of-mentally-ill/

    Settlement Agreement between the United States of America and McLean Hospital

    This Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice finds that McLean Hospital must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Facility, a three-story townhouse within McLean, denied "Ms. O" admission because of her need for wheelchair accessibility. So, "Ms. O" filed a complaint in violation of the ADA and received injunctive relief through this settlement. As a result of the settlement, the Facility needs to alter the first floor common area to meet ADA Standards to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Further, the Facility needs to provide alternative, off-site accessible housing for patients that cannot use the stairs and provide transportation for these patients to the Facility, their alternative housing, and any off-site locations. In addition, the Facility must train all of its staff on new policies. All of these policies must be implemented within the next 6 months. To learn more go to: https://www.ada.gov/mclean_sa.html

    Opportunities for You!

    Accessible Signage (a Refresher) - Free Webinar

    Thursday, October 6th, 2016
    2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT

    This session, presented by the Great Lakes ADA Center, will provide a refresher on requirements in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards for signs. Presenters will review provisions that address visual access, tactile signs, required access symbols and other pictograms.    

    Registration deadline is October 6, 2016.  You can register by going to: http://dev.accessibilityonline.org/ao/schedule

    Special Spotlight:

    Playground Grants Available

    To help your communities bring more play to children and families, GameTime has set aside significant playground grant funds toward the purchase of new playground systems. Through November 13, GameTime is offering up to 100% matching funds for new playground projects. Playground grant funds are available for PowerScape®, PrimeTime®, Xscape® and IONiX® play systems.

    Apply now! Playground grant funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis and only for a limited time. Don't miss out! To apply go to: http://www.gametime.com/grant/?utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=2016-playground-grant-1


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Free Webinar: State of the Community Virtual Conference: How the ADA Trainer/Leadership Network is Changing Local Communities

    September 21, 2016
    1-2pm EST
    Presenters: LaWanda Cook & Joe Zesski

    Since 2007, the Northeast ADA Center and its ADA National Network partners have trained hundreds of disability professionals, advocates, and others to present a carefully designed curriculum to affect change in attitudes and behaviors around disability inclusiveness. This national capacity building initiative is known as the ADA Trainer/Leadership Network (TLN).

    Collectively TLN members have conducted ADA training for thousands of civic organizations, businesses, municipalities, employers, and community groups. Tune in to learn more about the TLN and hear about the awesome work TLN members have done to increase understanding and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in their communities! To register, go to: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5664

    What's New in Our Region:

    Gala to honor champions of disability services

    The third annual Evening of Stars fundraising Gala, hosted by Ability Partners Foundation, is being held in Rochester, New York on September 30th. This Gala celebrates individuals who have made significant contributions to furthering the rights of those with disabilities as well as those who have had a major role in participating in the efforts of CP Rochester and Rochester Rehabilitation and in funding their missions. All proceeds from the Gala go directly to aiding individuals with disabilities through the programs provided by Happiness House, CP Rochester, and Rochester Rehabilitation, all of which are non-profit organizations dedicated to providing much-needed educational, housing, personal, health, and employment services to individuals with disabilities in upstate New York. To read more, go to: http://www.fltimes.com/news/gala-to-honor-champions-of-disability-services/article_a5ec313e-533b-11e6-b560-8b884f35ade7.html

    Joint Board of Elections Says No to U.S. D.O.J.'s Disabilities Act Settlement Agreement

    The U.S. Department of Justice found that a majority of polling locations in the U.S. Virgin Islands presented accessibility barriers to individuals with physical disabilities, thereby violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While the Department of Justice called for a settlement agreement with The Joint Board of Elections, the Board rejected a settlement and instead opted to vote for an extension whereby polling locations could be adjusted to reflect guidelines set forth in the ADA regarding the accommodation of individuals with disabilities during elections. The Board is confident that polling locations will reflect the Department of Justice's outline of necessary accommodations long before the summer ends and election season begins. To read more, go to: http://viconsortium.com/news-2/joint-board-of-elections-says-no-to-u-s-d-o-j-s-disabilities-act-settlement-agreement/

    Puerto Rican Athletes Participate in International Competitions

    In early August, the members of the Puerto Rico Federation of Wheelchair Basketball won gold in the "Spitfire Challenge" tournament held in Toronto, ON, Canada. To learn more about them, visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/FEBASIRUPR

    On a similar note, the PR Paralympic Committee delegation will participate in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil.  This delegation is comprised of three males and one female. The flag-bearer, Luis J. Perez, who works as a full time judo athlete joins Paola Acuña in swimming, Ricardo Rosario in archery, and Darvin Baez who was recently certified as a Paralympic athlete.

    The Paralympic athletes will be accompanied by their three trainers: Lourdes Vega, Abderraman Brenes, and Jose Reyes.  The delegation is completed by Dr. Edwardo Ramos as Chief Physician, President James Torres, Dialma Ortiz, Secretary General, and German Perez as Head of Mission.

    The members of the delegation were very pleased with the flag presentation activity, organized by the Hon. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla. They also thanked the Secretary of the Department of Sports and Recreation, Ramon Orta and his team for such an honorable activity.  Visit the PR Paralympic Committee's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PURParalaimpico   

    Meanwhile, the Puerto Rican Federation of Blind Athletes seeks to identify one hundred blind persons in PR that wish to participate in a meeting next November. In this meeting, they will discuss adapted sports for the blind and the opportunity to eventually participate in international sporting events. If you are blind, have a vision disability or have a family member that has been diagnosed with any of these conditions, contact deportistasciegos.pr@gmail.com, at 787-364-4272, or through their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Federaci%C3%B3n-Puertorrique%C3%B1a-De-Deportistas-Ciegos-Fepudeci-131881030314976/?fref=ts

    Training for Employers and Supporting Back to School in PR

    Support for Parents of Children with Disabilities (APNI, by its acronym in Spanish), which is the Center for Information and Training for Parents in Puerto Rico, will be carrying out trainings and focus groups funded by the State Council on Development Deficiencies (CEDD, by its acronym in Spanish) for employers with the goal of promoting labor inclusion of people with disabilities.

    On another note, as part of the back to school, many parents of Special Education students have to participate in the Planning and Placement Committees (COMPU, by its acronym in Spanish) and the reviews of the Individual Educational Plans (PEI, by its acronym in Spanish). APNI can assist them in this process.  APNI relies on advocate mothers who voluntarily provide free support during these processes. They also accompany parents to meetings.  For more information, call 787-763-4665 or email: centroinfo@apnipr.org, or visit their web page: http://apnipr.org or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/APNI-Apoyo-a-Padres-165304640239367/home

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    EEOC, Guardsmark settle allegations of ADA, GINA violations

    Guardsmark, a major provider of security services in North America, Puerto Rico and the U.K., has recently chosen to settle allegations that they requested private personal medical history from job applicants, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination ACT (GINA) in the process. Guardsmark purportedly asked applicants for their family medical histories and asked them to disclose any disabilities prior to offering these applicants employment, thereby violating these individuals' civil rights. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is working with Guardsmark to ensure that they pay their $329,640 settlement and that they adjust their hiring process to prevent any kind of discrimination against applicants based on their medical histories and whether or not they have disabilities. To read more, go to: http://legalnewsline.com/stories/510940426-eeoc-guardsmark-settle-allegations-of-ada-gina-violations

    Recruitment Program Participants Receive Judith C. Gilliom Award

    An awards ceremony was held by the U.S. Defense Department at the U.S. Access Board in honor of exemplary interns participating in the Workforce Recruitment Program who were nominated by their superiors for their excellence in the workplace and eagerness to achieve. The Defense Department's Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity's Workforce Recruitment Program is a program for individuals with disabilities who are currently enrolled in college or have recently earned a degree that strives to match highly skilled and motivated young people with disabilities with hiring managers. The awards ceremony specifically honored three individuals with disabilities with the Judith C. Gilliom Award, an award named after the founder of the Workforce Recruitment Program who was an outspoken advocate of the employment of individuals with disabilities, especially in federal government. To read more, go to: http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/857554/recruitment-program-participants-receive-judith-c-gilliom-award

    Workplaces Can Be Particularly Stressful For Americans with Disabilities, Poll Finds

    A survey regarding job satisfaction and the relationship between individuals' health and work lives from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health indicates that people living with disabilities face significantly greater adverse health effects from working than individuals who do not have disabilities. Upon closer inspection, the physical obstacles associated with commuting to and from work are some of the most stressful aspects of working for many individuals with physical disabilities, particularly for workers that require accommodations in transportation. To read more, go to: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/13/485261651/workplaces-can-be-particularly-stressful-for-disabled-americans-poll-finds

    Work in progress: An inside look at autism's job boom

    Finding and retaining employment has always been, and continues to be, a struggle for many individuals with autism spectrum disorders; however, many employers, from large companies to small not-for-profit startups, have recently begun heavily investing in the hiring and training of individuals with autism. Employees with autism are an untapped resource in many workplaces and as individuals with autism are increasingly exposed to more resources to guide and aid them in their career paths and job searches, more individuals on the spectrum are finding fulfilling jobs that allow them to be comfortable and productive in their work environment while maintaining independence through employment. While there has been a growth in opportunities for education and employment for individuals with autism, it is important to highlight that these opportunities are not universal and that there are countless challenges to bringing about greater diversity in the workplace. To read more, go to: https://spectrumnews.org/features/deep-dive/work-in-progress-an-inside-look-at-autisms-job-boom/

    How tech companies are making their apps more accessible to people with disabilities

    Tech giants are coming together now more than ever to improve software accessibility for individuals with disabilities. With companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft making massive strides in accommodating those with visual, hearing, mental, and physical impairments, the needs of individuals with disabilities are steadily becoming a larger focus for the creators of software and hardware around the world. The main challenge faced by experts working in accessibility labs is the overall lack of education that new hires have in terms of accommodating disabilities in that many individuals with technical expertise and various degrees in computer science, engineering, information science, etc. do not have a practical understanding of, or much exposure to, the needs of users with disabilities. However, major social media platforms and web developers are pushing for greater inclusion of those with disabilities and more widespread creation of accessibility technology, hopefully meaning that these technologies will soon become an industry standard. To read more, go to: http://theweek.com/articles/628552/how-tech-companies-are-making-apps-more-accessible-disabled

    ADHD is now classified as a specific disability under federal civil rights law

    With a soaring number of children being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the issue of whether or not children with ADHD or ADD are being given proper accommodations and attention in school has become a major topic. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education has taken a stance on the topic and mandated that schools across the U.S. follow specific guidelines explaining the responsibilities that educators and schools have to their students in terms of identifying children who may exhibit symptoms of ADHD and in terms of the accommodations that these children require and are entitled to under federal civil rights law. Failing to diagnose ADHD in children can lead to serious emotional and intellectual harm as they are not receiving the proper care and attention that their disability requires for them to have full educational and social experiences at school. These guidelines aim to clarify the role and responsibility that educators have in ensuring the education and well-being of all students. To read more, go to: http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-na-adhd-disability-us-department-of-education-20160725-snap-story.html

    "Am I Disabled?" For Millions, There's not always a Clear Answer

    The legal term "disabled" and the personal identifier "disabled" have highly different connotations and respective struggles. Many individuals grapple with identifying as someone with a disability in a culture that seems to blame many people with disabilities for straying from what is perceived as "normalcy", both physically and mentally. In addition, individuals with less obvious disabilities, such as individuals with milder physical impairments or mental disabilities, often find themselves questioning whether or not the term "disabled" applies to them and whether or not they have "enough" of a disability to claim this identity. On top of this, many people struggle tremendously with admitting that they have disabilities and require accommodations, as many definitions of "disabled" exist and while one may qualify as someone with a disability in one context, they might be perceived as fully able in another context. Overall, the issue of who can claim having a disability and who can and cannot join this community can tend to obfuscate the greater goal of improving accessibility for all people, regardless of the type or extent of their impairment. To read more, go to: https://www.good.is/features/life-with-a-minor-disability

    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar! Open Q & A with the U.S. Access Board

    9/1/2016 2:30 PM ET

    This is a regular session in the Board's webinar series that provides an opportunity to ask questions on any topic related to the Board's work and activities. Questions are welcome on the Board's accessibility requirements and rulemaking activities, including the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards, new standards being developed for medical diagnostic equipment, and other topics related to the Board's work. Accessibility specialists will answer questions submitted in advance during the first half of the session, leaving time in the second half to answer questions in the live session. To register, please visit: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/schedule/

    Special Spotlight:

    The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

    On September 7th, the opening ceremony will be held for the 2016 Paralympic Games. The opening and closing ceremonies are among the most waited for moments of the Games. They will set the tone of the event, paving the way to celebrate the competition schedule. Later on, when athletes bid farewell, they will reinforce their appreciation for the host city with a great social gathering. Famous for touching large audiences, they combine the sports tradition with the best cultural expressions of the city and country hosting the competitions. At the Paralympic Games, the opening ceremony will highlight the strength of Brazil and its people, who are used to overcoming challenges and demonstrating creativity. The closing ceremony of the Paralympic journey will be held on September 18th. It will be a new opportunity to celebrate Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, with that special feeling of looking back at the Games' best moments and handing over the Paralympic flag to Tokyo, next host of the Games in 2020. To learn more about the Paralympic Games, you can visit: https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics.


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Free Webinar: The ADA & Aging Americans

    Presented by: Jeffery Tamburo & Jennifer Perry
    August 10th 2016
    1pm - 2pm EST

    This webinar will discuss the intersection of America's aging population and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As the American population ages and more individuals join the ranks of senior citizens, more Americans inevitably will have disabilities, and in turn, benefit from this landmark civil rights law. Title I of the ADA, which covers employment, requires that reasonable accommodations be made available to qualified senior workers with disabilities. Titles II and III of the ADA mandate access to programs, goods, and services by people with disabilities, including requirements that largely benefit older American's as they participate in community life. We will review how these various ADA regulations benefit an aging population by discussing several key areas of the law that directly impact older Americans. To register go to: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5662

    What's New in Our Region:

    Electronic Voting Machines are Not Accessible to Blind People in PR

    When the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission (CEE, by its acronym in Spanish) acquired the electronic voting machines, which it used for the first time during the June 5th Primaries, they didn't take into consideration blind people. The machines do not have the technology needed to guarantee the secret right to vote for some 300,000 voters who have some form of visual impairment. The recently acquired machines -purchased through a $38 million dollar contract- are not equipped with screen readers, or screen magnifiers, that would allow blind people to correctly cast their vote independently and in secret; when they insert their ballots into said electronic ballot box. This was publicly denounced by Nestor Alonso, house candidate by accumulation for the New Progressive Party (PNP, by its acronym in Spanish), who is visually impaired. To read more in Spanish, go to:  http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/politica/nota/ceenopensoenciegosaladquirirmaquinasdeescrutinioelectronico2193200/

    Amphibious Chairs for People with Disabilities Inaugurated at a PR Beach Club

    The Mayor of the Municipality of Vega Baja, Marcos Cruz Molina, acquired 3 amphibious chairs to be used by people with disabilities at the Municipal Beach Club. This initiative emerged after Edwin Fernandez Lugo, a 43 year old Muscular Dystrophy patient, asked the Mayor for one. As part of the project a new access path was created from the parking lot to the sidewalk, close to the lifeguard tower. The schedule is from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The three chairs cost $4,957, and the total cost was approximately $7,000. The service is free of charge and may also be used by non-local residents. To read more in Spanish, go to:

    http://www.primerahora.com/noticias/puerto-rico/nota/inauguranproyectodesillasparaimpedidosenbalneariopuertonuevo-1156991/

    Dwarfism Included as a Disability for the use of Accessible Parking in PR

    Through Law 42 of 2016, the Government of Puerto Rico amended the Vehicle and Transit Act of PR to include dwarfism among the disabilities for which a removable authorized handicapped parking sign may be requested. The amendment also allows for people with dwarfism to not have to renew the medical certificate required to obtain said removable sign. The proposed act, filed on behalf of Maria Fernanda de Puig Muñoz, a fifteen year old teenager, was analyzed by the Commission for Infrastructure, Urban Development and Transportation of the Puerto Rico Senate at a public hearing and was backed by the organization, Little People of America. Dwarfism or dysplasia, which affects people who are 4 feet 11 inches (1.25 meters) or less, is one of the diversities for which no census is available in Puerto Rico. To read more in Spanish, go to:

    http://www.diariolasamericas.com/5051_portada-america-latina/3802438_incluyen-enanismo-como-tipo-discapacidad-a-la-hora-de-aparcar-en-puerto-rico.html

    N.J. Employers No Longer Able To Shrink NJLAD Lawsuit Time Limits

    Overturning two lower court decisions, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Sergio Rodriguez in the case of Rodriguez v. Raymours Furniture Co. Inc.  This case was about whether or not employers could shorten the period of time employees have to file discrimination claims under the New Jersey Law against Discrimination (NJLAD). The lower courts had held that the company was allowed to do this because they had made the provision extremely clear in the application signed by Rodriguez. The New Jersey Supreme court saw differently though and overturned the previous decisions unanimously. One of the reasons behind their reasoning is that the court felt that "this time limit and constraints ran contrary to the public-interest purpose of the NJLAD, designed to eradicate discrimination from New Jersey workplaces". The result of this decision is that employees will have the full two year statute of limitation that the NJLAD provides, if they want to pursue litigation. To read more go to: http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/503164/employment+litigation+tribunals/NJ+Employers+No+Longer+Able+To+Shrink+Lawsuit+Time+Limits

    It's official: New York is Making it Easier for Students with Disabilities to Graduate This Year

    New York has recently approved new rules regarding its Regents exams. The Regents exams are standardized tests given to students before graduation. Students who pass the tests graduate with state Regents diplomas, while those who do not pass or do not take the test, graduate with a local diploma. The new rule that was implemented allows students with disabilities to earn their local diploma taking just Regents exams, English and math, instead of four to five tests previously required. It is expected that these new rules will impact approximately 2,200 students this year. There has been some backlash about this new rule in both directions. Some feel that trying to make it easier for students with disabilities to graduate sends the wrong message to those students, while others feel that this change does not do enough to help students with disabilities graduate. To read more go to: http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2016/06/13/its-official-new-york-is-making-it-easier-for-students-with-disabilities-to-graduate-this-year/

    Taxi Company Accused of Denying Service to Deaf Caller

    A New Jersey taxi company has been accused by the state Attorney General's office of illegally denying service to a deaf woman who was using a telecommunications relay system to get service during a snowstorm. The report states that the plaintiff called the taxi service using a relay service three times, but was hung up on the first two times and asked to "please stop calling" on the third call. The complaint accuses the taxi company of failing to provide a "reasonable accommodation" for a person with a disability. To read more go to: http://www.nj.com/passaic-county/index.ssf/2016/06/taxi_company_accused_of_discriminating_against_dea.html

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act by 2018 Comes with Big Price Tag for Jacksonville

    In 2013, Jacksonville and the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to a five-year settlement agreement that stipulates that Jacksonville must be in compliance with the ADA by 2018. Lori Boyer, a current city council member who will become president of the council starting July 1, has noted that even though the city has budgetary constraints stemming from the cities $2.87 billion debt, that "complying with the ADA requirements will be a top priority." To read more go to: http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2016-06-22/story/big-tab-americans-disabilities-compliance-coming-due-jacksonville

    Attorney Carney Shegerian Comments on Disability Discrimination Suit Against Lowe's

    A settlement was recently reached between the law firm Shegerian & Associates and Lowe's. The original lawsuit brought by Shegerian & Associates against Lowe's alleges that Lowe's refused to hire applicants with disabilities and refused reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities. The lawsuit also alleged that applicants to Lowe's that were 'regarded as' having a disability were not hired, according to Carney Shegerian, the founder of the law firm. Lowe's agreed to a settlement of $8.6 million. To read more about this settlement, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/attorney-carney-shegerian-comments-on-disability-discrimination-suit-against-lowes-300288327.html

    Kroger to Pay $33,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

    The Kroger Company of Michigan is a large grocery store chain with stores throughout Michigan. The EEOC found that Kroger hired an employee as a stock person, but because of a back impairment, gave her the reasonable accommodation of working as a cashier. After a few months though, the company found out that the employee's restrictions were permanent and terminated her. Because "such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act" the EEOC filed a suit against Kroger. The three year settlement agreement provides for injunctive relief, training on the ADA, and reporting to EEOC, among other items. To read more, please visit: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/kroger-to-pay-33-000-to-settle-eeoc-40788/

    BELL Program Helps Students with Disabilities Attend College

    The BELL Program, (Bridge to Earning, Living, and Learning), just had its inaugural graduating class at Roberts Wesleyan College this year. The Bell Program, "is a two-year, inclusive postsecondary certificate program for students ages 18-26 with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are transitioning to adulthood." The purpose of the program is to improve opportunities for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities after graduation from high school. To read more go to: http://www.mpnnow.com/news/20160622/bell-program-helps-students-with-disabilities-attend-college

    Paralyzed Veterans of America Releases Statement Calling for Air Carrier Access Act Improvements

    This article highlights the Paralyzed Veterans of America and its pursuit to make air travel easier and more accommodating, not only for paralyzed veterans, but for all people with disabilities. Since Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act does not cover airlines, the statute in place to ensure airline accommodations for people with disabilities is The Air Carrier Access Act. While this is helpful, it can be improved upon because as of now, "unlike other civil rights laws, this law lacks a guaranteed private right of action. Consequently, people with disabilities typically receive little, if any, redress to their specific grievances." That is why the Paralyzed Veterans of America is currently pushing for additional provisions to be implemented. To read more go to: http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/paralyzed-veterans-america-releases-statement-calling-air-carrier-access-act-improvements-2136822.htm

    Opportunities for You!

    The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is conducting a study of adults with physical disabilities.

    We want to know about your barriers to employment as well as resources that you need to support your work/career goals. In addition, we are interested in knowing how you find information on employment services and supports. The target groups for the study are:

    • Adults with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or other physical disabilities;
    • Adults between the ages of 18 and 65; and
    • You may be employed or unemployed to participate.

    To be eligible to participate, you must be a U.S. citizen and be able to provide legal consent.

    Participants will complete an online survey requiring approximately 20 minutes. One hundred participants will be randomly selected to receive a $25 gift card. However, there is no guarantee that everyone who completes the survey will be selected to receive the gift card.

    If you are interested in participating, the VCU-RRTC needs your consent. You may do this by following the link below to read more about the study, review the survey questions, and give your consent.

    http://www.worksupport.com/employment

    If you do not have a physical disability but know people who might like to participate, please forward this information.

    If you have questions or need special accommodations to participate in the study, please contact:

    Dr. Katherine Inge
    VCU-RRTC
    P.O. Box 842011
    Richmond, Virginia 23284-2011
    kinge@vcu.edu
    804-828-5956
    TTY: (804) 828-2494

    Special Spotlight:  

    July Marks the 26th Anniversary of the ADA!

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. Throughout the year and on the ADA Anniversary, the ADA National Network participates in celebrating this landmark event as a way of bringing attention to the important work that has been done to promote equal opportunity for people with disabilities and to highlight the work that is yet to be done. Please visit the following link to learn more about the timeline and history of the ADA and to access the ADA Anniversary Tool Kit. https://adata.org/ada-anniversary


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Employer Panel: Disability Inclusiveness Practices and the Just-in-Time Program-Free Webinar

    Presented By Hannah Rudstam, Wednesday June 22nd from 1:00pm to 2:00pm EST

    During this interactive webinar, employers across a variety of sectors will discuss disability inclusiveness practices in their organizations and their implementation of the Just-in-Time (JIT) approach.  Participants will have a chance to pose questions to these employers and discuss the challenges, strategies, solutions and opportunities they experienced in using the JIT approach and cultivating disability inclusive organizations.  To register go to: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5660

    How Can We Help? The Impact of Technical Assistance

    Presented By: Joe Zesski and the TA Team at the Northeast ADA Center, Wednesday, July 13th 1:00 pm to 2:00 PM EST

    The Northeast ADA Center's technical assistance team provides one-on-one, on-demand ADA guidance to any stakeholder in the region, New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The team connects individuals and organizations with targeted resources and information, and assists with ADA and disability related issues. Because the Northeast ADA Center fields questions from individuals, businesses, educational institutions, state and local governments, disability services and other professionals, we are in a unique position to gather data about common and recurring issues across the region. This webinar will share what the Northeast ADA has learned from its technical assistance data about the most common ADA/disability related issues impacting the region and who is reaching out to the Northeast ADA Center for guidance. This webinar also will highlight outcomes experienced by individuals and organizations who have received technical assistance support from the Northeast ADA.

    To register, go to: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5661

    What's New in Our Region:

    Judge approves overhaul of Access-A-Ride, makes it easier for passengers with disabilities to appeal denial of service

    A judge has approved an overhaul of the Access-A-Ride application process, making it easier for people with disabilities to appeal decisions by the transportation service.  Manhattan Federal Court Judge Jesse Furman greenlighted a settlement between the five plaintiffs with disabilities and the MTA, which operates Access-A-Ride.  Under the settlement, the service will provide applicants given limited privileges or denied outright details why that decision was made.  Previously, applicants received generic denial letters.  "We're glad that New York City Transit agreed to change its procedures and policies to give people who depend on these services a fair shot," said Nahid Sorooshyari, an attorney at MFY Legal Services. To read more go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/access-a-ride-overhaul-disabled-people-appeals-article-1.2644550

    Niagara Q&A: Whalen's a man on a mission in promoting access for people with disabilities

    David V. Whalen has a mission - to educate others to treat all people with dignity, respect, equity, and inclusion, particularly people with disabilities.  Recognizing this need, Whalen started his own company, Disability Awareness Training, in 2004.  He now heads Niagara University's First Responder Disability Awareness Training (DAT) program, which he established through a state grant in 2010. Whalen focuses specifically on training first-responders - those in law enforcement and fire and emergency medical services agencies, as well as emergency management personnel, service providers and other disability advocates.   "I brought my business to Niagara and it's been a very successful relationship," he said.  And people have taken notice. This spring, Whalen was named Advocate of the Year by Deaf Access Services of Western New York.

    To read more go to: http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/niagara-county/niagara-qa-whalens-a-man-on-a-mission-in-promoting-access-for-the-disabled-20160605

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Justice Department Files Statement of Interest Regarding Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation

    On May 19, 2016, the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a Statement of Interest (SOI) in Golden v. Indianapolis Housing Agency, No. 15-cv-00766 (S.D. Ind.).  Our SOI clarifies the proper interpretation of Section 504 and the ADA with respect to an employer's obligation to consider a request for additional, unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation and its obligation to evaluate whether an employee who seeks an accommodation is qualified.  Specifically, we argue that an employer must consider an employee's request for additional, unpaid leave as a request for a reasonable accommodation if the additional leave is necessary to enable an employee with a disability to return to work after treatment and care of a disability-related condition, even if the employer has a policy limiting the number of weeks employees can take medical-related leave.  We further argue that it is inappropriate to consider whether the employee could perform the essential functions of her job during the time period she requested disability-related leave as a reasonable accommodation.  Instead, we argue that the correct assessment of whether an employee is a qualified individual should be made as of the date the employee anticipates returning to work-i.e., at the end of the leave of absence the employee is requesting

    For more information, visit the ADA website at, www.ADA.gov.  Those interested in finding out more about the ADA may also call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY).

    Improvement Seen In Disability Employment

    The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is down significantly, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday.  Figures released in the agency's monthly jobs report show that the jobless rate for Americans with disabilities fell to 9.7 percent in May, down from 10.7 percent the month prior.  The shift comes as the economy as a whole added just 38,000 jobs and the unemployment rate for the general population declined slightly to 4.7 percent.  Federal officials began tracking employment among people with disabilities in October 2008. There is not yet enough data compiled to establish seasonal trends among this population, so statistics for this group are not seasonally adjusted.  Data on people with disabilities covers those over the age of 16 who do not live in institutions. The first employment report specific to this population was made available in February 2009. Now, reports are released monthly.

    To view this article go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2016/06/03/jobs-may-16/22366/

    Opportunities for You!

    Rights of Veterans with Disabilities in Employment, Housing and Transportation-Free webinar

    Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 2:00 AM EDT - 3:30 AM EDT

    This webinar will focus on federal laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), as they apply to veterans with disabilities. Topics will include reasonable accommodation in the workplace and non-discrimination in housing and traveling by bus, train, or plane. This webinar is suitable for service providers and advocates who may work with veterans, and veterans with disabilities interested in learning more about their rights under federal law in employment, housing, and transportation.

    To register go to: http://dev.accessibilityonline.org/ADA-Audio/schedule

    Special Spotlight:  

    Two Hawk Employment Services to Pay $30,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

    Two Hawk Employment Services, LLC, a Lumberton, N.C., temporary employment agency, will pay $30,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. EEOC had charged that Two Hawk violated federal law when it made illegal medical inquiries of job applicants and failed to retain employment applications as required by federal law. The suit also alleged Two Hawk failed to hire an applicant because she disclosed her disability during the application process.  According to EEOC's complaint in the lawsuit, Nicole Bullard applied for employment with Two Hawk in May 2013. Bullard was required to fill out a medical history form during the application process. The complaint states that the form asked Bullard to identify medical conditions she has or had in the past, as well as to disclose whether she was taking any medications that might affect her ability to perform the essential functions of the job she sought. The form further asked Bullard to state whether she had physical or mental conditions that require accommodation, and whether she had any restrictions in activity. EEOC's complaint indicates that in response to the application's questions, Bullard disclosed that she was taking two prescription medications.  To read more go to: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/two-hawk-employment-services-to-pay-30000-to-settle-eeoc-disability-discrimination


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Reaching Employers about Disability Inclusiveness: The Just-in-Time Program-Free webinar

    Presented by: Hannah Rudstam Wednesday June 8, 2016 1:00pm to 2:00pm EST

    More than 25 years after the passing of the ADA, people with disabilities still face barriers and discrimination in employment.  One key to bringing about change lies in creating more powerful approaches to reaching employers.  The Just-in-Time (JIT) Program is based on the idea that we need to reach those key players who are most likely to make decisions that impact the employment lives of people with disabilities:  Managers and supervisors.  During this session, we will review research on employment discrimination, provide an overview of the JIT Program and discuss our evaluation findings.

    To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5659

    What's New in Our Region:

    New York City Enacts Accessibility Standards for Government Websites

    On March 14, 2016 New York City became the first major municipality in the United States to adopt legislation mandating accessibility standards for all of its government agency websites, of which there are more than 120 agencies staffed by approximately 325,000 employees.  The website legislation (Intro. 683-A) was among three disability access bills that Mayor Bill De Blasio signed into law on the same day, along with legislation requiring that each city agency have a disability service facilitator, and another law requiring the city to publicize all available accommodations.  The new City law underscores that the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA ("WCAG 2.0 AA") is increasingly becoming the de facto standard for website accessibility.

    Read more at: http://www.adatitleiii.com/2016/04/new-york-city-enacts-accessibility-standards-for-government-websites/

    Federal judge: Religious Schools not Required to Serve Students with Disabilities

    New Jersey Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez ruled Haddonfield Friends School was exempt from federal and state disability laws, because it was a religious institution.  He found that the small Quaker school had not discriminated against a 10-year-old fourth grader with attention dysfunction and dyslexia who was expelled in January 2014.  The parents of this young boy, Sky Rota, filed suit in 2014, alleging that Haddonfield Friends did not provide the recommended assistance and that Sky's teachers belittled him in class.  Furthermore, when his parents continued to press their concerns, Haddonfield Friends retaliated by expelling him, the suit contends.  Although Judge Rodriguez dismissed the portion of the suit dealing with the discrimination claims under disabilities laws, the part involving the alleged retaliation will continue in the federal court in New Jersey.

    Read more at: http://articles.philly.com/2016-04-03/news/71997955_1_sky-suit-disabilities-act

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Netflix Agrees To Add Audio Description to Many of its Shows and DVD Rentals

    Netflix has entered into an agreement with the American Council of the Blind, the Massachusetts-based Bay State Council of the Blind, and a blind individual, to add "audio descriptions" to many of the programs offered on its video streaming and DVD rental service.  Under the agreement, by December 31, 2016, Netflix will provide audio description for many popular titles in its streaming and disc rental libraries.  Netflix will also make its website and mobile application accessible to individuals who are blind and use screen-reading software to access its site and app.  The agreement is part of a continuing trend in which businesses are voluntarily taking action to make their websites and mobile applications more accessible.

    Read more at: http://www.adatitleiii.com/2016/04/netflix-agrees-to-add-audio-description-to-many-of-its-shows-and-dvd-rentals/?utm_source=Seyfarth+Shaw+-+ADA+Title+III+News+%26+insights&utm_campaign=c586227c90-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_decb46f1f5-c586227c90-70397889

    UW Students Create Gloves Which Translate Sign Language into Spoken English

    University of Washington Sophomores Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor have developed a product called "SignAloud" which involves gloves with built-in sensors that read the wearer's hand positions and movements, then wirelessly transmit them to a computer. The computer then runs the information through a gesture database, using an algorithm to determine the best translation, which is then spoken. While there are other sign language translation devices already on the market, many are bulky or awkward and difficult for daily use. Wanting the ASL community to have a practical translating device, Azodi and Pryor designed SignAloud to be an overall improvement of the alternatives.  Although designed with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in mind, the gloves have potential for commercial use in other fields, such as monitoring stroke patients and enhancing dexterity in virtual reality.

    Read more at: http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/04/26/uw-students-create-gloves-which-translate-sign-language-into-spoken-english/

    Jillian Mercado made it as a model with a disability. Here's what she wants next.

    Mercado, who was diagnosed with spastic muscular dystrophy as a teen, was first hired as a model for a Diesel Jeans ad campaign two years ago.  Last year, Mercado signed with IMG Models, the powerhouse agency that represents top supermodels like Gisele Bündchen, Kate Moss and Heidi Klum alongside an increasingly diverse lineup of rising stars.  Mercado's rapid ascent has been cheered by major media outlets as a victory for the 53 million disabled American adults who rarely see themselves represented in high-profile advertisements.  She's not the first disabled model to find success in an industry driven by conventional beauty norms, but she is one of a handful exceptions to the rule that individuals with disabilities in the modeling agency, although the hope is that her success will continue to open the door for more opportunities to be presented in the modeling industry to people with disabilities.

    Read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/04/28/jillian-mercado-made-it-as-a-model-with-a-disability-heres-what-she-wants-next/

    Disability Awareness Assembly Encourages 'Different' Friendships

    A high school in Schuylkill County PA held a disability awareness assembly on April 27, 2016 in an effort to teach its students how to interact with people considered "disabled."  The assembly brought attention to how students with disabilities often have schooling experiences that differ greatly from other students.   The goal is to help teach students how to embrace and include classmates with disabilities, how to strike up a conversation, new friendships.  The school plans to continue the event annually until the faculty believes it is no longer necessary to educate students on how to treat students with disabilities.

    Read more at: http://wnep.com/2016/04/27/disability-awareness-assembly-encourages-different-friendships/

    Study Suggests Inherited Learning Disability Could One Day be Treated with a Pill

    An inherited learning disability similar to autism - called Fragile X - could one day be treated with a pill, a new study suggests.  Using an experimental drug originally designed to treat cancer, researchers in the US found they were able to restore the memories of mice genetically engineered to have the currently incurable condition.  While the research was carried out in mice, it is thought the drug could have a similar effect in humans.  Professor Xinyu Zhao, the lead researcher on the study, said it was more likely that a drug would be able to reduce the symptoms of the condition than provide an outright cure.

    Read more at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/inherited-learning-disability-could-one-day-be-treated-with-a-pill-study-suggests-a7004001.html

    Opportunities for You!

    Program Access to Historic Sites-Free webinar

    Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 2:00 PM EST - 3:30 PM EST

    Ray Bloomer
    Accessibility Specialist National Park Service
    Director of Education and Technical Assistance National Center on Accessibility

    This webinar will identify and discuss key issues of programmatic access specifically relating to historic sites. It will define program access and also discuss the key principles of program access as it relates to Section 504 and Title II of the ADA. Discussion will include methods and reasons for modifications of policies, practices, and procedures. It will also show examples by which access can be provided in historic areas while preserving the historic integrity of the site.

    Register at: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ecj49rx091b08d... (link is external)

    Special Spotlight:  

    Department of Justice Announces New Website Feature

    The Department of Justice has launched a new Accessible Technology section for ADA.gov, its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Web site, to further assist covered entities and people with disabilities to understand how the ADA applies to certain technologies, such as Web sites, electronic book readers, online courses, and point-of-sale devices.  Covered entities have longstanding obligations to make their programs, goods, services, and activities accessible-including those they provide online or via other technology.  The new Web pages compile in one place the Department's technical assistance and guidance about accessible technology, as well as information about the Department's accessible technology enforcement efforts, regulation development, and other federal accessible technology resources and initiatives.

    To find out more about the ADA, visit ADA.gov or call the Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY). 


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Building Trust & Openness: The Human Side of Disability in the Workplace-Free webinar

    May 11th 2016 1:00-2:00 pm EST

    When many people think of disability in the workplace, they think of the law. This is understandable; there are several important laws prohibiting disability discrimination at work.  Yet, a key issue for both people with disabilities and employers is more on the human side of disability inclusiveness.  How can employers build a climate of trust in their organizations so that people with disabilities are willing to come forward?  Or, how can applicants and employees with disabilities make decisions about when to trust an employer to disclose a disability?  Trust is difficult to define, hard to build and easy to destroy.  During this webinar, we will discuss some basic concepts around trust-building and why it is important.  Then, we will review research on disability, trust and disclosure.  Finally, we will provide practical tips on trust and the disability disclosure decision for both employers and people with disabilities.  Register at: http://www.northeastada.org/pages/events/index.cfm?Show=month&CURRENTDATE=05%2F04%2F16

    What's New in Our Region:

    N.J.'s autism rate higher than ever - but rest of the country catching up

    According to a federal study, New Jersey's autism rate continues to climb and is still highest in the nation, with the number of children diagnosed with autism having increased 12% in a two year period.  However, experts still don't know if New Jersey families are more likely to have an autistic child, or whether New Jersey schools and doctors are simply better at diagnosing them.  While New Jersey looks at both school and medical records to come up with its number, some of the 10 other states in the ongoing study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don't have access to school records, which helps to explain some of the disparity in number of cases.  The study shows the way autistic children are diagnosed around the country is still inconsistent and subject to changes from year to year. To read more, go to: http://www.nj.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2016/04/njs_autism_rate_higher_than_ever_-_but_rest_of_the.html

    A How to Guide for Disabled Housing Seekers

    With her 33-year-old disabled daughter living happily in a supervised Phillipsburg apartment, Lorraine D'Sylva-Lee said "a piece of my heart tears whenever a family asks how can we do what you did."  Finding the right match for Aaliya's many needs took years of work and advocacy, D'Sylva-Lee said - right down to locating her daughter's skilled aide and dentist who figured out how to control her daughter's tantrums.  On Wednesday, the Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey simplified the work for the tens of thousands of families in the state who struggle with these decisions and the complicated government bureaucracies that pay for them. Read more at: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/04/disabled_and_looking_for_affordable_housing_heres.html

    Elevating New York: The MTA Needs to Lift Up Disabled and Elderly Passengers

    Only 23 percent of New York City subways are accessible to disabled passengers. The Federal Transit Administration recently recommended that the MTA add more elevators to its 469 stations, making it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While the citywide upgrade would come at a cost of $1.7 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal, it would be a highly beneficial undertaking. As the FTA reports, New York paradoxically has the most ADA-compliant systems among the 10 largest subway systems in the country but the smallest percentage of accessible stations.  Dancer Claire van Bever learned this all too well after undergoing surgery and convalescing in New York.  When returning to the subway she found that no station near her Greenpoint apartment was ADA accessible. To read more go to: http://observer.com/2016/04/elevating-new-york-the-mta-needs-to-lift-disabled-and-elderly-passengers/

    National Disability Institute, Spring Bank and Bronx Independent Living Services Launch Assistive Technology Loan Program in New York

    The National Disability Institute (NDI), in partnership with Spring Bank and Bronx Independent Living Services (BILS), announced today the launch of an Assistive Technology (AT) Loan Program in selected areas of New York. The NDI AT Loan Program will provide low-interest loans to people with disabilities, seniors and veterans through participating financial institutions. Spring Bank will be the first bank to pilot this groundbreaking loan program.  Assistive Technology (AT) loans include home and vehicle modification, ramps, computers, hearing aids and other equipment that will increase individuals' independence, productivity and quality of life. Loans will range from $500 to a maximum of $10,000 at eight percent interest, and with terms up to 36 months. Read more at: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/national-disability-institute-spring-bank-160519704.html

    United Spinal Association & New York City Reach Settlement on Curb Ramp Installation & Upkeep

    United Spinal Association and New York City have agreed to expand a ground-breaking 2002 settlement in a class action lawsuit that requires the City to install and upgrade wheelchair curb ramps at all of its street corners.  Under the new agreement, the City will continue to spend $20 million per year and will spend another $87.6 million through Fiscal Year 2017 to finish installing and upgrading curb ramps City-wide - all in addition to the $243 million that the City has spent under the 2002 settlement to ramp 97% of its 158,738 corners, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Read more at: https://www.yahoo.com/news/united-spinal-association-york-city-reach-settlement-curb-131000763.html

    ADA Accessible Puerto Rican Theater Festival

    The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and the Puerto Rican Athenaeum are the organizers of the 57th Annual Puerto Rican Theater Festival from March to October 2016.  This festival is dedicated to Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, Founder of the Athenaeum and father of Puerto Rico's theater.  Every Sunday function will have audio-description, and sign language interpretation for attendees that have a visual or auditory disability.  For more information, please call 787-724-0700 ext. 1320 or 1324, or visit: http://icp.pr.gov/comunicados/721-57-festival-teatro-icp.  You can also read more details about the plays to be performed in the following Facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/events/814258652017994/.

    Sports games to be inclusive in Puerto Rico

    The PR Department of Recreation and Sports will organize the Puerto Rico Games from May 28th to June 4th.  This event will consist of 35 sports, including 18 adapted sports.  Among the adapted sports are: athletics, basketball, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, swimming, volleyball, tennis, and martial arts.  For more information, please contact Lissette Ortiz, Recreational Events Coordinator at 787-721-2800 ext. 4329 or via email at locollaz@drd.pr.gov.  For registration, visit:

    http://www.drdpuertorico.com/juegos2016/inscripcion-juegos-pr-2016/

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Spectrum of Options Seminar: Autism, Faith Communities and Inclusion

    As its final free Spectrum of Options Seminar Series of this season, The Children's Institute will present "Autism, Faith Communities and Inclusion" on Tuesday, April 26, 2016.  This workshop, appropriate for parents, caregivers and faith leaders, will explore how all faith communities can become more inclusive of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  The event will feature a panel of religious and lay leaders from various religious traditions who have created inclusive faith communities that have successfully integrated individuals with special needs and their families. Discussion will focus on the practical steps faith communities can take to fully engage special needs families.  Read more at:  https://www.tapinto.net/towns/verona-slash-cedar-grove/categories/news/articles/spectrum-of-options-seminar-autism-faith-commun

    New push to keep seniors in home, community-based programs

    The federal government is pushing states to keep more low-income seniors out of institutions and, instead, enroll them in home-and community-based programs.  By 2050, the number of seniors older than 85 is expected to triple to more than 18 million. These seniors tend to have the highest disability rate and greatest need for long-term care.  Demand for long-term care is rising rapidly.  Read more at: http://nj1015.com/new-push-to-keep-seniors-in-home-community-based-programs/

    Discrimination arising from disability: five examples from case law

    These 5 cases: Griffiths v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Waddingham v. NHS Business Services Authority, Horler v. Chief Constable of South Wales Police, Pnaiser v. NHS England and another, Land Registry v. Houghton, and others all highlight different issues regarding treatment of employees with disabilities in the workplace.  When enacting policies, employers need to be careful to accommodate individuals with disabilities and to ensure said individuals are not being discriminated against.  Read more at: http://www.personneltoday.com/hr/discrimination-arising-from-disability-case-law-five-examples/

    New syndrome named, causes a rare intellectual disability

    Pediatric researchers, using high-speed DNA sequencing tools, have identified a new syndrome that causes intellectual disability (ID). Drawing on knowledge of the causative gene mutation, the scientists' cell studies suggest that an amino acid supplement may offer a targeted treatment for children with this condition.  The study team analyzed DNA samples from 13 affected children from nine unrelated families, along with DNA from the children's healthy parents. "This work highlights how modern genetic approaches can uncover disease-causing variants in phenotypically heterogeneous samples that involve the same gene and molecular pathway," said one researcher.  Read more at: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/chop-nsn040416.php

    Steps for parenting a child with a disability

    The Sunday Gleaner in association with the National Parenting Support Commission provide a guide to parenting a child with a disability.  Their message revolves around how offering the appropriate parental support to a child with a special disability or to one who requires additional attention, but the extra effort put forth is done so in the name of love.  The creators of the guide understand the difficult situation facing parents and strive to alleviate some of the burden parents feel.  Read more at: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20160403/steps-parenting-child-disability

    Disability Rights Ohio sues Gov. John Kasich, state officials

    Advocates for disabled Ohioans filed a class-action lawsuit against Gov. John Kasich and the state of Ohio over what they say is illegal segregation of institutionalized people with disabilities. The lawsuit alleges people with intellectual or developmental disabilities who want to live and work in their communities can't because of limited state funding. Last year's state budget allocated millions of dollars for additional waivers, but Disability Rights Ohio Executive Director Michael Kirkman said the money won't fix problems with how the waivers are awarded. Read more at: http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2016/03/disability_rights_ohio_sues_jo.html

    Disability Unemployment Rate Sees Improvement

    An increasing number of Americans with disabilities are finding work, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Figures indicate that the unemployment rate for those with disabilities fell to 10.8 percent last month, down from 12.5 percent the month prior. Data on people with disabilities covers those over the age of 16 who do not live in institutions. Unemployment for the general population remained largely unchanged at 5 percent as the economy added 215,000 jobs last month.  Read more at: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2016/04/01/jobs-march-16/22118/

    Opportunities for You!

    Frequently Asked Questions about the ADA and Alternate Forms of Transportation-Free Webinar

    Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

    2:00 - 3:30 PM EST

    Have you ever wondered what your rights are as a person with a disability using a Transportation Network Company (TNC)? Or how much assistance a taxicab operator is required to provide to people with disabilities? Or the requirements under the ADA on level rail boarding? In this session, Easter Seals Project Action Consulting staff will discuss questions frequently received on the ADA with regard to the following alternate modes of transportation: Taxicabs, TNC's, Motor coaches, Shuttles, and Rail.  Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center.

    Presenters: Julie Dupree, Training and Technical Assistance Specialist, Easter Seals Project Action Consulting, Ken Thompson, ADA Technical Assistance Coordinator, Easter Seals Project Action Consulting, Donna Smith, Senior Director, Easter Seals Project Action Consulting

    Registration deadline is Friday, April 29, 2016

    Register at: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ec61si0061ce8e... (link is external)

    Special Spotlight:  

    Is disability a disadvantage or a mere difference?

    In her new book The Minority Body, Barnes argues for a social constructivist conception of disability. This means that the disadvantages that accompany disability are the result of social injustice, rather than physiological or psychological disadvantages. Barnes suggests that, were the social injustices of the modern world to be remedied, the perceived disadvantages of disability would disappear. Yet Barnes's view is highly controversial, and has garnered widespread criticism. Critics present a series of cases that seem to show that it would be impermissible to cause disability in an individual. And yet, it would seem that the mere difference view would permit causing disability, which would seem to contradict Barnes' mere difference point of view.  Read more at: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/is-disability-a-disadvantage-or-a-mere-difference/11817

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Overview of the Proposed Public Rights of Way Accessibility Guidelines-Free Webinar

    Presented By: Jennifer Perry

    Wednesday April 13 2016, 1:00pm to 2:00pm EST

    This webinar will review the U.S. Access Board's proposed guidelines that address conditions and constraints that are unique to public rights-of-way, including pedestrian access to sidewalks and streets, crosswalks, curb ramps, street furnishings, pedestrian signals, on-street parking, and other components of public rights-of-way. We will also discuss the U.S. Department of Justice's guidance materials re: Title II entities obligations to provide accessible pedestrian walkways for people with disabilities. To register go to: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5657

    What's New in Our Region:

    Accessible Swing Sets for Children with Disabilities at Luis Muñoz Marin Park

    On February 20, 2016 the Municipality of San Juan re-opened the Luis Muñoz Marin Park, with an $18 million investment cost. It is a park filled with beautiful green areas in the heart of Puerto Rico's metropolitan area. It is a great place to go cycling (rentals start at $6), walking, and spend a nice day surrounded by nature. One of the park's main attractions is the cable car ($2 for adults, $1 for children). The park also has a small artificial lake that can be navigated with a paddle boat (rentals start at $6). There are also food stands that can be rented for activities. One of the new attractions is the game area for children with disabilities, which promotes inclusion. For more information in Spanish, visit: http://www.zeepuertorico.com/lugar/parque-luis-mu%C3%B1oz-mar%C3%ADn.aspx.

    http://ahoranews.net/re-inauguracion-del-parque-luis-munoz-marin/

    The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico Authorizes Claims for Damages in Special Education Cases

    The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico has allowed for parents and legal tutors of children in the Department of Education's Special Ed Program to claim compensation for damages caused to their children due to the lack of educational services. In a six to two voting decision, the Supreme Court revoked the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeals' decision. The dissenting votes were from the presiding judge Liana Fiol Matta, and the Associate judge, Anabelle Rodriguez. Judge Maite Oronoz did not participate.

    The decision was celebrated by the Leading Committee of Parents for Special Education and similar organizations. Attorneys Jose Torres Valentin and Jose Juan Nazario, of the Committee's legal team, stated that once the decision is finalized, if it is not brought to appeal by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico, they will call for a general assembly to determine their next step.  Nazario said that the parents and legal tutors will not have to file separate lawsuits, and that all claims will be evaluated, according to the court's procedures. Torres Valentin stressed that until August of last year there were 160,521 students in the Special Ed Program, and so the lawsuit protects them all. And now it also protects their parents, and legal tutors. It also applies retroactively to every student since the class action suit started in 1980, even though they are now adults. For more information in Spanish please visit:  http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/tribunales/nota/supremodapasoaquepadresyencargadosdealumnosdeeducacionespecialreclamendanos-2150943/

    Note: The Movement for Achieving Independent Living's 5K changed dates. Now it will be held on June 12. For more information please call: 787-758-7901.

    New Jersey Court Finds Employer Improperly Required Employee to Submit to Fitness-for-Duty Exam

    The case, In the Matter of Paul Williams, Township of Lakewood, No. A-0341-15T2, was recently ruled on by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. The court held that the ADA allows employers to conduct fitness-for-duty examinations, but they "are permissible only when an employer 'has a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that: (1) an employee's ability to perform essential job functions will be impaired by a medical condition; or (2) an employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition.'"  In the particular case the court heard, they found that the employer, the Township, did not have either reasonable belief or the objective evidence to validate the use of a fitness-for-duty examination as all they had was an "anonymous letter" and did not conduct their own investigation. Read more at: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=c2817995-bdf3-4a18-854c-961f0b310976

    N.J. Will be Marking World Down Syndrome Day Early

    World Down Syndrome Day is March 21, "symbolic of the third copy of the 21st chromosome present in people with Trisomy 21," but in New Jersey it will be held on March 12 in the Cranbury Inn in Cranbury. Dr. Burgos, who has a young son with Down syndrome says, "there still remains significant ignorance to the many capabilities and the great potential for people with Down syndrome even among medical professionals," which is one of the reasons World Down Syndrome Day is so important as it can help raise awareness and knowledge about Down Syndrome. Read more at: http://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2016/03/nj_marks_world_down_syndrome_day_early_on_march_12.html

    Roselle Resident with Disability Works to Serves Others

    Richard Nolte, a participant in the community-based day and residential programs offered at The Center for Family Support's Day Program, in Hillsborough, braves the cold weather to deliver hot meals to those in need. Despite his own disability he eagerly works to help those in need, visiting four to five homes, three times each week, serving up nutritious meals. The Center for Family Support is a non-profit human services agency that provides support and assistance to individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families in New Jersey and New York. The center supports over 1500 individuals in both the NYC Metropolitan area and New Jersey, to help them live the lives they want, respecting diversity, and individual choice.

    Read more at: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/roselle-roselle-park/articles/roselle-resident-with-disability-works-to-serves

    Disability advocates urge pols to require wheelchair-accessibility for Uber, for-hire vehicles in NYC

    Disability advocates are calling out the City Council for leaving wheelchair-accessible cabs out of the vehicle for-hire industry. The United Spinal Association and other groups say the Council should be pushing legislation to require Uber to include accessible vehicle options. The city currently has a deal in place where half of yellow cabs are supposed to be wheelchair accessible by 2020, but the requirement doesn't apply to services like Uber. Uber argues that passengers can use its app to request a green cab that is accessible, but advocates say the growth of Uber is hurting the more accessible portions of the industry.

    Read more at: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/disability-advocates-mad-pols-nyc-cab-regulations-article-1.2546966

    Thousands of New York City Students Deprived of Special-Education Services, Report Says

    According to the education department, as many as 40 percent of students in New York City recommended for special-education services may not be getting them.  The department also stated that their data systems were so unreliable that it is not clear as to what percentage of students were not receiving these services. Based on data that was retrieved from the end of last year, the report found that 5%, or nearly 9,000 students, who were recommended for services, were not receiving them at all. Furthermore, 35%, or more than 60,000 students, were receiving only some of the services recommended for them.

    Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/02/nyregion/thousands-of-new-york-city-students-deprived-of-special-education-services-report-says.html

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Governmental Entities Should Identify and Remove Potential ADA Accessibility Barriers on their Websites

    There have been reports of law firms that are contacting government agencies claiming to represent unidentified web users who are accusing the agency of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not having an accessible website for the users who are visually impaired. These law firms "encourage the entity to take remedial measures, and - of course - pay the law firm to avoid litigation, including attorney fees and costs." Web accessibility standards currently remain as only "guidelines" and a set of best practices. Fortunately that may soon change as the DOJ has proposed a new law that would set binding standards for website accessibility and nondiscrimination. Until than it is recommended that entities, particularly governmental entities, should review their website compliance and try to ensure the sites meet the guidelines. Read more at: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=7bfe6d55-64a6-4c91-b065-6f6afc55cafc

    The Ugly Truth About Campus (In)Accessibility

    This is an OP-ED from Sarah Kim, a student with cerebral palsy who attends Barnard College of Columbia University.  In this essay Kim points out the shortcomings of her universities' accessibility and illustrates that it is more of a façade than anything else. According to Kim, many of the ramps and other accessibility features on the campus are severely lacking as they are in very inopportune locations and often, in the case of elevators and automatic doors, are not repaired in a timely manner. Kim also stated she was "disheartened by the fact that the University seems to put the needs of disabled students at the very bottom of its list of priorities." and wished the university would spend its money for better accessibility features. Read the entire essay here: http://columbiaspectator.com/opinion/2016/03/01/ugly-truth-about-campus-inaccessibility

    Opportunities for You!

    Accessibility Online-Free Webinar

    Thursday, March 24, 2016; 2:00pm to 3:00pm EST

    AccessibilityOnline represents a collaborative training program between the ADA National Network and the US Access Board. The program includes a series of free webinars and audio conferences on different topics of accessibility. Sessions are held on a monthly basis and cover a variety of topics concerning accessibility to the built environment, information and communication technologies, and transportation. The training is being coordinated and hosted by the Great Lakes ADA Center on behalf of the ADA National Network as a mechanism to provide accurate and quality training on the Architectural Barriers Act and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA/ABA) Accessibility Guidelines and on electronic and information technology accessibility standards (Section 508). The ADA National Network provides a comprehensive set of services for up-to-date information, consultation, referrals, resources, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act for businesses, employers, governmental entities, service providers and individuals with disabilities.  To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/ 

    Special Spotlight:  

    Galleria's Owner Agrees to Improve Accessibility

    After being cited by the Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, for non-compliance with the ADA the Pyramid Management Group has agreed in a settlement "to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities at its 12 malls in Upstate New York." While this in itself could be seen as a victory, Todd Vaarwerk, the Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for Western New York Independent Living, Inc. hopes that this settlement does more, he hopes it "sends a message to the broader development community that they have to look at accessibility in a real way, and not as an afterthought in terms of getting things zoned and booked and occupied."  Read more at: http://wivb.com/2016/02/26/gallerias-owner-agrees-to-improve-accessibility/


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Bridging the Gap: What the Disability Service Professional Needs to Know About the ADA-Free Webinar

    March 9, 2016

    1-2pm EST

    Presented By: Jeffrey Tamburo

    The disability service professional plays a critical role in the advancement of employment opportunities for people with disabilities. This professional has the unique role of having to engage comfortably and effectively in both the human service and business worlds. Often, the employment staff serves as initial "bridge builder" between the individual with a disability and the employer. One important tool in any disability service professional's toolbox is the ability to maintain a sound understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This webinar offers an overview of the employment provisions (Title I) of the ADA, and will cover a variety of topics including reasonable accommodation, the interactive process, and disability disclosure in the workplace. To register go to: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5548

    What's New in Our Region:

    The Feedback Loop: Public Comments and Questions about Special-Ed Ombudsman

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed a law that created a special-education ombudsman, essentially an office inside the state Department of Education that would help families and others work through issues involving students with disabilities. Public opinion supports what the new position is attempting to accomplish, but there are some concerns about how effective it will be, due to the fact that the office will be inside the Department of Education and serves as an additional step for families who are working to ensure their children have the appropriate accommodations while at school. Read more at: http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/01/28/the-feedback-loop-public-comments-and-questions-about-special-ed-ombudsman/

    Disability Rights Advocates Oppose NY Assisted Suicide Bills

    Disability rights advocates are currently working to make New York State legislatures aware of the dangers inherent in legalizing state-assisted suicide.  Disability organizations in the state are concerned with the bill because it could very well lead to people's lives being ended without their consent due to mistakes and possible abuse of power. As Marilyn Golden, a member of the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, put it "No safeguards have ever been enacted or proposed that can prevent this outcome, which can never be undone." Read more at: http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2016/01/disability-rights-advocates-oppose-ny-assisted-suicide-bills/

    Protests in Favor of Special Education Students in Puerto Rico

    Dozens of therapists and parents of students in the Special Education Program held two demonstrations in the vicinities of the Capitol, Treasury Department, and La Fortaleza (the Governor's Mansion) in Puerto Rico due to the non-payment of contractors by the Department of Education. Therapists highlighted that the debt could reach more than $40 million. Although some of the contracted corporations have not offered detailed information on the services that haven't been paid by the agency. Meanwhile, the Fortaleza's Secretary of Public Affairs, Jesus M. Ortiz, stated that although $1.8 billion are owed to government suppliers, and payments to essential services like education are given priority; Puerto Rico's Treasury Department was only able to issue $176,895 in checks last Friday. "We understand their claims. They provide a service, and they have to charge for their services. The government is making an effort to be able to comply, and for the citizenry to have these services, and for them to receive the payment they deserve," Ortiz said. Read more here: www.noticel.com/noticia/186134/protestan-a-favor-de-los-ninos-de-educacion-especial-video.html

    1st Independent Living Movement 5K in PR

    The Independent Living Movement (MAVI, Spanish acronym) will be holding its first 5K. MAVI, a private, non-profit organization, is an independent living center for people with disabilities. The 5K will be open to the general public, and will be held on April 24, 2016 at the Paseo Abelardo Diaz Alfaro in Caguas, starting at 6:00 am. For more information, and registration call: 787-758-7901.

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    NCD Applauds Precedent-Setting Decision That Disabled Workers Must Be Paid Fair Wages

    The National Council on Disability-an independent federal agency-applauds the precedent-setting opinion issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) administrative judge, in which three employees of a sheltered workshop in Ohio that pays below minimum wages to workers with disabilities, were  awarded minimum wages going forward as well as back pay. The petitioners had been paid an average of $2.50 an hour during their employment the workshop over the last three years.  NCD commends Disability Rights Ohio, the National Federation of the Blind, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and the Baltimore law firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP for filing the petition seeking fair wages for Joe Magers, Pam Steward, and Mark Felton who are among the first workers with disabilities ever to invoke the petition process seeking a review of their wages by the DOL.

    In the decision, DOL's administrative law judge found that Seneca Re-Ad, a sheltered workshop, failed to prove that the petitioners' disabilities kept them from accomplishing their assigned tasks. As such, the judge decided that their wages were not calculated correctly and that Seneca Re-Ad must pay at least minimum wage.  Read more at: http://go.usa.gov/cmdzz

    Judge Rules that Wellness Program Screenings Don't Violate the ADA

    Employee Wellness programs bring forth a conflict between the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act encourages businesses to implement these programs, however, the ADA prohibits employers from requiring workers to provide health information that is not directly relevant to their individual jobs. In a 2014 case between the EEOC and Orion Energy Systems, a judge ruled that that a safe harbor provision in the ADA protects employers who are "establishing, sponsoring, observing, or administering the terms of a bona fide benefit plan that are based on underwriting risks, classifying risks, or administering such risks," meaning that these programs do not violate the ADA. In response to companies looking for more clarity, the EEOC published a proposed amendment to the ADA in April 2015. The final version is expected this spring, though it's unclear whether it will make it through Congress. Read more at: http://mobihealthnews.com/content/judge-rules-wellness-program-screenings-dont-violate-ada

    See the New Lego Set that has Disability Advocates Cheering

    A series of photos from the Nuremberg Toy Fair confirmed that a new Lego mini-figure-one in a wheelchair with a service dog-will be released 8in 2016, marking the first Lego representation of the approximately 150 million disabled individuals worldwide. The creation of the mini-figure comes on the heels of a petition asking Lego to "positively represent disability." Lego has attempted to do exactly that by increasing diversity among mini figures in an attempt to represent more groups of people, although it is unclear when this new mini figure will be available for purchase. Read more at: http://www.aol.com/article/2016/01/28/see-the-new-lego-set-that-has-disability-advocates-cheering/21304452/

    Disability: A New Campaign Issue About Not-so-new Concerns

    Historically, legislative gains for Americans with disabilities have been made outside of the public eye, which is why presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's proposal to provide more resources for treating autism has been referred to as "unprecedented." Clinton did not offer a specific plan as to how this would be accomplished, and, due to wide disability cuts across age and class, there is much question as to what the government's role should be regarding disabilities. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have been marginalized, especially in terms of employment, as evidenced by the fact that the employment rate for those with disabilities has fallen every year since the ADA was put into place.  There is question about whether focus should be on "curing autism" or providing more employment opportunities for the disabled community as a whole. Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-pettinicchio-/disability-a-new-campaign_b_9090644.html

    SNF Reaches $50k Settlement in Disability Discrimination Suit

    A South Carolina skilled nursing facility has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle claims that it fired a licensed practical nurse due to a disability that complicated her pregnancy. The company was aware that Tonya Aria had paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia when she was hired in 2002. The condition can cause rapid heart rate, blackouts and tunnel vision if not controlled by medication. In 2012, Aria learned she was pregnant and stopped taking her medication due to its possible side effects on her unborn child, leaving her condition uncontrolled. She missed three work days in early 2013 and was fired due to her absences. The company also agreed to a two-year decree prohibiting the company from taking any "adverse personnel actions" against employees based on their pregnancy status or disability. Read more at: http://www.mcknights.com/news/snf-reaches-50k-settlement-in-disability-discrimination-suit/article/469215/

    International Day of Acceptance Spotlights Disability

    The International Day of Acceptance, which took place on January 20th, is targeted by 3elove and the ADA Legacy Project as a day dedicated to the social acceptance of disability. In order to garner more exposure for the event, 3elove, a company owned and operated by individuals with disabilities, promoted the day through social media in an effort to help bring disability acceptance into everyday conversation. As Tom Turner, a man who lives with spina bifida said of the day: "It's a movement, a chance to make people aware that people with disabilities live, love and work in the world." Read more at: http://www.mpnnow.com/article/20160120/NEWS/160129948

    Opportunities for You!

    FEMA Promising Practice: Establishing Disability Community Preparedness through State and Local Efforts-Free Webinar

    March 10th, 2016

    In this webinar, two presentations will demonstrate practices in the field that assist in the preparedness of people with disabilities. In the first half, presenters will discuss the development of a statewide task force on emergency management, disability, and functional needs support services (FNSS) issues, including an FNSS toolkit. This presentation will present a model for including individuals with disabilities and their organizations in advising and shaping emergency management practices and policy at the state level. Over the last four years the FNSS Task Force has developed guidance documents, training curriculum, and outreach initiatives. Representatives and subcommittee chairs will describe how the group serves people with disabilities and major initiatives it has undertaken. Lessons learned for the formation and continuity of such a state-level task force will be discussed. To read more and to register go to: http://adapresentations.org/schedule.php

    Special Spotlight:  

    Call for Stories from the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)

    The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) was passed by Congress and signed into law on October 2, 1986. This law guarantees that people with disabilities receive consistent and nondiscriminatory treatment during air travel and requires air carriers to accommodate the needs of passengers with disabilities.

    In preparation for the 30th Anniversary of the ACAA, the PVA, a congressionally chartered veteran's service organization founded in 1946, is seeking help in showing the progress that has been made as well as highlighting the work that still needs to be done to accomplish the spirit of the ACAA.

    Please use their submission form to share your stories, photos, videos, and graphics about your air travel experiences as a passenger with a disability. To Read more, visit: http://www.airaccess30.org/


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Trends in Web Accessibility-Free Webinar

    By Joe Zesski

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM

    Much of work, play and community interaction happens online or via mobile apps. The web connects businesses, government and individuals with and without disabilities in numerous ways. How the ADA applies to the web is an essential issue that continues to develop. This webinar will look at the issue of the ADA and the web, consider recent changes, and examine other relevant regulations effecting web access for people with disabilities.

    To register go to: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5547

    What's New in Our Region:

    Most New York City Elementary Schools Are Violating Disabilities Act, Investigation Finds

    A two-year federal investigation has concluded that 83 percent of New York City's public elementary schools are not "fully accessible" to children with disabilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In a blistering letter to the Education Department's top lawyer on Monday, the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that the investigation also showed that six school districts, which serve more than 50,000 elementary students, did not have a single school that is fully accessible.

    "Nowhere is it more important to tear down the barriers to equal access than with respect to the education of our children," Mr. Bharara's office said. "But today, in New York City, 25 years after passage of the ADA, children with physical disabilities still do not have equal access to this most fundamental of rights." Mr. Bharara, in a brief statement, said his office had asked the city for a response to the findings, "including an outline and timeline of corrective actions that will remedy this unacceptable state of affairs." 

    Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/22/nyregion/most-new-york-elementary-schools-are-violating-disabilities-act-investigation-finds.html?_r=0

    Movie goer with disability says Regal, Fandango need policy change after trying to see 'Star Wars' at Destiny USA

    A movie goer in Syracuse, NY says a "flawed" policy with Regal Cinemas and Fandango has prevented him from seeing the new "Star Wars" movie. Mike Rotella, who uses a scooter to get around, says he tried to buy tickets online for a screening of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Monday at Destiny USA's Regal theater. The show was not sold out, but none of the 50 seats available were the eight "companion" seats next to wheelchair spaces; they had already been reserved by advance ticket buyers who did not buy any of the handicap-accessible seats next to them. Essentially, Rotella would either have to see the movie "alone" -- friends or family would have to sit elsewhere in the theater -- or buy the tickets and prepare to ask people to move. "This wasn't a result of the popularity of the movie as this practice is always what Regal does," Rotella told syracuse.com. "This practice makes it impossible for wheelchair users to plan ahead or to enjoy equal access to enjoy a film with even one friend. The theater told me to 'arrive 2 hours early' for a non-sold-out show in order to maybe get a spot."

    Read more at: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2015/12/regal_fandango_disabled_seating_star_wars_syracuse.html

    Disability advocates slam Statue of Liberty ferry as 'dangerous' for those in wheelchairs

    A disability rights group has slammed the company that operates the ferry service to the Statue of Liberty, calling it "a nightmare for people in wheelchairs," according to a news report.  According to a Daily News report, the United Spinal Association sent a letter to the National Park Service stating Statue Cruises, which operates ferries to Liberty Island and Ellis Island from both Liberty State Park and Lower Manhattan, is "failing to live up to the Americans With Disabilities Act." Jim Weisman, president of the United Spinal Association, said accommodations for those with disabilities are "dangerous and inaccessible," citing the bathrooms and slopes, according to the report.  The organization took a video of a staffer in a wheelchair boarding a ferry. The staffer told The Daily News the ramp to the boat was especially steep, there was nowhere to secure the wheelchair inside the cabin, and the bathroom stalls were too narrow.

    Read more at: http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2016/01/wheelchair_advocates_slam_ferry_service_to_statue.html

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Fliers with Disabilities Could See Airline Changes In Future

    Federal airline regulators are taking steps to improve service for passengers with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Transportation said it was looking at ways to, among other things, ensure that fliers with disabilities have better access to in-flight entertainment and to bathrooms on single-aisle airplanes. The department, in a Dec. 7 posting in the Federal Register about service for people with disabilities, noted "the industry trend toward greater use of single-aisle aircraft that are not equipped with accessible" bathrooms on mid-length and longer flights.  "The disability community has expressed distress that single-aisle aircraft are increasingly used by airlines for longer flights but lack accessible lavatories," the department said in the register.

    Read more at: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2016/01/04/fliers-airline-changes/21715/

    FMLA leave may be ADA accommodation

    Here's something to remember when an employee claims she has a disability that interferes with her ability to work overtime or even a full day. You can offer intermittent FMLA leave as a reasonable accommodation rather than restructuring the job or transferring the employee to another open position. Remember, the employer, not the employee, gets to pick the ADA accommodation. As long as it is a reasonable accommodation and is designed to let the employee perform his job's essential functions, you have met your ADA obligations.

    Read more at: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/45324/fmla-leave-may-be-ada-accommodation#_

    P.F. Chang's gluten-free disability lawsuit not over

    Back in December 2014, a lawsuit was filed against P.F. Chang's for charging more for its gluten-free options. Anna Marie Phillips filed the suit in Santa Clara County superior court for discrimination and violation of the Americans with disabilities act. The suit claims that P.F. Chang's forces people with celiac disease to pay higher prices for gluten-free versions of their menu selections. This lawsuit is seeking class action status. According to the suit, over the past four years more than 3,000 people in over 39 states have been affected. P.F. Chang's adds a dollar charge to gluten-free items even if they are naturally gluten-free. Does P.F. Chang's Asian Bistro discriminate against people with celiac disease by charging more for gluten-free dishes than for their non-gluten-free counterparts? A ruling by a federal judge means that the lawsuit against P.F. Chang's over its gluten-free menu can't be dismissed just yet.

    Read more at: http://www.examiner.com/article/p-f-chang-s-gluten-free-disability-lawsuit-not-over

    Judge Approves Shift Away From Sheltered Workshops

    A settlement in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit is set to reshape a state-run employment program for people with disabilities that has been heavily dependent on sheltered workshops. Under an agreement finalized just before the new year, 1,115 Oregon residents with disabilities who are employed in sheltered workshops will receive jobs in the community that pay at least minimum wage over the next seven years. An additional 7,000 individuals with disabilities in the state - including 4,900 between the ages of 14 and 24 - will receive employment services so that they will have an opportunity to obtain traditional jobs.

    Read more at: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2016/01/06/judge-shift-sheltered/21732/

    Opportunities for You!

    Attend the most comprehensive and affordable conference available on the Americans with Disabilities Act! The 2016 National ADA Symposium will be hosted by the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain ADA Centers on June 19-22 in Denver, Colorado.

    The National ADA Symposium is designed to provide current, practical, useful information to a diverse audience. 100% of ADA Symposium attendees surveyed reported they gained knowledge and skills they could use in their profession and/or communities. 98% of ADA Symposium attendees surveyed reported that they would recommend the conference to a colleague. You will not find a more affordable or higher quality conference on the Americans with Disabilities Act!

    Features of the 2016 National ADA Symposium
    * Choose from 76 break-out sessions on a wide range of ADA related topics.

    * Featured tracks targeted to the needs of the business community, post-secondary education, health professionals, and design community.

    * Sessions presented by key agencies involved in ADA implementation including the US Dept. of Justice, EEOC, and the US Access Board.

    * Networking opportunities with people from diverse professions across the US.

    * On-line access to handouts from all sessions.

    For more information and registration, visit http://www.adasymposium.org or call 1-800-949-4232

    Special Spotlight:  

    Don't Ignore Reasonable Accommodations in the Application Process

    Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan. Large national employers provide the EEOC with a soapbox to broadcast this agenda. Thus, a lawsuit filed by the agency against McDonald's Corp. for its alleged refusal to interview a deaf job applicant is a perfect ADA-storm. According to the complaint, Ricky Washington, who is deaf, applied online for a job at a McDonald's restaurant. He indicated on his application that he attended a school for the deaf. When the restaurant manager learned Washington needed a sign language interpreter for his job interview, she canceled the interview and never rescheduled it, continuing to interview and hire new workers. 

    Read more at: http://www.workforce.com/blogs/3-the-practical-employer/post/21810-dont-ignore-reasonable-accommodations-in-the-application-process

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Northeast ADA Center Holiday Closing

    Season's Greetings from the Northeast ADA Center!  Please note that our Cornell offices will be closed from 3:00pm EST Tuesday, December 23, 2015 until 8:30am EST Monday, January 4, 2016.  The Cornell based Northeast ADA Center staff will be unavailable; however, our Technical Assistance Call Center (1-800-949-4232 for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) and our Technical Assistance email (northeastada@cornell.edu) will operate and be staffed on a limited basis during this time. When we are open, we will be happy to return any phone messages or emails/online TA requests you may have submitted to us during our closing. The Northeast ADA Center Cornell based staff will be available again beginning Monday, January 4, 2016, and normal ADA Center business hours and operations will resume at that time. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience regarding any potential delays in our response time to technical assistance, training, or materials requests. The Northeast ADA Center wishes all of you a most enjoyable holiday season, and a very happy and healthy New Year!

    Workplace Bullying, Harassment, and Disability-Free Webinar

    Presented By: LaWanda Cook

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM EST

    According to the 2014 Workplace Bullying Institute's U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, 27% of employees have current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work and 72% are aware of workplace bullying. While our understanding of frequency and impact of this issue among the general population is increasing, workplace bullying is still legal in the U.S., and little is known about the abusive experiences of workers with disabilities. As members of a protected class, these workers may have legitimate cause to claim harassment, which is illegal.  This session will explore the definitional and legal differences between bullying and harassment, provide an overview of the impact of bullying in the workplace, describe the recourse available to abused workers with disabilities, and offer suggestions for how employers can foster safer, more accepting workplaces. Relevant findings from Cornell's Work-Life Balance and Disability Study will be shared. To register for this webinar, visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5546  

    What's New in Our Region:

    Rutgers Quentin Gause thriving despite learning disability

    Despite a learning disability, Gause has a 3.28 GPA at Rutgers, second on the football team in tackles with 87, and has been named a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the top scholar-athlete in the nation. Gause is a journalism and media studies major, and he hopes to pursue a career in sports broadcasting, but it is entirely possible that he has an NFL career before then.  Read more at: http://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/index.ssf/2015/11/rutgers_quenting_gause_thriving_on_and_off_field_a.html

    Arc of Somerset County receives Disability Advocate Award

    The Arc of Somerset County's Jerry Davis Center for Children and Families was awarded the 2015 Somerset County Disability Advocate Award, an honor in recognition for "Outstanding Service" demonstrating significant impact in meeting the needs of Somerset County citizens with disabilities and also for making a commitment to promote positive awareness to the needs of Somerset County citizens with disabilities. The Manville NJ-based center has provided special education; therapeutic programs and child care to children with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities ranging from 2 month to 6 months of age, and remains the only developmental daycare/ preschool in and around Somerset County. Read more at: http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/index.ssf/2015/11/arc_of_somerset_county_receives_disability_advocate_award.html

    Disability advocate shares experience with New York Mills students

    Teena Fitzroy, who was born with cerebral palsy, shared her life stories with the students. Her motto is that she's a person first, who just happens to have a disability. Fitzroy said her mission is to share her story with as many people as she can, saying that her experiences have helped her become more empathetic and sympathetic towards others. New York Mills has participated in Disability Awareness Day, which invites individuals that can help students learn to look past the disabilities of others, for the past 11 years. Read more at: http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Disability_advocate_shares_experiences_with_New_York_Mills_students.html

    Fighting scoliosis and dreaming of having her own business again

    Carmen Gonzalez has scoliosis, an abnormal curve in the spine, however, her case is more severe because the curve extends to her neck. She came to New York City from Puerto Rico and began working for an insurance broker who had lost his insurance license, forcing her to enroll in local classes and earn her own insurance license. She eventually opened her own insurance firm and began earning a steady living, however, her condition worsened in 2005 as her spine impinged upon her lungs, making it harder for her to breathe. She was forced to close her business and sell her home, and was granted disability insurance in 2008. In 2012, her son, Ricardo, who was forced to leave school to take care of her, moved out and her disability payments stopped. Despite financial trouble and constant pain, Gonzalez hopes to one day run her own company again. Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/21/nyregion/fighting-scoliosis-and-dreaming-of-having-her-own-business-again.html

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    DOJ Delays Rulemaking on Website Accessibility

    The U.S. Department of Justice has delayed for at least two more years regulations explaining how e-commerce websites can comply with the ADA. It also announced that the release of website accessibility regulations for businesses will be put off until 2018, but many expect the DOJ will put out a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in early 2016. The DOJ has been considering since 2010 the extent to which Title III of the ADA applies to websites, and many people are frustrated with the DOJ, citing indifference to the rights of disabled individuals. Business owners desire clarity on whether or not it is legally required to make websites disability accessible because it is expensive and time consuming. Overall, both sides want resolutions. Read more at: http://www.bna.com/doj-delays-rulemaking-n57982063920/

    Looking backward and forward: a review of key EEOC developments, successes and failures in FY 2015 and what to watch for in FY 2016

    On November 19, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its annual Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) which highlights key EEOC developments in the past fiscal year. The agency celebrated its 50th year in existence, as well as the 25 year anniversary of the ADA. The EEOC began the fiscal year with significant court losses, and courts have found some of their litigation tactics so egregious that the EEOC has been forced to pay attorney fees for defendants in a number of cases since 2011. Despite these critiques, the EEOC was involved in two significant cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, EEOC v. Mach Mining, LLC, and EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores. In other developments, David Lopez was approved for a second term as General Counsel, Charlotte Burrows was approved as EEOC Commissioner, and there has been a slight increase in the number of charges filed in both the private sector and systemic investigations. The EEOC's results during FY 2015 were far more mixed based on EEOC challenges to neutral employment practices having a disparate impact on a protected group. Going forward, the EEOC plans to focus on ADA issues, accommodating pregnancy related limitations, and coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.  For other cases, developments, and to read more, visit: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=25eb2251-355d-46b0-bde9-a70e76aab981

    Autism Speaks House to Home Prize

    Currently, more than 3 million individuals in the U.S. are living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and around 500,000 of these individuals will be entering adulthood over the next ten years. Autism Speaks is inviting people from around the world, from any background to submit innovative, breakthrough ideas in the following three home and residential support solutions:

    • For individuals who require 24/7 support
    • For individuals who require daily support
    • For individuals who require weekly support

    Prize Details: The best solution in each of these categories will receive a $50,000 USD prize. The total prize purse is $150,000 USD.

    Application Instructions: Last date for submission is March 1, 2016. No entry fee is required. Application information can be found at:  https://herox.com/HouseToHomePrize

    Dispelling myths about service dogs

    Anne Wicklund published a book called: Handbook for Service Dogs to clear up incorrect beliefs about service dogs. She and her husband trained two German shepherd guide dogs after her husband, Wayne, began losing hearing and developed lung disease in 2001. Wicklund stresses that service dogs can be fun, can be big or small, and can live in a house where a child is present or another dog lives. Her book also details legal protections, specifically how the ADA permits service dogs to accompany individuals into places the public is allowed to go.   Read more at: http://www.fhtimes.com/features/featured_stories/dispelling-myths-about-service-dogs/article_13759f90-92eb-11e5-b5e0-974b244118c9.html

    Long Wait Times Plague Social Security Disability Process

    Overburdened administrative judges are working through huge caseloads of these appeals all over America, but Miami has the country's longest average wait for a hearing, at 22 months. While they wait, many slip into poverty, burdening their families and dragging down the economy. The roughly $126 billion Social Security disability program is funded through payroll taxes and keeps many of America's most vulnerable people off the streets. One million hearings are pending, and it makes sense for them to keep pushing: Just under half of applicants eventually get the benefits, including millions who convince an administrative law judge on appeal that their disability makes a job impossible. Three years ago, the agency tried to resolve these appeals more quickly by limiting caseloads, but then judges felt pressure to approve more cases, and since approvals take far less time and paperwork than denials, the program's overall cost soared. Overall approval rates have decreased from 56% in 2011 to 44% this year. The agency's current goal is to reduce the wait to 270 days or less by 2020. Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/11/28/us/ap-us-disability-benefits-long-waits.html?_r=0

    Opportunities for You!

    Protruding Objects-Free Webinar

    Presented by: Rex Pace, Senior Accessibility Specialist and Technical Assistance Coordinator, U.S. Access Board; and Earlene Sesker, Accessibility Specialist, U.S. Access Board

    Protruding objects provisions (Sections 204 and 307 (F307)) in the standards, limit the projection of objects into circulation paths to prevent hazards to people with vision impairments. These requirements apply to all circulation paths and are not limited to accessible routes. Circulation paths include interior and exterior walks, paths, hallways, courtyards, elevators, platform lifts, ramps, stairways, and landings. This session will address more frequently asked questions about protruding objects such as post-mounted objects, drinking fountains, and more. To register for this webinar, visit: http://www.accessibilityonline.org/Schedule/

    Special Spotlight:  

    New Technical Assistance Document Addresses ADA Title II Obligations re: Curb Ramps when Streets are resurfaced

    The U.S. DOJ and U.S. DOT have issued a new technical assistance document on Title II of the ADA requirements to provide curb ramps when streets, roads, or highways are altered through resurfacing. This document responds to frequently asked questions that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has received since the initial technical assistance document on this topic was published in 2013. In order to fully address some questions, the applicable requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that apply to public entities receiving Federal funding from DOT, either directly or indirectly, are also discussed in this Supplement to the original technical assistance document. You can view the document here: http://www.ada.gov/doj-fhwa-ta-supplement-2015.html

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Northeast ADA Center Closed November 27th and 28th

    The Northeast ADA Center and technical assistance services will be closed between 5:00 PM on Wednesday, November 25th and 8:30 AM on Monday, November 30th for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will reopen at 8:30am EST on Monday November 30th.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and we hope you have a good holiday!

    Overview of the Proposed Standards for Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment-Free Webinar

    December 9, 2015

    1:00-2:00pm EST

    Presented By: Jennifer Perry

    This webinar will review the proposed accessibility standards developed by the U.S. Access Board for equipment used in medical settings by health care providers for diagnostic purposes, including: examination tables and chairs, weight scales, mammography equipment, and other imaging equipment. The webinar will also discuss the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' guidance information for health care providers regarding their responsibilities to make their services and facilities accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. To register, visit, http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5545 

    What's New in Our Region:

    Study Reveals that Job Applicants Face Discrimination over Disabilities

    While 2015 is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities still face hurdles when it comes to finding employment. A new study produced by researchers at Rutgers and Syracuse University discovered that employers are less likely to respond to candidates with disabilities. In a field experiment where potential employers received applications created for the study, the fake applicants with disabilities received 26 percent fewer expressions of interest.  All resumes were designed to show the candidates were highly qualified, while they were split between coming from novice and experienced candidates. Applicants that disclosed their disabilities received particularly low interest from employers when the firm was small (less than 15 employees) and when the applicant came off as more experienced. To read more, visit: https://www.inverse.com/article/7659-study-reveals-disabled-job-candidates-face-discrimination

    Brooklyn Mother Fights for Changes after Disabled Son Misses Graduation by One Point

    Laurie De Vito is a dancer by trade, a longtime Brooklyn resident who teaches contemporary modern dance at studios around the city.  But as the mother of an 18-year-old with a disability, she also has nearly two decades of experience banging on doors to make sure her son receives the services to which he is entitled. This year, her skills as a mother-bear advocate met their greatest challenge and most rarefied audience. Through sheer force of will, she found herself on the phone with the highest education officials in the state - including the chancellor of the Board of Regents and the commissioner of the Department of Education - lobbying them to make changes to state policy that would allow her son to earn his high school diploma. And it is working.  Through advocacy and determination Laurie has successfully petitioned the New York State board of regents to look at a new rule that would allow an appeal for special education students who score at least a 52.  This was proposed at a regents meeting and the board is likely to vote on it in December.  To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/nyregion/mother-in-new-york-fights-for-changes-after-disabled-son-misses-graduation-by-one-point.html?_r=0

    Settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act Between the United States of America and the Virgin Islands and Virgin Island Bureau of Motor Vehicles

    This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under Title II of the ADA with the United States Department of Justice by. The complaint alleges, inter alia, that the complainant suffers from a migraine condition which causes her to experience extreme sensitivity to sunlight. On her doctor's advice, she had her car windows darkly tinted. She registered her car with dark tinted windows without incident with the BMV from 2006 to2012. In January 2012, she was granted a disability permit by the BMV specifically for the dark tinted windows. In January 2013, the BMV refused to register her vehicle on the grounds that the window tint exceeded that allowed by Virgin Island statute, 20 V.I.C. § 800. The complainant presented to the BMV medical documentation supporting her request as well as her disability permit, but her request was nonetheless denied.  To read more on the outcome of this settlement go to: http://www.ada.gov/bmv_vi_sa.html

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Worker Who Retired Soon After Injury Entitled to Temporary Total Disability

    A Virginia worker who was injured just weeks before his retirement should receive temporary total disability benefits for his injuries, even though the man did not attempt to reenter the workforce after his accident, the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled. Preston L. McKellar worked 42 years as a structural welder for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. He notified the company in April 2010 that he would be retiring in May of that year, court records show. On April 15, 2010, Mr. McKellar tripped and fell while working on the construction of a submarine. Court filings show that he injured his back, hip, knees hands and wrists, and he was placed on restricted work duty for the rest of April 2010. Mr. McKellar retired as expected on May 1, 2010, records show. Soon thereafter, he went to see an orthopedic surgeon for continued pain related to his accident, and was found by the doctor to be totally disabled. The doctor placed Mr. McKellar on "no-work status." Mr. McKellar went on to file a workers comp claim seeking medical benefits and temporary total disability compensation from Northrop Grumman, filings show. A commissioner with the Virginia Worker's Compensation Commission found in 2013 that Mr. McKellar's medical evidence and testimony were sufficient to grant him medical benefits and TTD benefits. That was despite the fact that Mr. McKellar testified that he had not pursued employment since retiring from Northrop Grumman. To read more, visit: http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20151102/NEWS08/151109978

    AirForce earns DOD best military department disability award, Airmen honored

    The Air Force received the secretary of defense trophy for the best disability program among large military components for the fourth year in a row. Two Airmen were recognized for their work during a ceremony at the Pentagon Oct. 29.
    For the past 35 years, the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity has recognized outstanding service members and Defense Department civilian personnel with disabilities at an annual awards ceremony.

    The ceremony recognizes recipients for outstanding achievement in the hiring, retention and advancement of individuals with disabilities. This year's theme, "My Disability is One Part of Who I Am," was a constant reminder for members of the DOD to maintain the commitment to employ disabled civilians and wounded veterans.

    "This observance, like the others we enjoy throughout the year, is an educational experience, individually and collectively," said Brad Carson, the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "I personally value the opportunity to reflect on the history of this observance and the biases it aims to combat."

    Bob Corsi, the assistant deputy chief of staff of manpower, personnel and services, and Dr. Jarris Taylor, the deputy assistant secretary of strategic diversity integration, accepted the award on behalf of the Air Force.  To read more, visit: http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/627727/af-earns-dod-best-military-department-disability-award-airmen-honored.aspx

    Justice Department ADA Consent Decree Covering Accessible Polling Places in Augusta County, VA

    The Justice Department announced on November 4th,  that it filed a complaint and proposed consent decree today in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia resolving allegations that Augusta County, Virginia has discriminated on the basis of disability by failing to provide physically accessible polling places to people with mobility and vision disabilities. Title II of the ADA requires public entities to ensure that all of their polling places are accessible to people with disabilities. Under the consent decree, which must be approved by the court, the County agreed to make permanent architectural changes to a number of polling place facilities, and to provide temporary measures such as portable ramps and temporary doorbells at others, to provide accessible polling places throughout the County. The County, which cooperated with the United States, also agreed to revise its policies and polling place survey instrument, and provide training to poll officials. To find out more about the ADA or this consent decree, call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its www.ADA.gov website.

    Opportunities for You!

    Webinar: Effective Practices for Employment Preparation and Support for Youth with Disabilities-Free Webinar

    December 3, 2015

    2:00- 3:30pm EST

    Presenters: Laura Owens, President, TransCen, Inc.  Ann Deschamps, Senior Research Associate, TransCen, Inc.

    With the 40th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) this year, it is important to reflect on our accomplishments in order to ensure that every individual with a disability, regardless of severity, is provided equal opportunity to achieve the American dream and become a valued, contributing member of society. Employment is a desired outcome for all individuals - including youth with disabilities. For many, employment is both an intervention and an outcome. Research has shown that one of the key indicators of whether youth with disabilities have succeeded in the transition from school to adult life is whether or not they are employed after they leave high school. This presentation will address why we should presume all youth can be employed through stories and discussion of the latest professional research.

    To register, visit, http://www.adainfo.org/training/webinar-effective-practices-employment-preparation-and-support-youth-disabilities

    Webinar Series: Reasonable Accommodation Process for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

    December 8, 2015 10:00am to December 15, 2015 11:30am

    Presented by the Northwest ADA Center

    VRCs play an essential role in facilitating successful reasonable accommodation outcomes between applicants/employees and employers throughout the employment process. In individual cases, the VRC can help build the applicant/employee's confidence in requesting reasonable accommodation. For employers making commitments toward more diverse and inclusive workplaces, the VRC can serve as a collaborative partner to meet those goals.    

    Part I of the webinar series will offer guidance and a general overview about what a VRC needs to know about reasonable accommodations and the interactive process under Title I of the ADA. The VRC will learn how to coach qualified individuals with disabilities on how to facilitate an open and honest dialogue with potential and current employers.   

    Part II of the webinar series will cover examples and case studies showing how the VRC can maximize successful outcomes by collaborating with applicants/employees and employers.

    Cost: $45 per session, per site

    To register, visit: http://www.adainfo.org/training/webinar-series-reasonable-accommodation-process-vocational-rehabilitation-counselors

    Special Spotlight:  

    New app will serve as eyes for the blind

    An app called NavCog, which is currently being developed by both IBM and researchers at Carnegie Mellon, could forever change the way people with visual impairments see the world.  Currently NavCog utilizes smart phones' Bluetooth features to help the visually impaired navigate very much like a GPS system.  While that in and of itself is a tremendous step forward IBM and the team at Carnegie Mellon have even loftier aspirations for the app.  Some of the goals include facial recognition along with recognizing emotions on peoples face as well.  In order to help speed up the creation and implementation of the app, the programmers have opened the platform source so that others could add to the code.  To read more, visit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/10/22/the-new-app-that-serves-as-eyes-for-the-blind/?utm_content=bufferc03c3&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Air Travel for Individuals with Disabilities: Intersection of the Air Carriers Access Act and the ADA-Free Webinar, November 18, 2015

    Presented By: LaWanda Cook and Chris Sweet

    1:00-2:00pm EST

    A recent study by the Open Doors Organization revealed that in the past two years, more than 26 million adults with disabilities traveled for business or pleasure. While legislation such as the Air Carrier Accessibility Act (ACAA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has helped to improve travel experiences for people with disabilities, many still face challenges in air travel. Some of the challenges may be due to misunderstanding about one's rights and responsibilities under relevant legislation. This session will provide an overview of the implications of the ACAA and the ADA on air travel - from booking a flight to boarding and deplaning. Issues such as emergency evacuation and traveling with a service animal will also be addressed.  To register, visit:  http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5544

    What's New in Our Region:

    Zero Transmission of HIV from Mother to Child in PR

    In Puerto Rico there have been no reported cases of transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from mother to child since 2011, announced Carmen Zorrilla, Director of the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus' Center for Maternal and Child Studies (CEMI by its Spanish initials). "Puerto Rico is a pioneer in treatments and prenatal care for pregnant women living with HIV, in order to achieve that hundreds of children are born healthy and hundreds of families to live with hope." Zorrilla said.  You can read more information (in Spanish) at: http://www.elnuevodia.com/estilosdevida/saludyejercicios/nota/cerotransmisiondevihdemadreabebeenpuertorico-2069687/.

    New Service for People with Epilepsy in PR

    The Puerto Rican Epilepsy Society recently opened the Empowered Life with Epilepsy Support Center. It provides vocational and independent living services for people with epilepsy and other developmental disabilities who are 21 years old and older. For more information, you can contact them at: 787-782-6200.

    Update: NJ Barrier Free Subcode Requirements

    Stakeholders interested in the physical accessibility requirements for the built environment in New Jersey should take note that the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has updated the requirements for physical accessibility mandated by the NJ Barrier Free Subcode. Published on September 21, 2015, in the New Jersey Register, Vol. 47 No. 18, are the changes to the Uniform Construction Code, which provides a uniform system of construction standards throughout the State through the adoption of model codes. For physical accessibility, the scoping requirements adopted are located in Chapter 11 of the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) New Jersey Edition, and the referenced technical standard for accessibility is the 2009 edition of the ICC ANSI A117.1 Standard. There are a number of amendments made to Chapter 11 and ICC ANSI A117.1 that stakeholders should take note of that can be found here: http://codes.iccsafe.org/app/book/content/PDF/2015/New_Jersey/building/CHAPTER%2011%20ACCESSIBILITY.pdf. Should you have any questions about physical accessibility, whether under the ADA or State Specific requirements, please contact our Access Specialist, Jennifer Perry, at jlp359@cornell.edu.  

    Rochester Gets Low Ranking on Wallet Hub: Report on Living Conditions for People with Disabilities

    According to a new Wallet Hub study, Rochester's living conditions for persons with disabilities ranks 141st out of 150 cities. Some of the factors behind this low ranking are the lack of accessible taxis and accessible, yet affordable housing.  Stephanie Woodward, the Center of Disability Rights advocacy director, believes that while PWDs are part of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative they are not being fully included in the decisions being made. That is unfortunate, because as of now Woodward believes that Rochester is still not integrating PWDs by building better housing but is instead "making mini cripple ghettos."  

    To read more, visit: http://wxxinews.org/post/rochester-gets-low-ranking-wallet-hub-report-living-conditions-people-disabilities

    Feds sue Gates Chili over service dog

    The DOJ is suing the Gates Chili Central School District for violating the ADA.  The school district has forced the Pereira family to pay for a handler to watch their daughter's service dog at school instead of letting her handle the dog with the assistance of her one-to-one aide or other school staff. So far the family has had to pay $25,000 for the handlers services, but the DOJ is suing to have the school district pay the family back that sum as well as to make the reasonable modification to allow the student to handle the dog herself at school.

    To read more, visit: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2015/09/29/feds-sue-gates-chili-over-service-dog/73034998/

    Youth Employment Services Program expands to help more people

    Youth Employment Services Program (YES), is a program in New Jersey dedicated to "help individuals overcome barriers in their lives and achieve their goals of securing employment or continuing their education." The program helps PWDs along with high school dropouts and those with juvenile/criminal justice issues find employment or continue their education. As of October 1, the program has been expended to include people from 16 up to the age of 24 instead.  Previously YES was limited to 16-21 year olds but the grant from the New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development along with changes to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act has allowed YES to grow. To read more, visit: http://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2015/10/youth_employment_services_program_expands_to_help.html

    I couldn't become a cop because of my multiple sclerosis: Man fights to pursue a law enforcement career

    Randy Umanzor was told that he could not become a police officer because of his multiple sclerosis and is now suing the NYPD.  He is now showing no symptoms of MS and both he and his doctor feel that he would be capable of performing the tasks necessary for police officers. The original doctors decision that banned him from joining the force was "entirely based on the idea that [he could] present a potential threat to himself or others" and the city currently feels that not enough time has passed between his 2013 diagnosis to verify that he is indeed "medically stable." To read more, visit: http://nypost.com/2015/10/05/i-couldnt-become-a-cop-because-of-my-multiple-sclerosis/

    Museum of disABILITY History Raising Funds for Improvements

    The Museum of disABILITY is currently running a GoFundMe campaign to raise their goal of $100,000 for new programs and exhibits. The "one-of-a-kind museum" located in Buffalo stimulates awareness about disabilities while simultaneously showcasing the strides that have been made in our cultural perspective of disability.  Jeffrey Zeplowitz, who is in charge of this fund raising effort, mentions how the museums exhibits highlight the many accomplishments PWDs have had. To read more, visit: http://www.twcnews.com/nys/buffalo/news/2015/10/2/museum-fundraiser.html

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    EEOC Sues Cessna for Disability Discrimination

    The EEOC has sued the aircraft manufacturer Cessna for violating the ADA.  Cessna has rescinded conditional job offers after becoming aware of applicants medical histories and disabilities.  This is illegal, though incorrectly believed they were allowed to do this because of high but irrelevant work standards and workers compensation standards.  Neither of those allows a company to rescind a conditional job offer however as companies must try to adapt and reasonably accommodate employees after learning about their condition.  Because of this, the EEOC is suing Cessna for damages and injunctive relief for the employees they rescinded offers to. To read more, visit: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/eeoc-sues-cessna-for-disability-61146/

    EEOC Sues Safeway for Disability Discrimination

    The EEOC is suing Safeway on the behalf of a Safeway employee Patricia Bonds.  Bonds suffered a significant work-related shoulder injury that limited her ability to do her job.  Because of that Safeway accommodated her by assigning her to a desk job at the customer service desk but has now put her on "unpaid, indefinite leave" claiming "she had exhausted her time limit for modified duty.  By doing so Safeway is violating the ADA since it is not providing Bonds with the reasonable accommodation of reassignment.  Reassignment is considered a reasonable accommodation and considering that Bonds can no longer preform her old job because of the injury and the fact that she had received satisfactory performance marks at the customer service desk the EEOC believes that this is a case of unlawful termination by Safeway. To read more, visit: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/eeoc-sues-safeway-disability-discrimination

    Opportunities for You!

    Accessible Trails: Free Webinar

    Presented by: Bill Botten: US Access Board and Jim Huck: National Park Service

    It's been almost 2 years since accessibility standards became effective for trails on Federal land covered by the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). Following the effective date, the Board published a guidebook to assist trail designers and operators when applying the provisions. This session will provide an overview of the federal trail provisions, highlighting some of the material in the new guidebook. A trail expert with the National Park Service, Flagstaff Area National Monuments will also offer some "on the ground experiences" of applying the standards to newly constructed trails and the alteration of existing trails. Session participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance. 

    Continuing Education Recognition Available:

    Certificate of Attendance (Free)

    AIA CES (free) : 1.5 Learning Units/HSW

    LA CES (free) : 1.5 Credits

    AICP CES (free) : 1.5 Credits

    To register go to: http://www.accessibilityonline.org/Schedule/#nextSession

    Campuses Debate Rising Demands for 'Comfort Animals'

    The deluge of request made by college students for "comfort animals" has rapidly increased over the last few years which has led to both litigation and creative compromises. Students with anxiety and depression are increasingly asking to bring their comfort animals to college with them, and for the most part courts are ruling in favor of the students citing their right under the ADA to reasonable accommodations and services animals. This has raised some interesting problems for colleges and universities. One of the issues is that by allowing some students to have pets they may be endangering other students who may be allergic to these animals. To deal with that possibility some colleges have set aside washing machines specifically for students with animals to ensure that students with allergies do not have to share a washing machine with fur that could make them sick. Another difficulty for colleges is substantiating students' claims and verifying the disability is real especially given some therapist that will meet on skype and for a low fee diagnose students who may not be anxious or depressed. Perhaps the most forward thinking approach mentioned in this article comes from Ohio State, there they hold the animals to the same code of conduct as students are held, which requires students to make sure their comfort animal behaves. To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/05/us/four-legged-roommates-help-with-the-stresses-of-campus-life.html?emc=eta1&_r=1

    Special Spotlight:

    The 70th Annual National Disability Employment Awareness Month

    Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a time to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for this year - which marks 70 years since the first observance - is "My Disability is One Part of Who I Am." To get materials and ideas for celebrating, visit http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    The expanding disability market: Scenario Clinic-Free Training

    Wednesday, September 30, 2015 from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM

    Presented By: Hannah Rudstam

    During this webinar, we will explore and discuss scenarios related to serving people with disabilities in a variety of sectors and businesses. Building upon the September 9 webinar, we will pose short scenarios describing real-life dilemmas around accessibility and serving people with disabilities. The scenarios will be drawn from a variety of settings, including healthcare, retail, hospitality, recreation and education. Attendees will have a chance to interact and discuss these scenarios with the facilitator. To register go to www.northeastada.org and click on the upcoming events tab.

    Issues, Impacts and Implications of an Aging Workforce-Free training

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015 from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM

    Presented By: Sarah von Schrader and Jeffrey Tamburo

    The aging population is growing and the number of older adults in the workforce is rising, which presents multiple challenges to organizations. Age discrimination and the increased prevalence of disability with age are very common and real concerns among employers and aging workers.  This webinar will highlight the realities of this changing workforce, share information on discrimination charges filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and discuss implications for practice for both employers and disability service professionals.  This webinar also will discuss the common issues and characteristics of charges jointly filed under the ADA and ADEA. To register go to www.northeastada.org and click on the upcoming events tab.

    What's New in Our Region:

    PR Vocational Rehabilitation Administration Benefits Reduction

    The economic compensation for Puerto Rico's Vocational Rehabilitation Administration (VRA) training programs has been reduced to 40%. This compensation reduction directly affects the total cost of college tuition, and benefits such as complementary economic support, assistive technology, readers for blind participants and sign language interpreters for deaf participants. While PR VRA funds have been reduced, the number of applications and beneficiaries increased, said Ivan A. Clemente Delgado, PR VRA's Administrator.  For more information (in Spanish), visit: http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/golpeabeneficiariosderehabilitacionvocacional-2083075/

    N.J. lawmakers question why Christie refuses to address psychiatric hospital bed shortage

    Nearly one-third of people admitted to a New Jersey hospital last year sought treatment for a mental illness, an addiction, or a medical condition exacerbated by a psychiatric condition, according to mental health advocates and hospital executives. These patients likely waited at least three days in the emergency room before a hospital found the room to admit them.

    But given the option to begin a process last winter that would have solicited offers from hospitals to open more beds for psychiatric patients, the Christie administration declined to do so. Officials postponed the next review to 2017, according to a notice on the state Health Department's website.  To read more of this visit http://www.nj.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2015/09/nj_lawmakers_question_why_christie_refuses_to_addr.html

    Deaf Community Week's Activities in Puerto Rico

    San Gabriel School for deaf students will be conducting three activities during the Deaf Community Week celebration in Puerto Rico. On September 26 starting at 9:00 am they will celebrate its 14th Parade: "Hear My Hands, Communicate!" from the Hiram Bithorn Park to the School's facilities.  On September 30 at 9:00 am the School will host the "3rd. Meeting of Deaf Students of Puerto Rico" where deaf students from across PR will share a day together. On October 1 & 2 from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm will be the "10th Congress on Education for Puerto Rican Deaf People" in the School's facilities at San Juan. For more information, you can contact the school directly at 787-783-3455 or icapataz.sangabriel@gmail.com, or visit their Facebook page at: Facebook Page - San Gabriel School  

    Special Education and Services for People with Disabilities Cooperative of PR Will Hold Its Assembly

    The Special Education and Services for People with Disabilities Cooperative of Puerto Rico will host its next Assembly on September 25, 2015 at 4:00 pm at the Multiple Insurances Cooperative of PR main office library in San Juan.  This is a services cooperative that plans to create a variety of services to meet the needs of people with disabilities of all ages in Puerto Rico.  The first part of the event will be an orientation for new attendees who are interested in learning more about this Cooperative. After the orientation, the Cooperative will accept new members and will hold the Assembly meeting for members. For more information contact: 787-554-4137, 787-349-8001, jaime@segurosmultiples.com or amsan45@gmail.com.

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    ATTENTION EMPLOYERS: ACCOMMODATING MARIJUANA USE IS A CLOUDY ISSUE

    The Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't protect employees or applicants who currently use "illegal" drugs when an employer takes adverse action based on drug use. Courts have said the ADA defines "illegal drug use" by reference to the federal Controlled Substances Act, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I illegal narcotic.

    State laws that authorize medical marijuana use directly conflict with federal disability discrimination laws and parallel state statutes, rendering employers' legal obligations to individuals with disabilities unclear. Employees who seek permission to use medical marijuana as an accommodation for a disability may have accommodation rights under state medical marijuana statutes but no accommodation rights under disability laws.  Read more at http://www.bna.com/attention-employers-accommodating-b17179935521/

    It's Final! Federal Construction Contractors Must Comply With Affirmative Action Obligations for Individuals with Disabilities

    Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court in Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. v. Shiu, U.S., No. 14-1111, cert. denied 6/15/15, declined to review Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.'s (ABC) challenge to the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' (OFCCP) final rules that require all federal contractors to implement new affirmative action obligations for individuals with disabilities. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision is significant because it affirmed the government's contention that even federal construction contractors have to comply with the Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 503) final regulations, which became effective March 24, 2014.  Read more at Section 503 Final Regulations

    Are Traumatized Students Disabled? A Debate Straight Outta Compton

    A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Compton Unified School District this year.  This lawsuit, which is the first of its kind alleges that the Compton Unified School District has failed to accommodate students with trauma, which when diagnosed is a disability covered by federal law.  Since the murder rate in Compton is so high above the national average children in this school district are particularly susceptible to witnessing a traumatizing event.  That being said schools in Compton often punished instead of helped traumatized students.  Marleen Wong, a teacher at USC's School of Social Work thinks that the schools are "really doing a terrible disservice to these children" with the way they are currently handling them, but nonetheless the Compton Unified School District has already asked for the case to be dismissed. To read more, visit: http://nynow.org/post/are-traumatized-students-disabled-debate-straight-outta-compton

    Microsoft Turns Diversity Focus to Lawyers with Disabilities

    The Microsoft legal and corporate affairs group's recent attention on people with disabilities has roots in a growing awareness of the trend toward expanding their civil rights and was encouraged by legal department team members who are passionate and outspoken advocates for the issue. It was a natural evolution as the team progressed along "the diversity maturity index," as it's put by Mary Snapp, Microsoft's deputy general counsel and executive sponsor of the legal and corporate affairs diversity and inclusion team.

    "It's sort of a continuum," Snapp says. "It has begun with trying to recognize the trend, being much focused very broadly on diversity and having a couple very strong activists whom we really listened to - and it has made a difference in the department." Read more at http://www.law360.com/articles/687039/microsoft-turns-diversity-focus-to-lawyers-with-disabilities 

    Justice Department Reaches Proposed ADA Settlement Agreement On Oregon's Developmental Disabilities System

    The U.S. Justice Department announced today, along with private plaintiffs, that it has entered into a proposed settlement agreement with the state of Oregon that will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and will impact approximately 7,000 Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who can and want to work in typical employment settings in the community. The private plaintiffs were represented by the Center for Public Representation, Disability Rights Oregon and the law firms of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP and Perkins Coie LLP. The proposed agreement resolves a class action lawsuit by private plaintiffs in which the department intervened.  The parties' proposed settlement agreement must still be approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart of the District of Oregon, who is presiding over the lawsuit.  The agreement will be filed with the court in the coming weeks.  Read more at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-reaches-proposed-ada-settlement-agreement-oregons-developmental

    Opportunities for You!

    ADA@25 Three-Part Learning Series - Session 2: ABLE Act Implementation Tax Advantaged Savings Accounts

    Thursday, September 24th, 2015

    1:00 PM EDT - 3:00 PM EDT

    Online via Live Stream

    or in person at 10467 White Granite Drive, Oakton, VA 22124

    ServiceSource and the National Disability Institute present three opportunities to learn, change thinking and build knowledge. Each session will be offered in person at the ServiceSource Disability Resource Center in Oakton, Virginia and via nationwide live streaming. Register to attend at www.servicesource.org/ada25.  Session 2: The ABLE Act Implementation Tax Advantaged Savings Accounts: New Choices for Families To Create Pathways To A Better Quality Of Life. What Does It Mean For You? Featuring Representatives From: Department of the Treasury Virginia 529 College Savings Plan the Arc Autism Speaks National Down Syndrome Society.  For More Information on This Event:

    ServiceSource - ADA@25 Learning Series

    Special Spotlight:  

    ADA Compliance: Landlords, You're On the Hook

    The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability. Title III of the ADA requires that businesses provide accommodations to persons with disabilities and access that is equal or similar to that available to the general public. What many property owners do not realize is that the ADA applies to commercial landlords, even if the landlord delegates disability accommodation to its tenant. Failing to understand this obligation can create significant liability exposure for a commercial property owner. For more information visit http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ada-compliance-landlords-you-re-on-the-47443/

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Scenario Clinic: ADA and Higher Education-Free Webinar

    Presented By: Joe Zesski

    Wednesday, August 26, 2015 from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM

    The Northeast ADA Center receives calls and emails from university faculty, students, and offices for students with disabilities services, and administrators. This webinar will highlight some of the most commonly heard questions and difficult dilemmas that we have heard related to the postsecondary education setting.  To register for this webinar visit http://www.northeastada.org/ 

    What's New in Our Region:

    25 Years after the ADA, Navigating New York City Is Still Daunting For the Disabled

    July marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act, the first legislation in the U.S. to protect the civil rights of people with physical and cognitive disabilities. Across the country, the ADA has improved the equality of hiring practices and introduced architectural and transportation standards that ensure access for the disabled. But while cities such as Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and Seattle boast newer public transportation systems built in compliance with the ADA, the state of public transportation in many older American cities leaves a lot to be desired. For Bartley and the 535,839 other New Yorkers living with an ambulatory disability, navigating the city's transportation system is beyond daunting. Read the full article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/disabled-new-york_55a5084ee4b0a47ac15d5334

    NY to give $7 million to help disabled get federal benefits

    State officials have agreed to provide more than $7 million to help provide legal assistance to people who have been denied federal disability benefits.

    The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance announced the funding on July 27, 2015.  Most of the money - about $6.8 million - is being awarded through the Disability Advocacy Program to 12 agencies to provide legal representation to people whose disability benefits have been denied or may be discontinued.  The funding makes sure applicants will have legal advocates through the federal appeals process. Services will be provided by not-for-profit legal services corporations, not-for-profit agencies serving the disabled, and local departments of social services.  Just over $4.2 million of the money will go to agencies in metropolitan New York.  http://www.uticaod.com/article/20150728/NEWS/150729435

    V.I. Special Olympians Training Hard for 2015 World Games

    St. Thomas athletes, Jahkiel Maynard and Jakisha Vanterpool, are excited to fly to Los Angeles on July 21 to participate in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. Both will be competing against athletes from around the world in the 100-meter dash and shot put. Carol Mestemaker-a special education teacher at the high school from which Maynard and Vanterpool recently graduated-has been coaching them through two years of rigorous training for the games. The competition will be "a once in a lifetime experience" for the two athletes, she says. To read more, visit: http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2015/07/09/vi-special-olympians-training-hard-2015-world-games

    St. Croix Celebrates ADA Anniversary, Honors Local Activists

    On Tuesday, July 14, stakeholders gathered at the Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as to honor local activists who fought for broader compliance with the law in the 1990s. One activist, Lloyd Alfredo "Sonny" Barnes, remembers protesting in 1996 by parking his wheelchair outside of local businesses that failed to make themselves accessible to the disabled. Thanks in part to such activism, public accommodations for those with disabilities are vastly improved today-though as Barnes told the crowd, "there is still work to be done." To read more, visit:  http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2015/07/14/st-croix-celebrates-ada-anniversary-honors-local-activists

    232KNew Jersey residents could see their disability checks slashed next year

    Some 232,000 New Jersey residents receive monthly checks from Social Security's disability trust fund - which trustees warned will run out of money by late next year if action is not taken. New Jersey leads the nation in the size of those monthly checks, which are based in part on previous income earned. While the national average is $1,146, the average for New Jersey's Disability recipients is $1,258.Nationwide, the 11 million people who receive Social Security disability face steep benefit cuts next year - unless Congress acts, the government said Wednesday.  If the fund were to run out of money, it would trigger an automatic 19 percent cut in benefits. That works out to a drop in monthly benefits of $239 for the average New Jersey disability recipient.  Read the full article at

    http://www.nj.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2015/07/200k_nj_disabled_could_see_checks_cut_next_year.html

    Employment Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities in PR

    A partnership between EDP University and the Association for a Better World for Disabled Persons (AMMI) will open new educational and employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the West Region of PR.  AMMI is a nonprofit organization who actually provides employment and independent living training to 15 young adults with disabilities.  Through this alliance, AMMI participants will learn packaging and distributing disposable utensils at chain restaurants and other businesses.  For more information (in Spanish), visit: http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/oportunidadlaboralparajovenescondiscapacidades-2048165/

    Puerto Rican Special Olympics Athletes Won 53 Medals at World Games

    The PR Special Olympics delegation ended its participation in the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles, California, wining 53 medals. Such an achievement surpassed its previous performance, when in 2011 in Athens, Greece, the delegation won 44 medals, according to its President, José G. Barea.

    With grace and skill, Puerto Ricans rhythmic gymnastics athletes won 16 medals. The most prominent included: Valeria Vazquez who won a gold medal (ribbon), a silver medal (rope) and three bronze medals (hoop, ball, "all around"), while her colleague Eugenia Farinacci won two silver medals (ribbon and rope) and two bronze medals (ball and ring).

    In swimming some of the most prominent are: David H. Torres who won three gold medals in 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke and 400m freestyle.  His colleague Eneida Torres won two silver medals (100m backstroke and 200m freestyle) and a bronze medal (100m freestyle), while the flag bearer Cristina De la Vega won a gold medal in her main competition (50m freestyle) and a bronze medal in 50m butterfly.  Luis Peña (50m freestyle), Wilbert Guzman and Carlos Miró (both in open water) also were medals winners.

    In other sports, some of the outstanding athletes were the runner Natalia Márquez (50m) and the bowler Grace Santiago (simple). In team sports, Puerto Rico won the gold medal in men's softball. For more information (in Spanish), visit:

    http://www.telemundopr.com/noticias/Amasan-53-medallas-los-atletas-especiales-320430362.html#     

    http://www.primerahora.com/deportes/otros/nota/lasreinasdelagimnasiaritmica-1098856/      

    http://www.elnuevodia.com/deportes/otrosdeportes/nota/apoyodesuspadresysuequipofueclaveparalograrpresea-2078877/  

    PR Paralympic Delegation Demanded Equality

    The PR Paralympic Committee (COPAPUR) held the Ceremony to give the flag to the athletes on July 31st.  Their delegation will participate in the Paralympics Games in Toronto with 28 athletes in eight sports, including athletics, wheelchair basketball, judo, swimming, goalball, tennis court, table tennis and archery.  They said they felt neglected by the press and through the governmental structures for sports, even though proportionately they perform better in medals than the regular delegation.  Their flag ceremony was held in the PR Recreation and Sports Department's press room, while the regular delegation ceremony was held in the Governor Office and he was present. However, James Torres, COPAPUR's President, said: "we have a great team. We're ready." 

    (Puerto Rican athletes won two medals in this competition.  The swimmer Darvin Báez Eliza won bronze medal in the 50m freestyle event category S12 and the blind judo athlete Luis Jabdiel Pérez Diaz won bronze medal in the 66 kg category B2. http://www.primerahora.com/deportes/otros/nota/segundamedallaparapuertoricoenjuegosparapanamericanosdetoronto-1101766/)

    For more information (in Spanish), visit: http://www.noticel.com/noticia/179052/paralimpicos-se-abanderan-para-toronto-exigiendo-igualdad-galeria.html

    Atlantic City hotels settle claims over disabilities law

    Five Atlantic City hotels that allegedly were not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act have reached settlements with federal officials.

    The settlements announced this week culminate a review that lasted nearly five years. It also comes as the officials mark the 25th anniversary of the law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by private entities that own or operate places of public accommodation.

    Federal officials say the businesses that reached settlements include Resorts Casino Hotel; the Tropicana Casino and Resort; the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel; The Rainforest Café at the former Trump Plaza and the Trump Taj Mahal, according to a news release.  To read the full article go to http://www.njherald.com/story/29631641/atlantic-city-hotels-settle-claims-over-disabilities-law

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Features: 25th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

    In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this fact sheet lists a plethora of interesting facts about disability in the United States today. Drawing on recent U.S. Census data, the article describes various social and economic statistics relating to disability prevalence, services, accommodations, and regional differences. Read more at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-census-bureau-facts-for-features-25th-anniversary-of-americans-with-disabilities-act-july-26-300117360.html

    The ADA and the U.S. Access Board: 25 Years of Progress

    Following the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 25 years ago, the U.S. Access Board took on the critical role of helping to implement it. Incorporating extensive feedback from industry and the public, the Board authored the 1991 ADA Accessibility Guidelines, which provided specific standards and recommendations for accessible design in transportation, communication, and the built environment. In addition to rulemaking, the Board provides technical assistance and training to the public through help lines, emails, webinars, and handbooks. Thanks in part to this effort, the ADA has established its legacy as groundbreaking civil rights legislation, and has reshaped public attitudes around disability as well as the world of accessible design. Read more at http://www.access-board.gov/news/1761-the-ada-and-the-u-s-access-board-25-years-of-progress

    New PSA Focused on People with Disabilities Preparing for Emergencies

    The Ad Council and the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have launched a new public service advertisement (PSA) to raise awareness about the importance of being prepared for emergencies. While the PSA targets all communities, We Prepare Every Day is the first in a series of videos that aim to deliver a strong preparedness message by showing people with disabilities taking charge to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies. Read more at http://www.ready.gov/individuals-access-functional-needs

    AT&T awards $100K for tech to help people with disabilities

    To mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, AT&T teamed up with New York University's Ability Lab to challenge app developers to use their network and technology to make life easier for people with disabilities.

    Together they launched the Connect Ability Challenge, designed to spur innovation for people with physical, social, emotional and cognitive disabilities. Winners of the contest, which saw a total of 63 submissions, were announced Monday. Read the full article at http://www.cnet.com/news/at-t-gives-developers-100000-to-create-apps-for-people-with-disabilities/

    More Work Needs to Be Done to Prevent Exclusion of the Disabled:

    New York Times

    The Americans with Disabilities Act has made a dramatic difference for those of us who live with disabilities. But as often happens with collective wins for civil rights, after the law passed, the activist communities, the positive expressions of disabled identity and the collective energy that grew during the fight for the A.D.A. faded. Those of us with disabilities suddenly had legal rights. But we had to exercise those rights in isolation by filing individual claims with the Office of Civil Rights or by filing suits in federal courts.  Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/07/26/the-americans-with-disabilities-act-25-years-later/more-work-needs-to-be-done-to-prevent-exclusion-of-the-disabled

    Opportunities for You!

    FEMA Promising Practices Webinar: Preparedness for People with Chemical Sensitivity and People with Developmental Disabilities

    Thursday, September 10th, 2015

    11:30 AM PDT - 1:00 PM PDT

    Online

    This webinar will cover important aspects to consider when developing a disaster plan for people with developmental disabilities and for those with respiratory concerns. It will cover the specific needs of those particular members of the community and how these two programs developed necessary steps to ensure the timely delivery of medical supplies, considerations for travel (public or private), where and how to make contact with appropriate parties, and how to prepare a travel kit.  This is a free webinar.  To register please go to http://adapresentations.org/registration.php

    Special Spotlight:  

    Woman with PTSD battles harassment for service dog

    Heather Cooper of Shreveport, Louisiana relies on her service dog Briar to help cope with her PTSD. Briar calms her nerves when she suffers unpredictable panic and anxiety attacks, both at home and in public. However, Cooper says she now dislikes going out in public with Briar due to the harassment she suffers; "Employees and patrons of the businesses I've been to telling me that I can't have my dog there, that he is illegal there," she says. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in fact prohibits storeowners from complaining like this, and Cooper hopes to spread awareness that this sort of harassment is illegal.   Read more at http://www.wafb.com/story/29600383/woman-with-ptsd-battles-harassment-for-service-dog

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Help Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA by Signing the ADA Pledge Today!

    Celebrate the progress of the ADA and the 25th ADA Anniversary - July 26, 2015 - with the ADA National Network and its ten regional ADA Centers, including the Northeast ADA Center. Signing this pledge is part of a nationwide observance and recommitment to the ADA, with the goal of receiving 2,500 signatures from both individuals and organizations. By signing the Pledge, stakeholders are recognizing the progress that has been made, by reaffirming the principles of equality and inclusion and recommitting their efforts to reach full ADA compliance. You can learn more about the Pledge at: http://adaanniversary.org/pledgeon

    Free Webinar! 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Where have we been and where do we still need to go in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands?

    Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    Presented By: Yessica Guardiola

    July 26th marks the 25th anniversary of the ADA being signed into law. This webinar discussion will engage with William Sanchez, Director of Puerto Rico's EEOC office, and Noah Sacks, Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of the Virgin Islands, as they share their personal and professional perspectives on what have been the greatest successes of the implementation of the ADA, as well as what accessibility and enforcement challenges still remain throughout Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from the presenters, as well as to ask questions of their own!  Both the presentation and the PowerPoint slides will be provided in Spanish as well!  http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5066

    What's New in Our Region:

    Second Circuit Confirms That Providing "Effective" Reasonable Accommodation Sufficient Under ADA and NYS Law

    JD Supra

    In Noll v. Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp., 13-cv-4096 (2d Cir May 21, 2015), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the extent to which, under the ADA and New York State law, an employee must be provided with the precise accommodation he or she requests and whether, if the employer offers a different type of accommodation, its failure to engage in a further interactive process suffices to establish a disability discrimination claim. In Noll, the Court found the employer (IBM) did not have a duty to provide the most effective accommodation, but rather simply an effective one, and, given that it offered a reasonable accommodation, did not have a duty to engage in a further interactive process.  Read more at: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/second-circuit-confirms-that-providing-91549/

    OCR Signs Effective Communication Dear Colleague Letter with Puerto Rico Hospital Association

    The U.S. Office of Civil Rights (OCR), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Puerto Rico Hospital Association signed a joint letter to Puerto Rico hospital administrators intended to raise awareness about accommodations for hearing impaired patients in healthcare settings. The letter emphasized the importance of clear communication between doctors and hearing impaired patients, as it facilitates clear and accurate diagnosis, symptom reporting, medical instructions, and warnings. In hospitals, hearing impaired patients often use friends and family members to help communicate with medical professionals; however, friends and family may lack the technical knowledge and impartiality needed for such communication. As required by the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act-laws enforced by the OCR-doctors must assume full responsibility for clear and accurate communication with hearing impaired patients, the letter said.  To read more, visit http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/specialtopics/hospitalcommunication/colleague_letter.pdf

    Settlement reached with Winnewald Day Camp

    Concluding a lawsuit concerning alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Winnewald Day Camp in Lebanon, NJ agreed to pay a $5000 civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury as well as to change camp policy around disability accommodation. The suit followed a complaint that the summer camp expelled an 11-year-old boy in 2014 because he had Type 1 Diabetes, a disease that the camp did not want to manage. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disabilities including diabetes, and requires that businesses like camps pay for reasonable accommodations for disabilities at no additional cost to disabled patrons. As such, Winnewald Day Camp agreed to publish a disability nondiscrimination assurance on its website and train all its employees in ADA compliance, in addition to the civil penalty.  To read more, visit Settlement Reached with Winnewald Day Camp

    Service dog hit by bus trying to save blind owner in New York

    In an act onlookers described as "amazing," a service dog leaped between an oncoming school bus and his legally blind owner as the two crossed a street in Brewster, NY. According to witnesses, the dog ran between his owner and the bus moments before it struck them both. Figo, the 8-year-old golden retriever, sustained injuries to his legs, and his owner, Audrey Stone, broke several bones and suffered a head injury. Both are expected to recover. For his heroism, Figo has received high praise and local media attention. "I thank him, I thank God that I have him, and that he survived, too, and I love him," Stone said. To read more, visit http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/09/us/feat-service-dog-bus-blind-new-york/

    Register to Assist People with Disabilities during Emergencies in PR

    A multi-sectorial alliance led by the PR Department of Health (DOH), the 911 Administration and Primary Health Association of Puerto Rico (ASPPR), has created a Register of Vulnerable Populations and functional, database that, as a census, keep all personal information, location and health status of People with Disabilities, with the main purpose of establishing plans, protocols and trainings to respond effectively to this population in emergencies. To register call 311.  For more information (in Spanish) visit:

    http://dialogoupr.com/noticia/puertorico/crean-registro-para-asistir-a-personas-con-impedimentos-durante-emergencias/

    Historic Agreement on Special Education Litigation in PR

    The PR Department of Justice's Secretary, Atty. Cesar Miranda, announced the signing of the first damage compensation agreement in a long-running class-action regarding special education services in Puerto Rico.  Rosa Lydia Vélez, sued the Department of Education 35 years ago to demand for special education services for her daughter, Isamar Malaret.  When the stipulated sentence happened in 2002 she was an adult and did not qualify for the services; so she never received it.

    After the stipulated sentence a monitoring process was established to verify compliance in providing services and on April 5, 2013, the Court validated the plaintiffs' right to separately claim damages.

    The $125,000 damages award was specifically for only Rosa Lydia Vélez and her daughter Isamar Malaret and does not include other plaintiffs.  Under PR Law the government shall not pay more than $150,000 for damage compensations.

    After signing the agreement Rosa Lydia said she was happy and pleased.

    For more information (in Spanish) visit: http://www.wapa.tv/noticias/locales/historico-acuerdo-pleito-sobre-educacion especial_20131122257543.html

    Is NFTA violating ADA requirements with bus cuts?

    In this opinion piece, New York State Sen. Robert Ortt argues that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's (NFTA's) recent decision to eliminate two public bus routes-and the paratransit routes that go with them-will undermine the independence and quality of life of disabled people who rely on them for transportation. He further claims that NFTA's decision may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by local public entities including public transportation.  Read more, at: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/does-your-website-or-mobile-app-34481/

    What's New in the Rest of the Country: 

    Justice Department publishes new technical assistance document for State and local governments

    The Department of Justice has published a new technical assistance document, ADA Update: A Primer for State and Local Governments, to help State and local government officials understand how title II of the ADA applies to their programs, activities, and services. This 16-page illustrated guide addresses general nondiscrimination requirements, such as provisions relating to program accessibility, service animals, communicating with people with disabilities, other power-driven mobility devices, and policies and procedures. The document also addresses how the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design apply to the built environment, including existing buildings and facilities, new construction, and alterations.

    To find out more about the ADA, visit ADA.gov or call the Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD).

    DOJ Shifts Position on Web Access: Stating In Court Filings That Public Accommodations Have a "Pre-Existing" Obligation to Make Websites Accessible

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently filed two statements clarifying how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires "public accommodation" websites to be made accessible to people with disabilities. Departing significantly from statements made in 2010, the DOJ now claims that such websites are legally obligated to accommodate disabled audiences, even if there exist other accessible methods of obtaining the same services offered online, such as a 24-hour telephone line. Furthermore, this obligation exists even though the DOJ has not provided official regulations for website accessibility, which they say could be years from release. The two statements were issued in response to two ongoing federal lawsuits against private universities who allegedly failed to make some online videos accessible to the deaf. Read more at:  http://www.adatitleiii.com/2015/06/doj-shifts-position-on-web-access-stating-in-court-filings-that-public-accommodations-have-a-pre-existing-obligation-to-make-websites-accessible/

    United Airlines to Pay Over $1 Million to Settle EEOC Lawsuit

    Settling a high-profile federal disability lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), United Airlines Inc. has agreed to pay just over $1 million as well as to enact broad changes to company disability accommodation policy. The EEOC filed the suit in 2009, alleging that United Airlines' competitive transfer policy for disabled employees violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Rather than making reasonable accommodations for disabled employees as the ADA requires, the airline forced their disabled employees to compete for limited vacant positions that their disabilities did not interfere with. As a result, some qualified employees with disabilities were denied continued employment with United. In addition to the monetary settlement, paid to a handful of disabled former United employees, the airline agreed to end the competitive transfer policy.  "I am pleased this major decision also served as a springboard for the strong monetary and non-monetary remedies in today's resolution," said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. To read more, visit http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/6-11-15.cfm

    When 'Reasonable Accommodation' Isn't

    According to FBI statistics, 76 police officers were killed and 49,851 were the victims of line-of-duty assaults in 2013.  In addition to the danger that comes with the job, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) adds another layer of challenges for law enforcement agencies.  Under the ADA, police departments and officers are legally liable if they violate the law's mandate to provide reasonable accommodation to disabled persons who are detained or taken into custody.  This term the Supreme Court took up the matter of City and County of San Francisco v Sheehan, which raised the question whether Title II of the ADA requires law enforcement officers to provide reasonable accommodation to armed and violent mentally ill individuals.  The court sidestepped ruling on the issue and in doing so, missed an opportunity to help law enforcement agencies and personnel avoid the legal minefield created by the ADA. Read more at:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/06/when_reasonable_accommodation_isnt.html

    Opportunities for You!

    ADA Anniversary Update: 25 Years Later

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015
    2:00 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. EST

    Sponsored By: National Network of ADA Centers; Coordinated by the Great Lakes ADA Center

    Mark the 25th Anniversary of the ADA by joining this audio conference as we listen to representatives of the EEOC and DOJ present an update on their litigation, technical assistance and enforcement efforts over the past year. Participants will have an opportunity to pose questions to the presenters regarding issues in their own workplace or community. Registration is free but you must be registered no later than July 20th 2015 to participate.  Sessions are 90 minutes in length starting at 2:00pm Eastern/1:00pm Central/12:00pm Mountain/11:00am Pacific unless otherwise noted. Sessions are offered free of charge. All sessions are closed captioned via the webinar platform.

    Continuing Education Recognition available: Certificate of Attendance (Free); Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) (1.5 Contact Hours).

    For further information you can contact the Great Lakes ADA Center,
    Phone: 877-232-1990 (toll free) or 312-413-1407 (0)
    Email: adaconferences@adagreatlakes.org

    http://www.adasoutheast.org/eventscalendar.php?eventid=995

    Special Spotlight:  

    Does Your Website or Mobile App Discriminate?

    As websites and mobile applications have grown in popularity, disability lawsuits filed against businesses with "non-accessible" websites and mobile applications have become more common. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that physical places of "public accommodation" such as businesses be made accessible to people with disabilities. Although the Department of Justice (DOJ) has yet to clarify how the ADA applies to virtual spaces, it has suggested that businesses whose websites comply with World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) should be safe from legal penalties. Read more, at: http://www.niagara-gazette.com/opinion/guest-view-is-nfta-violating-ada-requirements-with-bus-cuts/article_ebc56762-0b61-583f-a097-c1a68da15f32.html


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Help Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA by Signing the ADA Pledge Today!

    Celebrate the progress of the ADA and the 25th ADA Anniversary - July 26, 2015 - with the ADA National Network and its ten regional ADA Centers, including the Northeast ADA Center. Signing this pledge is part of a nationwide observance and recommitment to the ADA, with the goal of receiving 2,500 signatures from both individuals and organizations. By signing the Pledge, stakeholders are recognizing the progress that has been made, by reaffirming the principles of equality and inclusion and recommitting their efforts to reach full ADA compliance. You can learn more about the Pledge at: http://adaanniversary.org/pledgeon

    Free Webinar! Access to Sports Facilities

    6-24-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    This webinar will provide an overview of the 2010 ADA Standards requirements for access to Sports Facilities. Topics covered are areas of indoor and outdoor sports activity and viewing areas, including facility access requirements for stadiums, as well as court sports. Team or player seating areas and access to exercise equipment and machines will also be reviewed. To learn more and register, please visit:  http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5064

    Free Webinar! 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Where have we been and where do we still need to go in New York and New Jersey? 7-8-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    July 26th marks the 25th anniversary of the ADA being signed into law. This webinar discussion will engage Joe Amoroso, Director of New Jersey's Division of Disability Services and Jim Weisman, General Counsel for United Spinal Association, as they share their personal and professional perspectives on what have been the greatest successes of the implementation of the ADA, as well as what accessibility and enforcement challenges still remain within NY and NJ. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from the presenters, as well as to ask questions of their own! To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5065 

    Free Webinar! 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Where have we been and where do we still need to go in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands?

    7-22-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    July 26th marks the 25th anniversary of the ADA being signed into law. This webinar discussion will engage William Sanchez, Director of Puerto Rico's EEOC office, and Noah Sacks, Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of the Virgin Islands, as they share their personal and professional perspectives on what have been the greatest successes of the implementation of the ADA, as well as what accessibility and enforcement challenges still remain throughout Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from the presenters, as well as to ask questions of their own!   To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5066 

    What's New in Our Region:

    Rockland Center Works to Improve Unemployment for Veterans and People with Disabilities

    The Rockland Independent Living Center recently launched a subsidiary in Chestnut Ridge, NY. The Connections Contact Center is designed to put people with disabilities and veterans back to work while providing valuable call center and other related services to businesses throughout Rockland County. "It is a proven model," said George Hoehmann, CEO and Executive Director of the Independent Living Center. "Call centers are run by not-for-profits all over, and we thought this was an opportunity that we could start up and be scalable, ultimately to employ up to 300 call center agents."

    Read more at: http://westfaironline.com/71588/rockland-center-takes-on-veteran-disabled-unemployment/

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Federal Lawsuit Challenging Uber X's Exclusion of Service Animals Moves into Discovery

     National Federation of the Blind of California filed an ADA lawsuit alleging that Uber X drivers committed various forms of discrimination, including refusal to transport blind riders with service animals.  The plaintiffs alleged that Uber is subject to the ADA as either a place of "public accommodation" or, alternatively, as a "specified public transportation service" that also has nondiscrimination obligations. In its motion to dismiss, Uber contended that it is not a place of "public accommodation" covered by the ADA. Ultimately, the Court determined that Uber may be a place of "public accommodation" under Title III of the ADA for purposes of surviving a motion to dismiss, because Title III of the ADA lists twelve "places of public accommodation," one of which is a "travel service". Since the Court denied Uber's motion to dismiss on all grounds, Uber has recently answered the plaintiffs' complaint and will now have to defend against these claims. Read more at: Federal Lawsuit Challenging UberX's Exclusion of Service Animals

    Justice Department Issues Letter of Findings regarding Augusta County, VA Polling Place Accessibility

    On May 13, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a letter, finding that Augusta County, VA is in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by denying voters with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in the County's voting programs, services, and activities because over 80% of the County's polling places are not physically accessible to persons with mobility and vision disabilities. DOJ identified a number of barriers at polling locations to be removed in order to meet the requirements of Title II. You can read the Letter of Findings here: http://www.ada.gov/briefs/augusta_lof.html

    Researchers Help People with Disabilities Raise Employment Expectations

    The Family Employment Awareness Training, also known as FEAT, has helped individuals and families in Kansas improve their expectations about employment since 2010. Rhode Island contracted with the program, housed in the University of Kansas Beach Center on Disability, late last year, following a Department of Justice consent decree that the state was not providing equitable employment opportunities for all residents. Roughly 10 other states have shown interest as well. The program was born from a Medicaid Infrastructure Grant. Part one of FEAT focuses on increasing expectations for employment by sharing examples of individuals who are successfully competitively employed in their communities and talking about expectations for the transition from school to adulthood, while part two looks at the resources available to assist families in achieving their goals.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-05-people-disabilities-employment.html#jCp

    Celebrating 25 years of the ADA: Ensuring Access to Jobs and Electronic Court Documents for People with Disabilities

    As part of its celebration of the ADA's 25th Anniversary, this month's Justice Blog spotlights recent successes in access to employment and access to the courts. In the employment arena, the Department of Justice reached settlements with nine public employers to require them to remove illegal questions asking applicants about their disabilities from their job applications. In addition, several agreements required employers to ensure that their online job application websites are accessible in compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA. For more information on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Department of Justice's enforcement activity, please visit www.ADA.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY). 

    Father of Boy with Down Syndrome Fired After Asking Co-Workers Not To Use Offensive Language

    Christa Miller says on her Facebook page that her boyfriend was allegedly called a "retard" by two female employees at the Chili's in the Pittsburgh Mills Mall.  

    Bruce Casper, was fired from his job after complaining to management about employees using offensive language when he made it clear that his son has Down syndrome and he wouldn't tolerate the word, the manager said, "You can leave then," and he did.  This article highlights a campaign started by Nancy Murray, the president of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh, to end the use of words that denigrate individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities, noting that word the word "retard" is derogatory and it's "simply not acceptable."

    Read More at: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2015/06/01/father-of-boy-with-down-syndrome-fired-after-asking-co-workers-not-to-use-offensive-language/

    The biggest hurdle for lawyers with disabilities: preconceptions

    Over the past couple of decades, technological and medical advances have made it much easier (or in some instances, possible) for lawyers with disabilities to perform ordinary tasks in legal work. But at the same time, old attitudes and perceptions have been slow to lose their grasp. "We're still often looked at as a delicate flower or damaged, and that makes it hard to be part of the diverse fabric of the workforce," says Stuart Pixley, a senior attorney at Microsoft Corp. Attitudes and perceptions have long been the fly in most ointments. And a fundamental shift is underway as some law firms, such as Schiff Hardin, take the lead in considering lawyers with disabilities as a minority group-not as people deserving pity or charity.

    Read more at: http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/the_biggest_hurdle_for_lawyers_with_disabilities_preconceptions

    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar! 7-2-15 - Accessible Swimming Pools and Spas - Question and Answer Session

    2:30 PM - 4:00 PM EST

    Accessibility On-Line will provide an overview of the scoping and technical requirements for accessible swimming pools and spas and to respond to your burning questions. Session participants are encouraged to submit your questions in advance regarding swimming pool lifts, sloped entries, requirements for multiple pools and spaces on the same site, or on any of the other provisions. Participants are also encouraged to view a previous archived session on the basic provisions for swimming pools and spas. To register, please visit:

    http://www.accessibilityonline.org/RegistrationInformation/

    Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Webinar! 7-14-15 - ADA Update

    2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

    Join the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and JAN as representatives provide participants with the latest developments in the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the workplace, some practical tips for compliance, and answers to tough ADA questions. To register, please visit: http://prod.askjan.org/webcast/registration.cfm

    Special Spotlight:  

    Justice Department Green Lights New Access Symbol to Represent People with Disabilities

    A top official with the Department of Justice recently said that a proposed, more robust disability access sign carries the same legal standing and meaning as the "stick-figure" sign now in use in parking lots across the nation.  That comes as big news to supporters of the new sign who for years have been working in stiff opposition to convince state and local governments, as well as the private sector, to adopt the more active, engaged disability symbol.  Read more at: United Spinal New Access Symbol   

    You can learn more about the new Access Icon here: http://www.accessibleicon.org/

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Help Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA by Signing the ADA Pledge Today!

    Celebrate the progress of the ADA and the 25th ADA Anniversary - July 26, 2015 - with the ADA National Network and its ten regional ADA Centers, including the Northeast ADA Center. Signing this pledge is part of a nationwide observance and recommitment to the ADA, with the goal of receiving 2,500 signatures from both individuals and organizations. By signing the Pledge, stakeholders are recognizing the progress that has been made, by reaffirming the principles of equality and inclusion and recommitting their efforts to reach full ADA compliance. You can learn more about the Pledge at: http://adaanniversary.org/pledgeon

    The Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Are you ready for your close up?

    We want to hear your story! July 26th marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Northeast ADA Center invites you to help us celebrate! Tell us about how the ADA has changed your work life, your social life and your ability to be involved in your community. Realizing that there is still progress to be made, we'd like to highlight how far we've come in the last 25 years. We are looking to create an ADA anniversary video, and your story could be selected!  In order to be considered for our video and free ADA National Network training registration, you must currently live in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Your story must be submitted no later than June 1, 2015. To learn more and to submit your story, please visit: http://www.northeastada.org/pages/anniversary/index.cfm

    Free Webinar! The State of Employment for People with Disabilities: Opportunities and Challenges

    5-27-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    It is more and more common that employers recruit, screen, and conduct much of the hiring process online. While this has given employers new ways of finding workers, it has also presented challenges for employers and for people with disabilities. Joe Bontke of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will detail some of the pitfalls that employers may face regarding on line tools and processes under the ADA. He will also look ahead to potential emerging issues in online employment practices and the rights of people with disabilities. To learn more and to register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5061

    Free Webinar! Access to Community Recreation Areas

    6-10-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    This webinar will provide an overview of the recreation areas required to be accessible under the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, including: amusement rides, boating facilities, fishing piers and platforms, golf courses, miniature golf, and swimming pools and spas. We will also discuss the ADA Title II and Title III obligations to comply with the recreation accessibility requirements for existing recreation areas and those that are newly constructed or altered. To learn more and register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5062

    Free Webinar! Access to Sports Facilities

    6-24-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    This webinar will provide an overview of the 2010 ADA Standards requirements for access to Sports Facilities. Topics covered are areas of indoor and outdoor sports activity and viewing areas, including facility access requirements for stadiums, as well as court sports. Dressing, fitting, and locker rooms, team or player seating areas and access to exercise equipment and machines will also be reviewed. To learn more and register, please visit:  http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5064

    What's New in Our Region:

    Accessibility Changes Coming to Madison County, New York

    An agreement with Madison County, New York was announced on April 22nd by the U.S. Department of Justice. The County will take important steps to improve access for people with disabilities, such as: physically modifying facilities, routes into buildings, entrances, service areas and counters, restrooms, public telephones, and drinking fountains in addition to posting, modifying its webpage to be accessible publishing and distributing notices to inform members of the public of the provisions of the ADA and their applicability to the County's programs, services and activities. Additionally, they will officially recognize New York telephone relay service as a key means of communicating with individuals who are deaf, are hard-of-hearing, or have speech impairments and train staff in its use. For more information or for a copy of the settlement agreement, please visit the DOJ ADA website at www. ada.gov. Those interested in finding out more about the ADA may also call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    ADA and GINA Wellness Incentive Clarifications in Progress

    Republican Senators and Representatives have recently introduced the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act. This Act was introduced after a court denial of an injunction in litigation proceedings where the Employment Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sought to enjoin an employer for their attempt to implement an employee incentive program that the EEOC claimed was too large and therefore prevented the program from being voluntary. The Act seeks to mediate the disparities between the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Additionally, the EEOC has sent a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in an attempt to gain clearance for new programs aimed at improving clarity on what types of financial and other employment incentives managers are allowed to promote. Following an approval of the EEOC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the OMB, the rule will be published in the Federal Register for 60 days in which time a public notice and comment period will commence. For more information on the EEOC's rule or its litigation please visit: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/4-16-15.cfm

    Fourth Circuit Court Establishes Positive Precedent in Disability Rights Cases

    In response to the court case Jacobs v. NC Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in which a woman claimed that she was unfairly fired by the AOC for her request for accommodation due to her anxiety disorder, the Fourth Circuit court has decided to overturn the district court's dismissal of the suit after reviewing the case under Jacobs' appeal. The Fourth Circuit court concluded that the District Court relied predominantly on the AOC's account of events without due consideration the plaintiffs, and that their summary dismissal of the case under their conclusion that Jacobs did not meet the criteria of the ADA definition of disability was a discriminatory act that did not take into account broader definitions of disability under the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). This decision suggests broader progress in disability rights by reaffirming the need to determine if disability discrimination has occurred and rectifying such discrimination, as opposed to solely focusing on the definition of "disability". For more information on the court case and the Fourth Circuit's decision, please visit: http://www.law360.com/articles/637082/4th-circ-sets-stage-for-disability-litigation-under-ada

    Opportunities for You!

     May 28th, 2015 - Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day (DD Day) Conference, Niagara Falls, NY

    The 27th Annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day (DD Day) Conference, Niagara Falls, NY will be held on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at the Niagara Falls Event and Convention Center, Niagara Falls, New York. The convention brings together local and regional agencies, industry connected vendors and suppliers, direct support professionals and the individuals that all of these groups support.  The conference is the largest one of its kind in the United States and will offer 13 one-hour workshops. Tickets are available at three levels, with more than 200 free scholarship tickets available for people who qualify.  Luncheon ($20.00) and workshop only tickets ($12.00) are also available. To learn more and register, please visit http://www.ddday.org/.

    Webinar Series Focuses on Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace

    This June, the NorthWest ADA Center will present a new webinar series titled Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace. Speakers from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) will be leading the series in a two part session geared towards employers, rehabilitation professionals, medical professionals, employment specialists, and individuals with disabilities who are currently employed or seeking employment. The first part of the session will take place on June 2nd and will be led by JAN speakers Kelsey Lewis and Melanie Whetzel. Part One, Accommodating Employees with Mental Health Impairments in the Workplace, will go over accommodation options for specific and more general mental impairments and how to address them in the workplace in compliance with the ADA. Part two will take place on June 23rd and will be led by JAN speakers Traci Jordan and Elisabeth Simpson. Part two, Reasonable Accommodation and the Interactive Process under the Americans with Disabilities Act, will further review the interaction between the ADA and workplace accommodations. The seminar will detail what the ADA requires in terms of asking for and providing accommodations in the workplace, as well as discuss some key terms and definitions pertaining to reasonable accommodations under the ADA. Both seminars will provide real world examples of accommodation problem areas and go over specific solutions for addressing them. Each seminar will be from 10:00-11:30 am PT and registration will close twenty four hours before the first session. Additionally, participants will have the option of obtaining 1.5 CRCC credits or a Letter of Attendance for each session. The cost of registration is $45 per person per site. For more information on the seminar please visit: http://www.northwestada.org/pages/webinars/

    Upcoming ADA Conference in Pennsylvania

    On June 3rd, the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center will be holding a one-day conference on the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey. Prior to the conference, on June 2nd, there will also be a pre-conference session that will provide an overview of the ADA from 1-4:30 pm at no additional charge. The June 3rd conference will have a panel of speakers from a wide range of state departments including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Access Board and the Federal Transportation Administration. The keynote address will be given by C. Scott Wyatt, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, followed by Wednesday afternoon breakout sessions on topics pertaining to accessibility and design, ADA and employment, general ADA topics and Title II. The registration fee is $149. Mid-Atlantic ADA Network members can also save an additional $25.

    For more information on the conference please visit http://www.adainfo.org/  or call: 1-800-949-4232 V/TTY (DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, WV) 301-217-0124 V/TTY

    Special Spotlight:  JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ENFORCES WEB SITE ACCESSIBILITY

    Website accessibility is not only where your site can be viewed, but how the content is presented to a user. When a user with a hearing or vision disability visits your site, are they going to be able to access and understand the content the same as any other user? While website accessibility primarily focuses on users with disabilities, it can benefit all your users, such as those using mobile devices as well as search engine crawlers.

    The Justice Department announced today that it reached settlement agreements under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the City of Parowan, Utah; the City of Española, New Mexico; and the Village of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Under the settlement agreements, each public entity agrees not to conduct any medical examinations or make disability-related inquiries of job applicants before a conditional offer of employment is made. Two of the entities must make their online employment opportunities website and job applications conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, which are industry guidelines for making web content accessible.

    To find out more about the ADA or these settlement agreements, call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA.gov website.


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    4-22-15 - Free Webinar! Building & Universal Design Q&A - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    The Northeast ADA Center staff will answer the ADA and Universal Design building accessibility questions from stakeholders and also address the most common questions related to building design that our Technical Assistance staff receives. To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5059

    5-27-15 - Free Webinar! The State of Employment for People with Disabilities: Opportunities and Challenges - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    It is more and more common that employers recruit, screen, and conduct much of the hiring process online. While this has given employers new ways of finding workers, it has presented challenges for employers and for people with disabilities. Joe Bontke of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will detail some of the pitfalls that employers may face regarding on line tools and processes under the ADA. He will also look ahead to potential emerging issues in online employment practices and the rights of people with disabilities. To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5061

    Come Join Us at the NY Metro Area Abilities Expo!

    The Northeast ADA Center will be in attendance at the NY Metro Area Abilities Expo from May 1 - 3, 2015 at the New Jersey Convention & Expo Center in Edison, NJ. For more than 30 years, Abilities Expo has been the go-to source for the Community of people with disabilities, their families, seniors, veterans, and healthcare professionals. Every event at the Expo opens your eyes to new technologies, new possibilities, new solutions and new opportunities to change your life. Come discover ability-enhancing products and services, play a few adaptive sports, learn new dance moves, attend informative workshops, and much more. Be sure to stop by the Northeast ADA Center's display- Booth #860 titled the "ADA Legacy Project" in Expo materials, to see the ADA Legacy Tour exhibit, a traveling exhibition designed to raise public awareness and generate excitement about the 25th Anniversary of the ADA. You can learn more about the Expo (which is free of charge) and register at: http://www.abilities.com/newyork/

    Help Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA by Signing the ADA Pledge Today!

    Celebrate the progress of the ADA and the 25th ADA Anniversary - July 26, 2015 - with the ADA National Network and its ten regional ADA Centers, including the Northeast ADA Center. Signing this pledge is part of a nationwide observance and recommitment to the ADA, with the goal of receiving 2,500 signatures from both individuals and organizations. By signing the Pledge, stakeholders are recognizing the progress that has been made, by reaffirming the principles of equality and inclusion and rededicating their efforts to reach full ADA compliance. You can learn more about the Pledge at: http://adaanniversary.org/pledgeon

    Survey Participation Requested of Hotel and Lodging Industry HR Professionals:

    The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center at TransCen, Inc., and researchers at the University of Maryland at College Park, are conducting a survey of HR experiences with providing reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities in the hotel and lodging industry. As a token of appreciation for participating in this 12-15 minute electronic survey, the sponsors are offering a voluntary opportunity to enter a lottery to win a $25.00 VISA gift card. You have a 1 in 3 chance of winning a card.  If you are interested, please click on the link below.

    http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1747298/Reasonable-accommodations-in-the-Lodging-Sector

    What's New in Our Region:

    New Advocacy Project in NJ, People First NJ

    The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD) is launching a new disability advocacy project, People First NJ.  Joining the international grassroots movement known as People First, NJCCD is working with self- advocates to establish a new disability rights organization in New Jersey, solely lead and maintained by individuals with disabilities. To learn more, please visit: https://www.njcdd.org/projects/people-first-new-jersey/about-people-first-nj

    KPH Healthcare Services &Attorney General Schneiderman Commit to Equal Access

    As part of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's recent initiative to ensure equal access to places of public accommodation in New York for people with disabilities, New York based KPH Healthcare Services, Inc. that operates Kinney Drugs chain of pharmacies, has entered into an agreement to ensure effective communication services for customers who are deaf or hard of hearing. The U.S. Census estimates that over 700,000 New Yorkers are either deaf or hard of hearing. With KPH Healthcare Services' agreement, each Kinney Drugs Store will provide assistive listening systems and provide qualified sign-language interpreters. KPH Healthcare will also pay $30,000 to Onondaga County to go towards programs that benefit individuals that are deaf or have other types of disabilities. New protocols will also be developed to ensure that the company is meeting the needs of individuals that require accommodations and employee training will also be provided. You can read more at: http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-secures-agreement-kinney-drugs-ensuring-accessibility-deaf-and-hard

    New Report Highlights Extensive Accessibility Barriers to NYC Courthouses

    New York City's courthouses and holding pens are rife with problems-from a lack of elevators to poorly marked, separate entrances-that make them inaccessible or unduly difficult to navigate for people with physical disabilities, according to a new report. Some detainees in Manhattan who use wheelchairs have been carried down flights of stairs by jail guards after arrest to be booked and processed, while in Staten Island improvised criminal court proceedings for defendants that use wheelchairs are moved to the first floor because there's no elevator to the second floor courtroom, the investigation by the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest found. "One thing we found was that the only way for a person who has a mobility disability to access a courthouse is through a makeshift arrangement that negatively draws attention to his or her disability," said Navin Pant, a staff attorney and a co-author of the 20-page report which was released on March 24, 2015. You can read the full report here: http://www.nylpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Accessible-Justice-NYLPI-3-23-15.pdf

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    DOJ Delays NPRM on Title III Web Accessibility Requirements

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) has postponed its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the accessibility requirements of websites for places of public accommodations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, from March, 2015 to June, 2015. The DOJ has been working on two sets of website regulations - one applicable to state and local governments (Title II) and another for public accommodations (Title III). The proposed website regulations for state and local governments have experienced delays as well, and have been under review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) since July, 2014. Typically, OMB is the last stop for all regulations before they are published, so we expect to see a final rule for web accessibility for Title II entities before we see a final rule for Title III entities. You can view the full text of the Proposed Rule here: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=201410&RIN=1190-AA61

    Justice Department Reaches Settlement Agreement with edX Inc. Provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

    On April 2nd, The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has entered into a settlement agreement with edX Inc., to remedy alleged violations of the ADA. The Agreement resolves DOJ's allegations that edX's website, www.edx.org, and its Platform were not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who have physical disabilities affecting manual dexterity.

    Under the Agreement, edX will significantly modify its website, Platform, and Mobile Applications to conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA, the industry guidelines for making web content accessible. EdX will also provide guidance and authoring tools to the approximately 60 universities and institutions that create and offer over 450 courses to more than 3,000,000 learners on its website. To view the entire settlement agreement, please visit: http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2015/04/02/edx_settlement_agreement.pdf

    DOT Final Rule - Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities; Reasonable Modification of Policies and Practices

    The Department of Transportation issued the final rule on March 13, 2015 which revises its rules under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, specifically to provide that transportation entities are required to make reasonable modifications/accommodations to policies, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination and ensure that their programs are accessible to individuals with disabilities. The real-world effect of this rule will be that the nature of an individual's disability cannot preclude a public transportation entity from providing full access to the entity's service unless some exception applies. For example, an individual using a wheelchair who needs to access the bus will be able to board the bus even though sidewalk construction or snow prevents the individual from boarding the bus from the bus stop; the operator of the bus will need to slightly adjust the boarding location so that the individual using a wheelchair may board from an accessible location. This rule is effective July 13, 2015. You can read more at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/03/13/2015-05646/transportation-for-individuals-with-disabilities-reasonable-modification-of-policies-and-practices

    Judge Rules Service Dog is a Reasonable Accommodation in Elementary School

    Last March, Monica Alboniga, mother of seven year old Anthony Alboniga, won a two year court battle against South Florida's Broward County School Board, allowing Stevie, her son's Staffordshire Terrier service dog, to accompany her son to school. Anthony has Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Paralysis, a seizure disorder and cannot speak. Stevie is his constant companion that is trained to help him in the case of a medical crisis. Ms. Alboniga single handedly paid for and trained Stevie to the specifications of the Assistance Dog International Standards. Stevie can alert caregivers when Anthony is having a seizure, help stabilize Anthony's head in order to ensure that his airway is not blocked and can jump on a sensor mat to activate an alert to signal help in addition to wearing a red service dog vest that contains medical supplies with a detailed list of instructions on how to respond in emergencies. Despite school administrators' attempts to claim that Stevie did not belong at the school or, if he did, there were to be severe regulations surrounding him, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom ruled that Stevie could accompany Anthony to Nob Hill Elementary without the extensive list of requirements the school district insisted on. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2015/02/25/in-fight-service-dog/20090/

    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar! 4-28-15 - Disability and Employment: Research, Policy, & Practice

    The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment Policy and Measurement (EPM-RRTC) at the Institute on Disability (IOD) is sponsoring this webinar for representatives from social, behavioral, and health research, policymakers, and anyone looking to enhance their understanding of the economic circumstances of people with disabilities. To learn more and register, please visit: https://www.events.unh.edu/RegistrationForm.pm?event_id=17639

    Free Webinar! 5-7-15 - Application of the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards

    Accessibility On-Line is hosting this webinar on the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards that apply to a wide range of facilities in the public and private sectors. This session will cover how the standards apply in new construction, alterations, and additions and review scoping requirements, general exceptions, and other provisions relevant to application. Examples of different types of facilities will be used to illustrate application of the standards. To learn more and register, please visit http://www.accessibilityonline.org/Schedule/

    Special Spotlight: Filing ADA Complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice can now be Done Electronically!

    As this year marks the 25th Anniversary of the ADA, providing an additional option for filing ADA complaints that reflects advances in technology, will hopefully assist many people with disabilities and other stakeholders as they take steps to contact the Department of Justice (DOJ) when they note areas that violate the DOJ's ADA regulations. Through lawsuits and settlement agreements, DOJ has achieved greater access for individuals with disabilities in hundreds of cases. Often, the first step in these victories for the disability community is the filing of a complaint with the Department.

    Given this, DOJ is pleased to announce that individuals wishing to file ADA complaints with the Department are now able to complete a complaint form on-line and submit the form electronically. Those individuals who file complaints will also immediately receive a "reference number" that can be used whenever contacting the Department about that complaint.  The electronic form is available in both English and Spanish and can be accessed here: http://www.ada.gov/complaint/. As of March 15, 2015, e-mail complaints are no longer accepted by the Department, however, complaints will still be accepted by U. S. mail. You can contact the Department's ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (v); 1-800-514-0383 (TTY) to request a paper complaint form by mail. To learn more about DOJ's enforcement activities around the ADA, please visit: www.ada.gov.

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Free Webinar! Community Accessibility Q&A

    3-25-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    The ADA and other disability laws exist to promote the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of community life. This session will feature guest speakers who will discuss the independent living movement and the role of grass roots advocacy efforts to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities, with a look at both successes and challenges that people with disabilities face. To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5056

    Free Webinar! Universal Design: What does it Really Mean?

    4-8-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    This webinar will review the major principles of Universal Design and will also discuss how Universal Design concepts differ from the requirements for physical accessibility that are found in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5058

    Building Design Accessibility Webinar - 4-22-15 - Submit Your Questions!

    We want to hear from you! Our webinar on 4-22-15 will address your ADA building design questions. If you have a question to submit for this webinar, please send it via email to northeastada@cornell.edu with the subject line "Building Design Question" by April 10th, 2015.

    Help Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA by Signing the ADA Pledge Today!

    Celebrate the progress of the ADA and the 25th ADA Anniversary - July 26, 2015 - with the ADA National Network and its ten regional ADA Centers, including the Northeast ADA Center. Signing this pledge is part of a nationwide observance and recommitment to the ADA, with the goal of receiving 2,500 signatures from both individuals and organizations. By signing the Pledge, stakeholders are recognizing the progress that has been made, by reaffirming the principles of equality and inclusion and recommitting their efforts to reach full ADA compliance. You can learn more about the Pledge at: http://adaanniversary.org/pledgeon

    What's New in Our Region:

    Comptroller Audits the Special Education Program in Puerto Rico

    The Office of the Comptroller of Puerto Rico audited the Department of Education's Special Education Program from June 2009 - July 2013.  The findings of this audit include: billing therapy sessions for 45 minutes of service when service wasn't beyond 30 minutes; therapies billed and collected without certification that were actually offered; numerous discrepancies in the times and places at which allegedly therapies were offered; and billing and payment to seven specialists contracted by the Program for 38 therapies "offered" on days when children were absent from their classes. The PR Comptroller, Yesmín Valdivieso, recently stated: "It is evident that the Department of Education failed to ensure that therapies are offered as contracted and that children receive the recommended treatment." For more information read (in Spanish):

    www.elnuevodia.com/opinion/editoriales/laceranteslasexcusassobreeducacionespecial-editorial-2000821/

    AIDD Audits the Protection and Advocacy Agency in Puerto Rico        

    In May 2012, the Administration of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) released an audit report based on research findings from 2007 - 2011 of the Office of the Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities (OPPI by its Spanish initials), the Protection and Advocacy Agency in Puerto Rico.  Some deficiencies noted in the audit report include: the lack of qualified employees to manage some federal grants; lack of knowledge about federal laws and regulations and its powers and authority as an entity; and incomplete reporting.  At this time, AIDD has not approved any of the corrective action plans submitted by OPPI and, therefore, appointed the agency as "high risk" on April 2014.  In October 2014, AIDD discontinued federal funding to OPPI.  The fallout of this is that 50 jobs in OPPI and certain services for people with disabilities may be lost.  On March 19th, 2015 OPPI should explain their corrective actions at an administrative hearing with the federal agency.  For more information read (in Spanish):

    www.primerahora.com/noticias/gobiernopolitica/nota/fortalezaaseguraqueoppidebeatendersenalamientosfederales-1063969/

    www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/procuradordepersonasconimpedimentosdenunciadiscrimen-2004201/

    New Resource in New Jersey! Getting the Community Life You Want: A Guide to Home and Community Based Services Advocacy

    The Home and Community Based Settings (HCBS) Final Rule, a federal policy change announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), provides new opportunities for people with disabilities to have the kinds of community services they want. The Rule requires that the places where people receive HCBS waiver services offer full access to the benefits of community life. New Jersey will be submitting a transition plan describing how they will make sure that Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and the places where they are provided promote integration and access to the community, choice, individual rights, and independence. This guide, available for download on The Boggs Center website, provides information about the HCBS Final Settings Rule and resources to help you give input to Home and Community Based Services and New Jersey's transition plan. Read more at: http://rwjms.rutgers.edu/boggscenter/news/Announcements.html

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Tax Filing Resources for Persons with Disabilities

    With the widespread reception of W2 forms and similar tax documents, the IRS has issued a resource, "Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities", that you can access here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p907.pdf.  Additionally, if you have yet to file your taxes and earned $60,000 or less in 2014, you can use www.myfreetaxes.com  to electronically file your state and federal tax returns for free.

    Providing Meaningful Access to U.S. Currency

    In January 2015, the Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) launched its U.S. Currency Reader Program nationwide. The program provides a free currency reader device to all U.S. citizens or legal residents who are blind or visually impaired. The currency reader is a small, compact, hand-held device - about the size of a credit card and about one-half inch thick. It runs on one AAA battery, which is included. To use the currency reader, you simply insert a U.S. bill into the reader and presses a button. The device quickly identifies the note's denomination in one of three ways: a clear natural voice, a pattern of tones or a pattern of vibrations for privacy. The vibration mode assists people who are deaf and blind. The currency reader identifies all U.S. currency in circulation, including $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.  To access the Currency Reader Application form, please visit: http://www.bep.gov/uscurrencyreaderform.html. You can also read more about the program at:

    https://usodep.blogs.govdelivery.com/2015/02/09/providing-meaningful-access-to-u-s-currency/.

    Federal Government Weighs In on Case of Infant Placed in Foster Care because of Mother's Disability

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly came out and rebuked the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF), accusing them of violating the rights of a parent with a mild intellectual disability. This action is expected to have far-reaching effects for the estimated 4.1 million parents in the United States who have disabilities. The case centers around a mother, Sara Gordon (pseudonym used in court papers), with a mild intellectual disability, whose baby was removed from her care by DCF at two days old. In November 2012, Gordon, then 19 years old, gave birth to her daughter, Dana. Sara lives with her parents, Kim and Sam Gordon and had the full time support of her mother, Kim to raise her child. Despite this, Sara, however, was referred to DCF while still in the hospital because of her "mental retardation." Ultimately DCF removed the baby and placed her in foster care, after the agency observed that Sara missed a feeding for the baby because she had trouble reading an analog clock, and that she failed to burp her child properly. What is historic about this recent letter from DOJ and HHS is that the federal government is, for the first time, interpreting the 25-year-old ADA to apply to parenting. Read more at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/10/baby-taken-away-because-mom-s-disabled.html

    Justice Department Requires Law School Admission Council to Revamp Accommodation Request Procedures

    On February 4th, The Justice Department (DOJ) posted a best practices report from an expert panel convened pursuant to the Consent Decree in Dept. of Fair Employment & Housing (DEFH) v. Law School Admission Council, Inc. (LSAC).  According to the panel's Best Practices Report, the LSAC's testing accommodation practices are in need of widespread changes in all ten areas that underwent examination. Examples of the areas determined to be in need of alterations include: the processes of sufficient documentation of accommodation requests, proper review of accommodation requests and the appeals process for candidates whose accommodation requests are denied. For more information, you can read the Executive Summary of the Final Report of the "Best Practices" Panel at:   http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/sites/colker2/files/2015/02/Executive-Summary-of-the-Report.pdf

    Department Of Justice Reaches Agreement in Tulsa Hotel ADA Violation Case

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached an agreement, re: a Days Inn in Tulsa that denied lodging to a veteran and his family due to the veteran's use of a service dog. As a result of the Agreement, the owner will be required to pay $5,000 to the family, train the Inn's employees on the ADA and its protections for guests with service animals and post signs and other forms of announcements at the hotel stating the company's willingness to provide rooms for individuals with service animals. For more information about the case and the requirements for places of public lodging under the ADA please visit: www.ada.gov  or call the DOJ toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514--0383 (TDD).

    New Federal Resource for Employers Interested in Hiring Individuals with Disabilities

    Recently the White House announced at a Summit on Disability Employment that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) has developed a new resource guide to help employers better facilitate the employment of individuals with disabilities. The guide, titled "Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining, and Promoting People with Disabilities" is designed in a question and answer format to provide both the best technical assistance for employers as well as the most specific answers to common questions. In addition to providing information surrounding the hiring and retention of individuals with disabilities and answering frequently asked questions, the EEOC's new guide also provides an extensive list of federal resources to aid in the recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion process for employees with disabilities. For more information on the EEOC's guide, please visit: http://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/news/20693-eeoc-creates-resource-guide-on-disabled-individuals-for-employers.html

    Opportunities for You!

    National ADA Symposium, 5-10-15 - 5-13-15, Atlanta, Georgia

    The National ADA Symposium is a four day comprehensive conference on the ADA. The 19th annual ADA Symposium will offer an opening reception, pre-conference, keynote, 72 break-out sessions, advanced discussion groups, exhibits, and hands-on learning activities. The registration fee is $650.00 prior to March 20, 2015 and $800.00 after that date. To learn more, please visit: http://adasymposium.org/

    Special Spotlight:  In Memoriam: David Gray, Ph.D., Disability and Rehabilitation Research Pioneer

    The field of Independent Living lost a leader on Feb. 12, 2015 when David Gray, Ph.D., died at his home in St. Louis. The following tribute was written by Research and Training Center on Independent Living (RTC/IL) Director Glen White, Ph.D.

    Dr. Gray was a pioneer in the field of Disability and Rehabilitation research and a tireless advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.  He was an insightful teacher and wonderful mentor to the students who were fortunate enough to be able to work with him. Dr. Gray blazed the trail of disability research in many ways and was the first person with a disability to head the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (called National Institute of Handicapped Research back then, before he helped change the name).  He went on to the National Institute for Health (NIH) where he helped to establish the National Center for Medical and Rehabilitation Research.  He was always the consummate researcher who used science to identify solutions to socially relevant problems, and applied the results to improve the lives of people with disabilities. His untimely departure from this life will leave a vacuum that will not be easily filled, if at all. Read more at: http://www.rtcil.org/news/DavidGray.shtml

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Announcing a FREE Training Event in the U.S. Virgin Islands!

    ADA New Regulations & Emerging Issues 

    St. Thomas 3-16 & 3-17 and St. Croix 3-19 & 3-20

    The Northeast ADA Center is pleased to invite our US Virgin Islands residents to either St. Thomas or St. Croix for a two-day training event where you will learn about important ADA legislative and policy updates and recent issues that have been emerging in the disability field!  Topic areas include employment, physical accessibility and disability issues and trends. To learn more and to register for either the St. Thomas training or the St. Croix training, please visit: http://northeastada.org/register/ADA_New_Regs_2015.cfm

    Free Webinar! Regional Issues in Transportation

    2-25-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    This webinar will highlight recent case law and advancements in accessibility surrounding transportation (i.e. the New York City Accessible Taxi Settlement) and review regional transportation issues impacting people with disabilities in the Northeast ADA Center's region. To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5055

    Free Webinar! The Rights of People with Disabilities as Community Members

    3-11-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    The ADA and other disability laws exist to promote the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of community life. This session will feature guest speakers who will discuss how the ADA and the Olmstead Decision have impacted the lives of persons with disabilities as community members. To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5056

    What's New in Our Region:

    The Northeast ADA Center Welcomes New USVI ADA Coordinator Jamila Russell

    Amelia Headley-Lamont, Director of the Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands (DRCVI), the Northeast ADA Center's USVI affiliate, recently interviewed new territorial ADA Coordinator, Jamila Russell. Ms. Russell has been a lifelong advocate for persons with disabilities having grown up with an uncle with Cerebral Palsy, as well as being a parent of one child with a developmental disability and another child who recently acquired a physical disability. With a background in Human Resources, Ms. Russell plans to utilize her skills to communicate with employers about the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities and help decrease the stigma that perpetuates a 'we can't' attitude concerning disability employment issues, in order to increase the employment rates of people with disabilities. Additionally she hopes to improve accessibility, education rights, and the community inclusion of persons with disabilities in the US Virgin Islands. Ms. Russell can be reached at (340) 772-1000 or via email at jamila.russell@go.vi.gov.

    Natural Reserve with Accessible Trail System in Puerto Rico

    The Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA by its Spanish initials) of PR and a local community organization, The Committee for the Development of Maunabo, opened the first trail system in a natural reserve in Puerto Rico adapted to better serve people with disabilities. This was achieved through DRNA's Program for Coastal Zone Management in Puerto Rico and a grant with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For more information, visit (in Spanish): www.80grados.net/drna-inaugura-veredas-para-ciegos-sordos-y-personas-con-impedimento-de-movimiento/

     DOJ Reaches Settlement Agreement with the Erie County Jail

    The Justice Department announced in late December that it reached a settlement agreement with the County of Erie, New York, to ensure equal access to the facilities and services of the Erie County Jail. The Justice Department initiated a compliance review of the Erie County Jail under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 after receiving complaints alleging that, because the Erie County Jail did not have a sufficient number of accessible cells and shower facilities, the jail housed inmates with mobility disabilities in its medical unit even though they did not require medical treatment. The settlement agreement requires a number of modifications, including providing a percentage of accessible cells within four years, revising accessible policies and procedures and instituting a grievance procedure. Read more at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-reaches-settlement-county-erie-new-york-prevent-disability-discrimination

    NJ Holds Symposium to Address Employment of People with Disabilities

    On January 15th, New Jersey's (NJ) Lt. Governor Guadago partnered with Department of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) Commissioner Harold J. Wirths to deliver a Symposium on Hiring People with Disabilities. In 2014 the DVRS's Vocational Rehabilitation Services program achieved a new record for the state by placing 4,439 people with disabilities in some form of both integrated and competitive employment. In attendance were 75 NJ employers and managers from both state agencies and training vendors, all with the goal of providing information on how to best assist employers with training and providing reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. The Symposium also provided an expert panel to discuss state agency and training provider cooperation. Read more at: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/lwdhome/press/2015/20150115_njSymposium.html

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Bank of America Resolves EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

    After one day on the job, Bank of America terminated a data entry worker's employment at one of the bank's branches in downtown Chicago. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges that Bank of America failed to accommodate the worker who has a visual impairment. Bank of America will pay $110,000 to the date entry worker and provide other equitable relief under a consent decree resolving the disability discrimination case brought by the EEOC. Read more at: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-19-14.cfm

    ABLE Account Planning: Six Next Steps for 2015

    The National Disability Institute has developed a brief informative video that will help individuals begin the planning process in order to be prepared when Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts become available later in 2015. To learn more, and to also view the "10 Things You Must Know about ABLE Accounts" video, please visit: http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/Public-Policy/ABLE-Act.aspx

    Settlement Reached over Museum's Violations of Title III of the ADA

    On January 13th the Department of Justice announced that a settlement had been reached with the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington, D.C. over allegations of violating the ADA by not having certain areas of the facility accessible for all visitors. The settlement agreement requires the Crime Museum to ensure that all of their exhibits, facilities and programs are accessible to people with disabilities. For more information on the case and settlement please visit: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-reaches-settlement-national-museum-crime-and-punishment-improve-access

    Federal Judge Strikes Down Minimum Wage for Caregivers - Obama Administration Files a Notice of Appeal

    Recently under the request of the Obama Administration, the US Department of Labor attempted to push forth a rule that would require at-home caregivers for individuals with disabilities, the elderly and those in need of extra assistance to receive minimum wage and overtime pay as well as qualify for time-and-a-half pay if, as many caregivers do, they work more than forty hours a week. However, the Department of Labor's law was struck down by District Judge Richard Leon. Leon explained that his decision was primarily due to his firm belief that the law involved a complex issue that was better suited to be hashed out on the floor of Congress. The U.S. Department of Labor responded by filing a notice of appeal with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in late January, indicating that it will contest the federal court ruling that put a stop to the changes. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2015/01/26/feds-appeal-ruling-caregiver/19993/

    JAN Quarterly E-News Now Available!

    The latest Job Accommodation Network (JAN) E-News is now available at: http://askjan.org/enews/2015/Enews-V13-I1.htm. Topics in this month's newsletter include: Best Practices in Establishing a Centralized Accommodation Fund; The Significance of Dress Codes under the ADA; Leave and the ADA and Current Trends in the Workplace: Considering the ADA and Accommodations for Employees, as well as a number of other topics.

    Recent Barriers and Successes for Disability Employment

    Years after the landmark passage of the ADA, there still remains an uphill battle in the area of employment for many people with disabilities. In the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent report, it was found that 34.6 percent of males with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 64 that were both capable and desiring of work were unemployed. For women with disabilities that statistic was even lower with only 28.8 percent being employed. However, despite these less than favorable statistics, there has been considerable promise of remedying these numbers. This year a wide array of organizations have pledged new or continuing devotion to increasing the number of employed individuals with disabilities, including: the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation., the Coca-Cola Foundation, the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, the Wal-Mart Foundation and the Kessler Foundation. Also very promising is the steady rise in the number of individuals with disabilities entering employment. December of 2014 marked the third consecutive month in which more Americans with disabilities were earning a paycheck. For more information please visit: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/policysocial-context/25429-progress-and-challenges-in-employment-for-persons-with-disabilities.html

    DOJ Reaches Settlement for Discrimination Against Woman with HIV

    On January 15th DOJ reached a settlement agreement with Genesis Healthcare System in Ohio. Following an investigation, DOJ found that Genesis discriminated against a woman with HIV when one of its primary care physicians refused to accept her as a new patient because of her HIV. Under the settlement, Genesis must pay $25,000 to the victim of discrimination and $9,000 as a civil penalty. In addition, it must train staff on the ADA, develop and implement a non-discrimination policy, and report to DOJ every time a person with HIV is denied or discharged as a patient, with a written justification for the decision. Read more at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-ohio-healthcare-system-over-hiv-discrimination

    Opportunities for You!

    National ADA Symposium, 5-10-15 - 5-13-15, Atlanta, Georgia

    The National ADA Symposium is a four day comprehensive conference on the ADA. The 19th annual ADA Symposium will offer an opening reception, pre-conference, keynote, 72 break-out sessions, advanced discussion groups, exhibits, and hands-on learning activities. The registration fee is $650.00 prior to March 20, 2015 and $800.00 after that date. To learn more, please visit: http://adasymposium.org/

    Free Webinar! Open Q & A with the U.S. Access Board

    3-5-15 - 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM EST

    This is a regular session in the Accessibility Online webinar series that provides an opportunity to ask questions on any topic related to the U.S. Access Board's activities. Accessibility specialists will answer questions submitted in advance during the first half of the session, leaving time in the second half to answer questions in the live session. To register, please visit: http://www.accessibilityonline.org/Schedule/

    Special Spotlight: The Importance of Being Prepared for Emergencies

    As many of you in the New York and New Jersey region know from the recent snow events we have experienced, Mother Nature can sometimes wreak havoc on your well-being. For those of you in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, you as well are likely all too familiar with the havoc that Mother Nature can bring in the form of hurricanes, tropical storms and other unforeseen weather events. No matter where you live, there are also other emergency situations that arise that require preparation for your safety. For people with disabilities, your ability to recover from an emergency tomorrow may depend on the planning and preparation you do today, so we wanted to share some resources to assist you with developing your own personal emergency plan. Please take a moment to review these resources and think about your personal emergency plans.

    FEMA Guide: Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information for People with Disabilities - http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1390849866881-33d608585d1e0e55ff6fbbb1ad6f4765/ready_Disabilities_R-6_2014.pdf

    Tips on Power Loss for People with Disabilities from Ready.gov - http://www.ready.gov/blackouts

    National Organization on Disability - Emergency Preparedness Resources - http://nod.org/disability_resources/emergency_preparedness_for_persons_with_disabilities

    American Red Cross - Guide to Emergency Planning - http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/disabilities

    From FEMA -Emergency Procedures for Employees with Disabilities in Office Occupancies - http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa-154.pdf

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Save the Dates! The Northeast ADA Center will be providing training in St. Thomas on March 16 & 17 and St. Croix on March 19 & 20, 2015! Additional details will be sent to stakeholders soon and posted on our website at www.northeastada.org.

    Free Webinar! The ADA and Accessible Transportation (Title II and Title III)

    2-11-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    This webinar will provide an overview of how the ADA applies to transportation for both Title II and Title III entities. We will review the ADA Standards issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that apply to facilities used by state and local governments to provide designated public transportation services. We will also review the Title III regulations that impact private transportation, and discuss who is covered under these regulations. To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5054

    Free Webinar! Regional Issues in Transportation: Panel Discussion

    2-25-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

    This webinar will highlight recent case law and advancements in accessibility surrounding transportation (i.e. the New York City Accessible Taxi Settlement) and review regional transportation issues impacting people with disabilities in the Northeast ADA Center's region. To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5055

    NEADA Center Seeks New Technical Assistance and Outreach Specialist

    The Northeast ADA Center, housed within the Employment & Disability Institute at Cornell University, is seeking candidates for the position of Technical Assistance and Outreach Specialist. This position will primarily provide phone and email based ADA related technical assistance throughout our region, and also assist the NEADA Center with marketing and outreach services, particularly social media efforts. To learn more about all the job duties, qualifications, and application process, visit the Cornell University job site at: https://cornellu.taleo.net/careersection/10164/jobdetail.ftl?job=26162

    What's New in Our Region:

    Documents on the PR Department of Education's Website Should Be Accessible by July 2015

    The National Federation of the Blind, Puerto Rico Chapter, filed a complaint with the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights for accessibility of public documents on the PR Department of Education's website.  As a result of this complaint, the PR Department of Education agreed to complete the process of converting all their documents to accessible formats compatible with screen readers by June 30th, 2015.  For further information contact Mr. Alpidio Rolon, President of the NFB in PR at (787) 781-9071 or arguza@attglobal.net, or the US Department of Education's OCR at 646-428-3900 or OCR.NewYork@ed.gov.

    New York State Justice Center Issues E-News for January, 2015

    This update from the Justice Center includes several informative resources, including a new publication that provides information for staff members and volunteers who become the subject of a Justice Center investigation, titled "What to Expect if You Are Involved in a Justice Center Investigation". Read more at: http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=930f191415e3092b75697f45d&id=ee5c47f3de&e=a6c19f5873

    "Access for All" Advisory Groups Growing in Northern New Jersey

    Just before the holiday break, The Board of Commissioners in Lyndhurst, NJ resolved to create an "Access for All" advisory committee comprised of residents with disabilities and key local government staff that will examine the barriers in the community faced by people with disabilities. To date, there are approximately sixteen municipalities in Bergen County that have formed "Access for All" committees. Read more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/lyndhurst-on-board-to-study-community-barriers-affecting-the-disabled-1.1172863

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Senator Tom Harkin, Leading Disability Advocate, Retires

    After serving for forty years on Capitol Hill, Senator Harkin, D- Iowa, has decided not to seek re-election. Often inspired by the experiences of his late brother Frank, who was deaf, Harkin has long championed the rights of people with disabilities. He did so by authoring the landmark ADA and pushing for legislation that expanded opportunities for people with disabilities in education, independent living, employment and physical accessibility. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who worked side-by-side with Harkin on the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, stated "Sen. Harkin's legacy is secure. He is the Senate's champion of Americans with disabilities. It'll be a long time before there's a greater champion of Americans with disabilities in this body and I salute him for that." Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/12/16/disability-champion-leaving/19924/

    U.S. Access Board Sponsored Study Examines Impacts of Rough Surfaces on Wheelchair Traffic

    A study funded by the U.S. Access Board was recently completed on how the roughness of pathway surfaces impacts wheelchair travel. This research, which was conducted by the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh, assessed the impacts of bumpy and uneven surfaces on people who use wheelchairs, including power chairs, by measuring the resulting body vibrations. Based on the test results, researchers recommend sidewalk roughness index thresholds for short and long distances (1.20 inch per foot for distances up to 10 feet and 0.60 inch per foot for distances above 100 feet). They also offer recommendations for a method and protocol to measure surface roughness, including the design of a measurement device. These and other recommendations are contained in a report from the study, Development of Surface Roughness Standards for Pathways Used by Wheelchair Users: Final Report

    CDC Predicts Potentially Severe Flu Season

    Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) suggests that the 2014-15 flu season could be unusually severe and widespread. The CDC urges everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and recommends prompt treatment with antiviral drugs for people at high risk of complications who get the flu. Those at high risk, including older adults and people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, should check with their doctor immediately if they have flu symptoms. Check out Disability.gov's "Guide to Health Information & Resources" for information about finding health care, staying healthy, health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and many other health-related topics at: www.disability.gov/resource/disability-govs-guide-health-information-resources/

    U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Reaches Website Accessibility Settlement with the University of Cincinnati

    The agreement, reached just prior to the holidays, requires that the school write and publish a notice of nondiscrimination, provide training to staff who work on websites and report back on its progress to the DOE. The DOE found that the University's websites violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the ADA because they weren't fully accessible to people with disabilities. In early December, Youngstown State University reached a similar agreement with the DOE to settle a complaint over disability access. Read more at: https://www.disability.gov/education-department-settles-university-cincinnati-website-accessibility/

    Peapod, LLC to Improve Access for People with Disabilities

    Just prior to the holiday season, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a far reaching settlement agreement with Peapod, LLC. Peapod is America's leading Internet grocer, delivering more than 23 million orders in 12 Midwest and East Coast states and the District of Columbia.  The agreement resolves allegations that www.peapod.com is not accessible to some individuals who are blind or have low vision, are deaf or hard of hearing, and/or who have physical disabilities affecting manual dexterity. DOJ noted that Title III of the ADA requires public accommodations to take necessary steps to ensure individuals with disabilities are not excluded, denied services, segregated, or otherwise treated differently because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, such as accessible electronic information, and further stated that the DOJ has long considered Title III and its implementing regulation to apply to the online services and communications of public accommodations. Read more at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-enters-settlement-agreement-peapod-ensure-peapod-grocery-delivery-website

    U.S. DOJ and HHS Offices Remind States of Obligations under the ADA in Light of New Caregiver Pay Hike

    Starting in 2015, most in-home care workers will qualify for the first time for federal minimum wage and overtime protections. In light of this, in a "Dear Colleague" Letter issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the office of Health and Human Services (HHS), these federal agencies are reminding states not to place caps on the number of hours that caregivers may work, as this policy could be very problematic for people with disabilities. In 2015, most home care workers must be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and qualify for time-and-a-half for working over 40 hours per week under a new Labor Department rule. The wage increase has led to concerns from states, industry groups and some disability advocates about added costs and unintended consequences for people with disabilities. The Department of Labor announced that in light of the concerns raised by disability advocates and states with the implementation of the new rule, it will delay enforcement through June 2015. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/12/19/with-caregiver-pay-ada/19932/

    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar! 2-5-15 - Accessible Play Areas - "Advanced Session" 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM EST

    It's been over 2 years since the new accessibility standards have been required for all newly constructed and altered play areas. This session will focus on a more "advanced" level discussion regarding issues such as the selection of suitable playground surfaces, applying the scoping and technical provisions to altered sites, and other more frequently asked questions. Attendees are encouraged to review the previous session on this topic and submit questions in advance for this discussion. To learn more and register, visit http://www.accessibilityonline.org/Schedule/

    New Barrier Free Employment Poster Available

    A new poster developed by Meeting the Challenge, Inc. provides practical ideas to promote accessible work environments. The poster is high quality in full color and 18" H x 24". To order copies and learn more, please visit:

    http://www.shop.adainformation.org/Barrier-Free-Employment-Poster-DOC06.htm

    Special Spotlight: ABLE Act Becomes Law!

    After eight years of work, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act) was signed into law on 12-19-14 by President Obama. The goal of the ABLE Act is for people with disabilities and their families to be able to set up tax-free savings accounts to assist with financing their long term disability needs. ABLE amends the federal tax code to allow tax-free savings accounts to help finance disability-related needs. They are similar to Section 529 college savings accounts and eliminate, for ABLE accounts, the former $2,000 cap on savings for individuals with disabilities. According to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, eligible expenses could include: education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology and personal support services, health, financial management and administrative services, legal fees and other expenses to be determined by the IRS. The new law will allow people with disabilities to save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for Social Security and other government programs. Perhaps most importantly, individuals can keep their Medicaid coverage no matter how much money is accrued in an ABLE account.

    As for the timing of opening ABLE accounts, people with disabilities may be able to start opening accounts as soon as 2015. However, while the new law amends federal rules to allow for ABLE accounts, each state must now put regulations in place, similar to 529 plans, so that financial institutions can make the new offering available. Members of Congress have expressed that given the broad support of the ABLE Act and 529 plans, states will likely move quickly to bring ABLE Acts to reality. To learn more, please read below.

    From Autism Speaks - "What You Need to Know About the ABLE Act in 2015":

    http://www.autismspeaks.org/advocacy/advocacy-news/able-act-law-2015-what-you-need-know

    From Disability Scoop: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/12/22/obama-signs-able-act/19935/

    From The Arc: http://insider.thearc.org/tag/achieving-a-better-life-experience-able-act/

    From USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/11/26/congress-able-act-passage/70099696/

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Northeast ADA Center Holiday Closing:

    Season's Greetings from the Northeast ADA Center!  Please note that our Cornell offices will be closed from 5:00pm ET Tuesday, December 23, 2014 until 8:30am ET Monday, January 5, 2015.  The Cornell based Northeast ADA Center staff will be unavailable; however, our Technical Assistance Call Center (1.800.949.4232 for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) and our Technical Assistance email (northeastada@cornell.edu) will operate and be staffed on a limited basis during this time. When we are open, we will be happy to return any phone messages or emails/online TA requests you may have submitted to us during our closing.  The Northeast ADA Center Cornell based staff will be available again beginning Monday, January 5, 2015, and normal ADA Center business hours and operations will resume at that time. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience regarding any potential delays in our response time to technical assistance, training, or materials requests.  The Northeast ADA Center wishes all of you a most enjoyable holiday season, and a very happy and healthy New Year!

    Free Webinar! Web Accessibility Regulations - Title II

    1-14-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST. State and local governments have long had a requirement to ensure effective communication. People are familiar with providing sign language interpreters or alternate materials, but often don't realize that this requirement extends to information accessed through the web. We will discuss the need of local government and other Title II entities to create accessible websites and media. We will also cover developments in the Title II ADA regulations.

    Register online at: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5052

    What's New in Our Region:

    Carlos Albizu University Publishes a Report on Mental Health in Puerto Rico

    A group of professors from Carlos Albizu University recently published a report on the current status of mental health in Puerto Rico.  The report indicates that violence, problematic substance use and school dropout are intrinsically related to mental health disorders. This group of professionals emphasized that the Government of Puerto Rico needs to direct efforts to preventive programs and projects instead of remediation services.  To read the report you can contact Carlos Albizu University at: www.albizu.edu

    Department of Justice Identifies Barriers to Accessibility in Public Transportation and Polling Place Access in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI)

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) stated that the USVI's are in violation of Title II by denying voters with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in the USVI voting programs, services, and activities, by failing to select facilities to be used as polling places that are accessible to persons with disabilities on Election Day. The Letter of Findings outlines the minimum steps that must be taken to improve access on Election Day. The DOJ also issued a Letter of Findings specific to the USVI Department of Public Works' public transportation system (VITRAN). The findings indicate that that VITRAN's fixed-route bus system is not readily accessible to people with disabilities, with deficiencies that include: not providing operable wheelchair lifts, stop announcements, or sufficient wheelchair securement devices, and not allowing passengers using the lift to board and disembark at designated stops. The DOJ also noted that the VITRAN's Paratransit system fails to provide service that is "comparable to the level of designated public transportation services provided to individuals without disabilities", noting issues such as a lack of sufficient vehicles to meet the demand for service and not meeting certain service criteria requirements that significantly limit the availability of service to ADA paratransit eligible persons. Both Letters are available on the U.S. DOJ's home page, www.ada.gov under the "New on ADA.gov" Section.

    Settlement agreement reached with Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey

    The settlement agreement is a result of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey compliance review of certain casino/hotels in Atlantic City to determine whether these casino/hotels are operating in compliance with Title III of the ADA. The Department reviewed information provided by Resorts Casino Hotel and conducted a four-day site visit of the property in 2012. The settlement agreement outlines several areas for accessibility improvements, including visitor and employee parking areas, public toilet rooms, restaurant seating areas and guest rooms and suites. To view the settlement agreement, please visit: http://www.ada.gov/resorts_casino_sa.htm

    Voluntary Compliance Agreement Reached between The United States and The Lehman College Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., Bronx, New York

    The voluntary compliance agreement outlines accessibility improvements to the Lehman Center Concert Hall including providing an accessible route to entrances, improving the accessible entrances, and ensuring access to and within concessions, public toilet rooms and assembly seating. The Lehman Center will also purchase and maintain an assistive listening system for patron use. Read more at: http://www.ada.gov/lehman_college_vca.htm

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    ABLE Act Approved the U.S. House of Representatives

    Since 2006, a bill known as the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act has been set before congress and has now been approved by the House. The ABLE Act is a proposed piece of legislation that, if passed, will allow people with disabilities and their families to save money in tax exempt accounts without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits and aid programs such as Social Security. Under the ABLE Act, people with disabilities could save up to $14,000 in any accredited financial institution annually with the money remaining tax exempt or up to $100,000 with continued coverage from Social Security. And, regardless of how much money is accrued, the act guarantees that Medicaid coverage would be retained. The bill is considered to be one of the most bipartisan pieces of legislation up for Congress to consider with 85 percent of members in the House and Senate collectively co-sponsoring it. However, since a new Congress will convene in 2015, it is crucial that a decision is made this year. The legislation now moves to the Senate. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/12/04/house-approves-accounts/19891/

    Hasbro Commits to Making Their Toys More Inclusive for All Children

    Hasbro Inc., Toy Company has recently announced its intention to ensure that their toys are also accessible and fun for children with developmental disabilities to learn and play with. To begin this new endeavor, Hasbro has launched a series of free, online videos known as 'ToyBox Tools' aimed at teaching children with disabilities how to engage with one of the lines of their toys as well as offer alternative ways to engage with the toys on their own or with their peers. ToyBox Tools is in its pilot stage now, but Hasbro has stated their intention to constantly update and adapt the videos, as well as develop similar videos for more lines of their toys in the future. For more information on Hasbro's ToyBox Tools visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/11/19/toymaker-playtime-inclusive/19860/

    States Grappling with Rise in Accessible Parking Permit Fraud

    A number of cities across the country are facing the issue of able-bodied individuals forging or illegally purchasing accessible parking permits to claim closer, and in some states, free, parking. This growing problem is typically apparent in larger cities where parking is more expensive and less available. States have had mixed responses when dealing with this issue ranging from charging anywhere between  $500 to $10,000 in fines or issuing up to 18 months in prison. Some states have begun requiring that accessible permits display a photo of a person they are issued to. However, the effectiveness of these methods is somewhat hard to determine. While the current rise of this type of fraud is believed to be clearly linked to the desirability of free parking, a thriving black market and ease of access, it is conversely unclear what the best solution to combatting it would be. For more information on the rise of accessible parking fraud and government responses to it, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/11/17/states-parking-abuse/19851/

    UN Disability Treaty Not Likely to be Reconsidered by the Senate

    Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa had hoped to win over another six Republicans to reach the 67 votes necessary to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It now appears unlikely to gain the Republican support it needs to be ratified by the Senate. "I'm telling you, I'm really dismayed," Harkin said late last week. "I think it is just unforgivable that we don't join the rest of the world when we are the leader, when the convention itself was based on the ADA, that we don't join with the rest of the world in helping other countries change their polices, their programs and their structures to be more inclusive of people with disabilities." A committee of representatives from the 140-plus nations that have ratified the CRPD will oversee implementation of the treaty, but as Harkin said, "Our voices will not be a part of it." If the U.S. had ratified the CRPD, the international committee would not have enforcement authority in the U.S. and interpretation of the treaty would be left to the Supreme Court. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/11/24/senate-unlikely-treaty/19868/

    Opportunities for You!

    New Online Course: Employing People with Disabilities: A Business Perspective

    This online course is designed for employers who want solutions to increasing disability workplace diversity. The aim is to help participants be better able to build a more diverse and inclusive culture by implementing a number of practical and forward-thinking strategies. The course runs from January 12 - February 6, 2015 and is presented by The Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, in collaboration with C5 Consulting, LLC and the National Organization on Disability (NOD). To learn more and to register, please visit http://www.worksupport.com/training/webcourses/business.cfm

    Free Webinar! 1-8-15 - Accessible Hospitals and Medical Care Facilities - "Advanced Session" - Sponsored by Accessibility OnLine

    Presenters will engage in a more "advanced" level discussion on patient room scoping for both medical and long term care facilities, special technical provisions for parking at specialized facilities, alarm systems and toilet rooms in intensive care units, etc. Presenters will also provide an update on the Board's rulemaking on Medical Diagnostic Equipment. Attendees are encouraged to review the previous session on this topic and submit questions in advance for this discussion. To learn more and to register, please visit: http://www.accessibilityonline.org/RegistrationInformation/

    Free Webinar! 1-13-15 - Inclusive Workplaces/Disclosure

    Sponsored by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). To learn more and to register, please visit: http://askjan.org/webcast/index.htm#Jan15

    Special Spotlight: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

    December 3, 2014 was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). Since 1992, the annual observance of IDPD aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. The 2014 commemoration of IDPD focuses on harnessing the power of technology to promote inclusion and accessibility to help realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of sustainable development for all.

    Additionally, IDPD recognizes that there are over 1 billion people worldwide with some form of disability. Globally, persons with disabilities not only face physical barriers, but also social, economic and attitudinal barriers. In spite of being the world's largest minority group, persons with disabilities and their needs are typically not adequately addressed.

    Three sub-themes chosen for 2014 focus on the promise of technology in: Disability-Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals; Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Responses and Creating Enabling Work Environments. While events were held globally to mark IDPD, in the U.S. several programs took place at the United Nations Headquarters. To learn more about the programs that were held to highlight this year's theme, including the resources for technology promoting disability inclusion, please visit the United Nations Enable website at: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1620

    Additional Resources:

    National Council on Disability Statement on IDPD: http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/12032014

    United Nations WebTV - Via this link you can view sessions held at the UN Headquarters to  Commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities http://webtv.un.org/www.unwomen.org/en/executive-board/watch/part-1-opening-of-idpd-2014-%E2%80%9Cdisability-inclusive-sustainable-development-the-promise-of-technology%E2%80%9D/3922158858001


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center

    Northeast ADA Center Closed November 27th and 28th

    The NEADA Center and technical assistance services will be closed between 5:00 PM on Wednesday, November 26th and 8:30 AM on Monday, December 1st for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will reopen at 8:30am ET on Monday, December 1st.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and we hope you have a good holiday!

    12-10-14 Free Webinar! The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Back to Basics from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST.

    Even though it's been nearly 25 years since the passing of the ADA, many of us are still often unsure or unclear about what the ADA covers, and who and what it applies to.  This webinar will feature the Northeast ADA Center Technical Assistance Team sharing, and answering, some of the ADA related questions that are still most often asked by our constituents in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, New York and New Jersey.  We will primarily focus on the ADA's definition of disability, the basic requirements related to accessibility and accommodations within employment, public, and private business settings, and how you can file a disability discrimination or ADA violation complaint.  This webinar would likely be of interest to anyone looking to learn and understand more about the basic components of the ADA! To register, visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5051

    What's New in Our Region

    Upcoming Events in Puerto Rico:

    • 12-3-14 - 8 AM - 12 PM, The Humacao City's International Day of Persons with Disabilities Celebration, Theatre of the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao Campus. This year theme is "There's No Barriers to Humor, Laughs Unlimited". For more information, contact the City at: 787-852-9914 or oapi@humacao.gov.pr
    • 12-11-14 - 8 AM - 3 PM, Puerto Rico Senate to Host a Forum for People with Disabilities in West Region, Convention Center at Hormigueros, PR The Forum will be a dialogue in which people with disabilities, their families, friends and service providers, will discuss the difficulties they face and offer possible solutions. Participants will discuss the following topics: education, employment, housing, transportation, health, assistive technology, physical accessibility, communication for people who are deaf, recreation, and emergency management. For more information, contact the Senate of PR administrative office at: gesterrich@senado.pr.gov or (787) 724-2030 Ext. 2093/2094.
    • 12-12-14 - 8 AM - 1 PM, Event of Blind People Association of Isabela, PR, University of Turabo, Isabela Campus: In commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, this event will include two motivational speeches for people with disabilities, breakfast and lunch. For more information you may contact: (787) 830-7086 or centrodeciegos@yahoo.com

    NYC Plans to Revamp Disaster and Crises Accommodations for People with Disabilities

    New York City recently announced their plans to improve procedures that help shelter, evacuate and transport residents with disabilities during times of disaster and crises as a way of resolving a 2011 lawsuit filed after Tropical Storm Irene, which accused the city of failing to provide adequate relief services for persons with disabilities. The need for such measures was further highlighted during the devastation of Hurricane Sandy that left many residents trapped in high-rise buildings with no means of exit. The presiding judge of the lawsuit found the city to be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), leading NYC to make sweeping changes to their emergency plans. As a result of the suit, the city has agreed to establish a task force to address high-rise evacuations as well as create a minimum of 60 shelters across the boroughs deemed capable and accessible of sheltering approximately 120,000 persons with disabilities. In the short-term, the city has stated its intention to have somewhere between 8 and 14 of the shelters up and running by mid-October which will be able to hold 10,000-17,000 individuals. For more information on the coming changes, please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/nyregion/city-to-alter-preparations-for-disabled-in-disasters-.html?_r=1

    Sheraton Atlantic City New Jersey Convention Center Hotel Reaches Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Justice Department under Title III of the ADA

    The Justice Department announced on October 31st that it has reached a settlement agreement under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Under the settlement, the hotel agreed to take steps to come into compliance with title III of the ADA, including improving accessibility related to parking areas, bars and dining areas, toilet rooms, designated accessible guest rooms, and the spa at the hotel. You can read the settlement agreement here: http://www.ada.gov/sheraton_ac_sa.htm

    What's New in the Rest of the Country

    US Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy Announces the Launch of a Web Portal Focusing on Accessible Workplace Technology

    During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy announced its collaboration with ODEP's Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) to launch a comprehensive web portal to aid in the adoption of accessible technology by employers and the technology industry. PEAT will be funded by the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America and will provide action guides for employers as well as a plethora of informational articles and interactive tools in order to build a foundation for policy development and innovations in the field of accessible technology. Read more at: http://www.PEATworks.org

    U.S. Labor Department Announces Delay in Enforcement of New Home Care Workers Minimum Wage and Overtime Rules

    The U.S. Labor Department announced in October that they will delay their enforcement of the new minimum wage and overtime protections for home care workers, though the protections will go into effect as planned on January 1, 2015. The new rule requires that most home care workers be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and qualify for time-and-a-half for working more than 40 hours per week. The Department of Labor, however, will not enforce these new rules for the first 6 months after the January 1 effective date. In the past, these caregivers were classified as "companions" in federal regulations and were not granted the same rights as other types of employees. Some disability rights groups have raised concerns that the reforms raise the cost of home care without increasing funding for it. Fifteen states already grant minimum wage and overtime protections to direct care workers and an additional six states and the District of Columbia require such workers to be paid the state minimum, according to the Labor Department. The new rule will extend such protections to in-home care workers nationwide. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/10/10/feds-delay-pay-rule/19748/

    U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance for Schools Re: Bullying of Students with Disabilities

    Stating that it has received more than 2,000 complaints regarding the bullying of students with disabilities in the nation's public elementary and secondary schools since 2009, The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released a guidance letter in October, in conjunction with National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, reminding schools and educators that bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated, including against America's 6.5 million students with disabilities. This latest guidance material makes it clear that the protections for students with disabilities who are bullied on any basis extend to the roughly three quarters of a million students who are not eligible for IDEA services but are entitled to services under the broader Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. You can read the full text of the Guidance Letter here in English: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-bullying-201410.pdf and here in Spanish: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-bullying-201410-sp.pdf

    Information for People with HIV Considering Employment

    Mark Misrok, President of the National Working Positive Coalition board of directors, was recently interviewed for TheBody.com about the realities and resources for people with HIV considering the worlds of work and benefits. Regarding the intersection of the ADA and people living with HIV, Misrok stated "Many people living with HIV may not need accommodations in order to pursue and obtain employment, but some of us would be able to be employed if we could get accommodations that we need." Read more at: http://www.thebody.com/content/75157/resources-for-people-with-hiv-considering-employme.html?ic=wnhp

    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar! 11-20-14 - Veterans Disability Compensation Appeals - Sponsored by VetsFirst, a program of United Spinal Association

    For many veterans, filing a claim for disability compensation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the beginning of a long process that may take years to complete. If a claim for benefits is denied, veterans have the option of appealing that denial at different stages. This webinar will provide information on the criteria that must be met in order to have a claim approved, the process for appealing a denial of benefits, and the reasons why you should keep pursing your claim if you believe that you have a good case. To register, please visit:

    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/100000000064973142;jsessionid=abculXjrXhHgvd2nUm_Ku

    Free Webinar! 12-4-14 -Accessible Emergency Transportable Housing

    On May 7, 2014, the Access Board issued guidelines that address access to temporary housing provided by the government in emergencies and natural disasters. The new requirements supplement the Board's accessibility guidelines for facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) by adding provisions and exceptions specific to emergency transportable housing units. The supplemental rule covers access for people who use mobility aids as well as communication access for people with hearing loss. This session will provide an in-depth review of these new guidelines. A presenter from FEMA has been invited. To register, please visit: http://www.accessibilityonline.org/Schedule/

    Free Webinar! 12-16-14 - Accommodating Persons with Environmental Sensitivities:  Challenges and Solutions

    This session will focus on people with chemical, electrical, and/or environmental sensitivities or intolerance's.  The presenters will address the nature of these disabilities and examine federal recognition and policy development.  They will discuss how to accommodate people with environmental illnesses by reducing or eliminating environmental barriers in the public and private sector including housing, employment, healthcare, and in other areas. To learn more and to register, please visit http://adagreat.powweb.com/ProgramInformation/

    Special Spotlight: Honoring America's Veterans with Disabilities

    As we honor our nation's veterans this month, we wanted to share with our readers some information about the first national memorial honoring veterans with disabilities that was dedicated on October 5th, 2014 in Washington D.C. The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial (AVDLM), located within sight of the U.S. Capitol, serves as a constant reminder of the cost of human conflict and pays tribute to the more than 4 million veterans with disabilities in the U.S. The AVDLM honors veterans with both physical disabilities and "invisible" ones, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. It pays tribute to heroes with disabilities from all conflicts and each branch of the military, the first of the Washington monuments to honor such a broad and diverse group of Americans.  The Memorial covers more than two centuries of heroism and struggle, and also includes the untold stories of the caregivers, family and friends of our country's veterans with disabilities. A star-shaped fountain and reflecting pool, surrounded by glass walls with embedded words and images depicting personal journeys of courage and sacrifice, serves as its focal point, mirroring the flickering light of a ceremonial flame. To learn more about the AVDLM, please visit the Memorials website at: http://www.avdlm.org/

    If you are a veteran with a disability, there are a number of veteran's service organizations (VSO's) that may be of assistance to you. Below is a link to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Directory of VSO's with contact information for each organization: http://www.va.gov/vso/VSO-Directory_2013-2014.pdf.

    The Northeast ADA Center also has a number of employment related resources available for veterans, service providers, and employers, at our website, www.northeastada.org, or http://makingworkhappen.org/

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center

    10-22-14 - Free Webinar! Section 503, the ADA Amendments Act, and Disability Service Providers: Scenario Clinic (Part II) from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EST

    Recent changes in disability laws and policies could lead to sweeping changes for individuals with disabilities in the workplace and other areas of life.  New rules for Rehabilitation Act (RA) Section 503 impact how employers recruit, hire, retain and accommodate workers with disabilities. This webinar is an interactive session that will focus on real-life employment implications for RA Section 503 and the ADA Amendments Act for individuals with disabilities and those who serve them. To learn more and to register, visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5047

    11-12-14 - Free Webinar! Returning Veterans with Disabilities: Update on opportunities, challenges and dilemmas (VEVRAA, FMLA, etc.)

    On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, we will celebrate Veterans Day.  To commemorate the contribution of the men and women who have served our country, this webinar focuses on creating workplace cultures, policies and practices that are effective for transitioning veterans, including veterans with disabilities.  We will provide an overview of the employment situation of veterans with disabilities, focusing on emerging laws in this area and on the experiences of veterans with disabilities as they transition to the civilian workforce.  The session will be co-facilitated by Edgar Johnson, a talent acquisition professional at Cornell University who is himself a veteran.   Edgar will focus on effective strategies to recruit and retain veterans and veterans with disabilities.  Finally, we will consider the human perspective.  How can employers create employment policies, practices and cultures that are both effective and that foster a climate of trust for the many veterans who will be returning to our workplaces?  To register, visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5048

    What's New in Our Region

    11-14-14 - 4th Annual Retinitis Pigmentosa Symposium in Puerto Rico

    The Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation presents the 4th Retinitis Pigmentosa Symposium in Puerto Rico on November 14, 2014 from 7:00 am - 3:00 pm at the theater of the University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo Campus. The Symposium will feature speakers from inside and outside of Puerto Rico, such as Dr. Gustavo Aguirre from the University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Nicolás Cuenca-Navarro from the University of Alicante in Spain; Dr. Gerald Chadder from the USC School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California; Dr. Carmen Suarez-Castro, Optometrist in PR and Dr. Oscar Hernández-López, Ophthalmologist in PR.

    For more information and to register you may call (787) 786-9100 or (787) 815-0000 ext. 3254, 3250, 3253 or 3257, write to retinitispigmentosapr@gmail.com, or visit http://retinitispigmentosapr.com/

    NY Governor Establishes a Commission to Create Employment First Policy

    New York Governor Cuomo has established this initiative which aims to increase the employment rate, and decrease the poverty rate, for New Yorkers who are receiving services from the State, as well as register 100 businesses as having formal policies to hire people with disabilities as part of their workforce strategy. A recent Cornell Study, "A Review of Recent Evaluation Efforts Associated with Programs and Policies Designed to Promote the Employment of Adults with Disabilities" notes that government policies aimed at increasing the employment of working-age people with disabilities can reverse each of these effects. The Employment First policy is part of a national movement to support the employment of people with disabilities. The employment rate for a New Yorker with a disability (aged 18-64) is 31.2% compared to 72% for a person without a disability, resulting in a gap of 40.8 percentage points. Read more at:

    http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/09172014-executive-order-employment-first

    New York City's Accessible Taxi Plan Moves Forward

    Currently there are only approximately 600 cabs out of roughly 13,000 that are wheelchair-accessible in New York City. On September 16th, Manhattan Federal Court Judge Daniels approved the settlement agreement that will make half of NYC's taxi fleet of yellow cabs wheelchair-accessible by 2020, calling it "one of the most significant acts of inclusion in this city since Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers." Mayor de Blasio thanked Judge Daniels for echoing the basic premise that an Accessible Taxi Plan in NYC is simply "the right thing to do". The overhaul will be funded by a 30 cent surcharge on regular taxi rides. Read more at:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/judge-approves-push-wheelchair-accessible-cabs-30-cent-surcharge-article-1.1941591

    City School District of New Rochelle, NY Agrees to Improve ADA Title II Policies and Procedures

    The consent decree specifically requires the school district to adopt and implement individualized evacuation plans for all students with mobility disabilities attending the school in the District, so that all students have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in evacuations - whether actual evacuations or drills - conducted by the District. Additional requirements related to Title II are laid out in the consent decree as well. Read more at: http://www.ada.gov/new_rochelle_cd.htm

    Metropolitan Museum of Art Programs for Visitors with Disabilities

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is offering numerous programs that are accessible to people with disabilities, including programs for those people with hearing or vision disabilities, dementia and learning or developmental disabilities. Accommodations include assistive listening devices, ASL Interpreting, real-time captioning and touch tours. Read more at: http://www.metmuseum.org/events/programs/programs-for-visitors-with-disabilities

    What's New in the Rest of the Country

    Class Action Settlement Agreement with Redbox Highlights the Need for Accessible Self Service Equipment

    Self-service kiosks are becoming increasingly popular nationwide for a number of customer needs, including DVD rental, renting a car, obtaining a boarding pass, etc.  The class action settlement with Redbox is a result of a complaint brought by several blind individuals and an advocacy group because the Redbox DVD rental kiosks could not be independently used by people with visual disabilities. The settlement requires, among other things, that Redbox  incorporate audio guidance technology, a tactile keypad, and other accessibility features into its DVD rental kiosks so that customers who are blind can use them independently at one kiosk at every location within 18 months and at all California kiosks within 30 months. Read more at: http://www.adatitleiii.com/2014/09/accessible-technology-redbox-dvd-rental-kiosk-class-action-settlement-highlights-litigation-risk-presented-by-self-service-equipment/

    U.S. DOJ Postpones Deadline for Movie Captioning Comments to December 1st

    Title III of the ADA requires movie theaters and other places of public accommodation to provide effective communication through the use of auxiliary aids and services. This new rulemaking specifies requirements that movie theaters will need to meet in order to satisfy their effective communication obligations to people with hearing and vision disabilities. The Department encourages the public to review the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and submit comments by the deadline. Read more at: http://www.ada.gov/regs2014/qa_movie_nprm.htm

    Update on the ABLE Act

    On Friday, September 19, 2014, federal lawmakers announced that they had reached an agreement on the ABLE Act, which provides tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities. These accounts, which could be set up at any participating financial institution, would allow people to contribute up to $14,000 annually and accrue up to $100,000 without threatening eligibility to needed federal benefits such as supplemental Social Security income (SSI). The bill's lead sponsors said in a joint statement that they expect the legislation to be considered when Congress returns to Washington in November. Read more at:

    http://wid.org/center-on-economic-growth/programs-of-the-center-on-economic-growth/access-to-assets/equity/equity-e-newsletter-fall-2014/able-act-advocacy-opportunity

    Vote on the United Nations Disability Treaty Blocked

    The U.N. Convention, which creates an international standard for disability rights similar to the ADA, was signed by the United States in 2009, but Senate approval is needed for ratification and official participation. Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, took to the Senate floor on September 17, 2014 and called for a unanimous consent vote on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Swiftly, Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, objected and stated "There are a number of our colleagues, both on and off the committee, who have concerns with this treaty." Senator Harkin said it was "another sad, irresponsible day in the U.S. Senate" after the objection blocked the vote on the Disability Treaty. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/09/17/vote-treaty-blocked/19681/

    ADA 25th Anniversary Commemorative T-Shirts Available for Purchase: Proceeds Support the ADA Legacy Project

    This commemorative black t-shirt has artwork on the front and back. The front of the shirt has a red, white and blue design saying "ADA 25." The back says, in large white letters "Disability Rights are Civil Rights." To help support The ADA Legacy Project and the ongoing year-long ADA Legacy Tour, shirts are selling for $25.00 each. This includes shipping within the U.S. All income beyond production costs, shipping and handling will go to The ADA Legacy Project. Use the following link to order your t-shirt:  http://www.thenthdegree.com/?product=ada-25th-anniversary-shirt

    Opportunities for You!

    Drexel University Online offers Master's Degree & Graduate Certificate Programs for Autism Spectrum Disorder Professionals

    Drexel University Online is dedicated to developing skilled professionals to adeptly teach, care for, and nurture individuals with autism spectrum disorders through their online master's degree and graduate certificate programs. These degree and certificate programs are for educators and clinicians who work with individuals with autism spectrum disorders, including nurses, therapists, teachers, special education instructors and administrators. Learn more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/emailers/sponsored/140910_drexel.html

    11-6-14 - Free Webinar! Accessible Retail Stores and Spaces - "Advanced Session" 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM EST.

    This webinar, hosted by Accessibility Online, will review accessibility standards under the ADA and ABA that provide criteria for the multitude of elements in retail stores and spaces such as parking, checkout aisles, sales and service counters, queues and waiting lines. To learn more, please visit: http://www.accessibilityonline.org/Schedule/

    Special Spotlight:  October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

    With the arrival of October also comes the arrival of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a month long campaign dedicated to raising awareness and increasing education about current disability employment issues as well as celebrating the plethora of contributions that people with disabilities have made to America's workforce.

    Starting out as a Congressional designated "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week" in 1945, it has evolved into so much more. Now, this week that was originally geared toward the recognition of people with physical disabilities in need of jobs, has turned into a celebration of all people with disabilities in the United States' workforce history and the continual recognition and expansion of their contributions.

    The theme, which is typically identified by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, for this year's NDEAM is "Expect. Employ. Empower". This theme builds off of previous years' concepts that the strongest workforce is an inclusive one. NDEAM's message is also aimed toward expanding the recognition that people with disabilities can perform meaningful jobs as well as anyone else.  

    Intent on bringing awareness to disability employment issues and employment equality and inclusion measures, NDEAM brings its call of "Expect. Employ. Empower" into 2014. For more information and to learn how you can get involved in NDEAM see:

    Presidential Proclamation - National Disability Employment Awareness Month

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/30/presidential-proclamation-national-disability-employment-awareness-month

    National Council on Disability Statement Supporting National Disability Employment Awareness Month

    http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/2010/10082010

    What can you do? The Campaign for Disability Employment

    http://www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org/blog/index.php/ndeam/

    Disability.gov

    https://www.disability.gov/2014-national-disability-employment-awareness-month-expect-employ-empower/

    Department of Labor

    http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/index-2014.htm

    Mobility Starts Here. NuMotion

    http://www.numotion.com/news-resources/the-latest/october-is-national-disability-employment-awareness-month-ndeam-and-disabil/

    National Disability Awareness Month, Facts & Figures. Diversity Inc.

    http://www.diversityinc.com/diversity-facts/disability-employment-awareness-month-facts-figures-2/

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    10-20 - 10-21 ADA Coordinator Training Conference, Buffalo NY

    The ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program (ACTCP), in cooperation with the Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University, presents the ADA Coordinator's Training Conference October 20-21, 2014 in Buffalo, NY. 

    This 2 day event will be held at Hyatt Regency. The conference will offer a variety of sessions and feature speakers from the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Access-Board, and other nationally recognized ADA experts. Registration is open to the public. In addition, ACTCP members will have an opportunity to obtain both foundation and elective level credits towards their program completion.

    Seating is very limited! To learn more about the program and to register, visit: http://www.adacoordinator.org/?page=ACTCPConference

    9-19-14 - Free Webinar - "Housing Issues for People with Disabilities: The ADA and other laws"

    The shortage of accessible housing in the U.S., compiled with discrimination in the housing market, reduces the availability of housing for citizens with disabilities and complicates their experiences within their homes. This webinar will cover some of the housing issues confronted by individuals with disabilities, and the different disability laws that are designed to facilitate access to appropriate housing. This webinar will be on Friday, September 19th, from 02:00 to 03:30 PM ET. To register, please visit:  http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=4510 

    What's New in Our Region:

    NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Coordinating National Disability Mentoring Day - 10-15-14

    On Wednesday, October 15, 2014, The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities will once again serve as the local coordinator for National Disability Mentoring Day (DMD).  Beginning in 1999 as a White House initiative, DMD has become a large-scale national and international effort to promote career development for students and job seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration, on-site job shadowing and ongoing mentoring.  DMD is nationally hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). To learn more, visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/mopd/html/dmd/dmd.shtml

    New York State Launches New Website to Assist Job Seekers with Disabilities

    The online New York State Recruitment Resources Center will serve as the central online employment recruitment location for job seekers who are certified eligible for participation in Governor Cuomo's Program to Hire Persons and Veterans With Disabilities. The website enables job seekers to upload their resume and transcript, and also provides application information regarding disability certification, so that they can be best connected with employment opportunities at State agencies. Learn more about this program at: http://www.cs.ny.gov/rp55/

    Executive Order Signed in U.S. Virgin Islands to Promote the Employment of People with Disabilities in Government

    Governor DeJongh signed Executive Order No. 469-2014, "To Advance Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities within the Government of the United States Virgin Islands." This new policy is taking aim at decreasing the stigmas associated with people with disabilities and increasing territory wide employment for this population. It is estimated that twenty percent of the territory's residents live with disabilities, and as a result have a higher rate of employment discrimination and a far higher rate of poverty than those without disabilities. Read more at: http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2014/08/14/dejongh-orders-more-government-hiring-disabled

    NJ Disability Pride Parade & Celebration Coming to Trenton on 10-3-14

    On October 3, 2014, the NJ Disability Pride Parade & Celebration will take place in downtown Trenton, NJ. This event is a grass-roots effort organized and hosted by the Alliance Center for Independence (ACI) with the support of the statewide disability community. Organizers expect over 500 people and organizations, representing a wide variety of disabilities, to march and roll from the State House to the post-parade celebration on E. Lafayette Street. Read more at: http://www.adacil.org/nj-disability-pride-parade/#.VACFdvldUQ0

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    EEOC Reports Rise in Federal Disability Employment According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's annual report on the federal workforce statistics for fiscal year 2011, the number of federal employees with targeted disabilities rose to 0.90% after a consecutive 10-year decline, followed by three years of holding steady at 0.88%.Targeted disabilities are considered the most severe impairments and include deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorders, intellectual disabilities, mental illness, and distortion of the limb and/or spine. Read more at: http://www.eeoc.gov//eeoc/newsroom/release/8-19-14.cfm

    September Is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

    The Resolution passed recently by Congress to dedicate September as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month seeks to bring awareness to the state of health care and treatment for people with spinal cord injuries, highlight the medical advances that have occurred and honor those living with a spinal cord injury. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) estimates that there are approximately 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury each year in the U.S. The leading causes of spinal cord injury are motor vehicle accidents, falls, and acts of violence. To learn more about spinal cord injury statistics, visit the University of Alabama's National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) website at: https://www.nscisc.uab.edu/ For additional resources about spinal cord injury, you can visit the National Spinal Cord Injury Association's Website at http://www.spinalcord.org/

    U.S. DOJ Reaches Settlement Agreement with the Louisiana Supreme Court

    On August 14th, the Department of Justice announced that it has entered a settlement agreement under the ADA to protect the right of qualified bar applicants with mental health disabilities to have equal access to the legal profession.  The agreement prohibits the Louisiana Supreme Court from asking unnecessary and intrusive questions about bar applicants' mental health diagnosis or treatment.  The agreement also requires the Court to refrain from imposing unnecessary burdens on bar applicants with mental health disabilities, such as requests for medical records, compulsory medical examinations, or onerous monitoring and reporting requirements. For more information, or to review the agreement, visit www.ada.gov

    Autism CARES Act Signed by President Obama

    On August 10th, President Obama signed a reauthorization of the nation's primary autism legislation. The law calls for $260 million annually through 2019 for autism research, prevalence tracking, screening, professional training and other initiatives. The measure known as the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act, or Autism CARES, renews the former Combating Autism Act.  The Act also requires leadership from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to supervise autism research, services and support activities. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/08/11/obama-signs-autism-renewal/19573/

    ABLE Act One Step Closer to Reality

    The ABLE Act, if enacted, would allow Americans with disabilities and their families or caretakers the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account. An ABLE account would function much like a Roth IRA or a 529 Savings account. The money set aside in an ABLE account would not count as an asset when calculating SSI, SSDI or Medicaid eligibility. Set aside funds can be used toward specific expenses including healthcare, education, housing, transportation, employment support and general welfare. On July 31st, the House Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously to report the ABLE Act out of Committee, bringing it one step closer to an up or down vote by the entire U.S. House of Representatives. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/07/24/congress-weighing-savings/19545/

    Latest Issue of U.S. Access Board's Newsletter, Access Currents, Now Available

    The July/August issue of the Access Board's newsletter features several topics, including a new technical guide to outdoor developed areas; the new DOJ Proposed Rule for movie theatre captioning and audio descriptions and the new FCC Rule to promote text to 911 availability. Read more news from the Access Board at: http://www.access-board.gov/news/access-currents-july-august-2014

    Opportunities for You!

    9-18-14 -Free Webinar on Increasing Self-Identification in the Workplace

    The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) will sponsor the "Creating an Inclusive Culture: Increasing Self-Identification" webinar on September 18th from 1:00-2:00pm ET. Attendees will learn about emerging practices from private-sector companies for encouraging people with disabilities to self-identify; get tips and tools for hiring managers; and learn strategies for fostering connections with disability organizations. HRCI credits will be available to participants. To register or learn more, please visit: http://askearn.org/exchange/new-self-id-inclusive-culture-webinars/

    9-22-14 - Free Webinar on Encouraging Disability Disclosure

    EARN will also sponsor the "Do Ask, Do Tell: Encouraging Disability Self-ID in an Inclusive Workplace" webinar on September 22nd from 12:00-1:00pm ET. Attendees will learn how employers can build an inclusive workplace where employees feel safe disclosing that they have a disability, while also meeting the new federal requirements for government contractors. HRCI credits will be available to participants. To register or learn more, please visit: http://askearn.org/exchange/new-self-id-inclusive-culture-webinars/

    9-23-14 - Free Webinar: Culturally Competent Emergency Preparedness for the Developmentally Disabled

    The NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is offering a free webinar on Culturally Competent Emergency Preparedness for the Developmentally Disabled on Tuesday, September 23rd from 1:00-2:00 PM ET. To learn more about the webinar or to download the flyer, visit:

    http://www.opwdd.ny.gov/news_and_publications/opwdd_news/WebinarFlyerLatino

    Special Spotlight:  The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) Becomes Law

    President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22nd, 2014. One of the major goals of the Act is to provide additional opportunities for those searching for work, including increasing educational and job training resources for employment. WIOA seeks to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the necessary job skills to enable them to fully participate in the competitive business job market, and also seeks to provide young people with disabilities with the support they need to be successful in today's job market. American Job Centers, where services are provided, will have to certify that they have assessed both physical and programmatic accessibility at the Job Centers. Additionally, WOIA now includes individuals with disabilities in the definition of individuals with barriers to employment. In terms of increasing job readiness, the Act mandates that state vocational rehabilitation agencies work with schools to provide transition services to all students with disabilities and requires that the agencies allocate at least 15 percent of their federal funding toward such transition efforts.

    WIOA directs local boards covered by the Act to promote proven practices in programmatic and physical accessibility, develop strategies for using technology to better meet the needs of people with barriers to employment, and annually assess physical and programmatic accessibility. Local boards may also set up a committee to carry out non-discrimination operational issues and provide training for staff on effectively providing services to people with disabilities. At the Federal level, WIOA requires that the Secretary of Labor establish an advisory committee dedicated to increasing competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities.

    WIOA will become effective on July 1, 2015; however several provisions in the Act have different effective dates. For more information on the Act, please see the resources below.

    The Department of Labor WIOA website: http://www.doleta.gov/wioa/

    White House Press Release of President Obama Signing WIOA:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2014/07/22/president-signs-workforce-innovation-and-opportunity-act

    From the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education: http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/ovae/2014/07/25/president-obama-signs-workforce-innovation-and-opportunity-act-into-law/

    Obama Signs Law Limiting Sheltered Workshop Eligibility - from Disabilityscoop at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/07/22/obama-law-limiting-sheltered/19538/


  •  

    Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

     

    Northeast ADA Center Releases Spanish Website!

    The NEADA Center is happy to announce its website can now be viewed in Spanish! You can access the Spanish site directly at: http://www.northeastada.org/index_es.cfm or by going to www.northeastada.org and clicking on the button that says "Ver Sitio Web Espanol". We are very happy to be able to make the majority of our website materials and information available in Spanish now.  Please let us know if you have any feedback on how we can improve our communications with our Spanish speaking constituents throughout Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, New York, and New Jersey, and we hope you enjoy the website! 

     

    9-10-14 - Free Webinar on Inclusive Extra-Curricular Activities

    The NEADA Center will present a free webinar, "School's Out, Now What? Inclusive Extra-Curricular Activities" on September 10th from 2:00-3:00pm ET. This webinar will include a review of the US Department of Education's January 2013 letter detailing the obligation of public schools to include students with disabilities in athletic programming under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. It will also consider the benefits of inclusion for students with and without disabilities. Register at: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=4504

     

    9-19-14 - Free Webinar on Housing Issues for People with Disabilities

    The NEADA Center will present a free webinar, "Housing Issues for People with Disabilities: The ADA and Other Laws" on September 19th from 2:00-3:30pm ET. The shortage of accessible housing in the U.S., compiled with discrimination in the housing market, reduces the availability of housing for citizens with disabilities and complicates their experiences within their homes. This webinar will cover some of the housing issues confronted by individuals with disabilities, and the different disability laws that are designed to facilitate access to appropriate housing. Register at: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=4510 

     

    What's New in Our Region:

     

    Legislation Updates New York's Accessibility Signage and Logos

    On July 25, 2014, New York State (NYS) Governor Cuomo signed into law new legislation to update accessibility signage and logos throughout NYS. This updating of signage is an important step in the removal of the social stigma around people with disabilities. A new, more active graphic will be required for new and replaced signage in New York and the word "handicapped" will be replaced with "accessible." Read more at: http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/07252014-accessibiliy-signage-and-logos

     

    USVI Designates October as "Disability History and Awareness Month"

    Due to the collaborative activities of the USVI PAIR program and the disability community, legislation has been enacted to declare October "Disability History and Awareness Month" (Act No. 7621). The Virgin Islands legislature passed the proposed bill in its entirety on June 18th and it was approved by Governor John de Jongh, Jr. on July 11th. The law states that during October, each public school "...shall conduct and promote educational activities that provide instruction, awareness and understanding of disability history and people with disabilities. The activities must include various events, such, as school assemblies and guest-speaker presentations." This legislation is based upon a belief that disability history should be shared in schools as a way to increase disability inclusión and decrease instances of bullying and harassment. 

     

    31 Caribbean Epilepsy Conference to be Held in September in Puerto Rico

    The Puerto Rican Epilepsy Society -a private nonprofit organization dedicated to providing medical, psychological, psychosocial and educational services to people with epilepsy and their families - will hold their "31 Epilepsy Caribbean Conference" on September 13th, 2014 at the Condado Plaza Hotel & Casino in San Juan, PR. Some of the topics to be discussed include early detection of developmental disabilities and epilepsy, seizures in the newborn and the unexpected, sudden death due to the condition, among others.  Also as part of the event, the Northeast ADA Center Technical Assistance Specialist in PR will be offering training about reasonable accommodations for people with epilepsy in the workplace and the educational area.  The conference is accredited by the Central Division of Continuing Education and Professional Careers of University of PR Medical Sciences Campus (EFEUSA).  For more information about this event, contact the organization at (787) 782-6200 / info@sociedadepilepsiapr.org, or visit: http://epilepsiapr.org/.

     

    Latest News from New York State (NYS) Justice Center

    The latest electronic news from the NYS Justice Center is now available and includes information on a new mobile app for reporting incidents to the Vulnerable Persons Central Register, an investigation into a nonprofit provider serving people with developmental disabilities, and new publications from the Justice Center. Read all the news at: http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=930f191415e3092b75697f45d&id=27b7116254&e=5c0b17f818.  

     

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

     

    Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Passed by Congress

    On July 9th, the U.S. House of Representatives, passed H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a bill that critically supports the advancement of integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities, instead of sheltered workshop environments. This bill puts additional pressure on state governments to expedite this integration process, while also creating more talent investment programs for young people with disabilities to ease their transition into the workforce. Now the Bill is ready for President Obama's signature.  Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/07/10/congress-sheltered-eligibility/19500/ and: Learn more about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

     

    Justice Department Developing Disability Training For Police

    Responding to the demands from advocates like the National Down Syndrome Society and the National Down Syndrome Congress, the Community Relations Service under the U.S. Department of Justice will begin to administer training to law enforcement personnel specific to relations with people with disabilities. Similar to their new training specific to law enforcement relations with the transgender community, this program will focus on the needs of the individual with a disability. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/07/21/justice-training-police/19532/

     

    Social Security Administration (SSA) Announces Updated Instructions for Reasonable Accommodation Requests

    The SSA has issued updated instructions for all direct service employees on how to handle disability accommodation requests.  Some highlights of the new instructions include: calling the SSA national 800 number; visiting a local field office; or calling or writing to a Field Office or Hearing Office where they would like to receive the accommodation. SSA will provide "standard accommodations", such as Certified Sign Language or Video Remote Interpreters and handwritten notes in all agency offices without requiring special approval of management. SSA will also provide standard notices via either print, large print, Braille, or electronic means sent by mail. If an individual requires more than one of the standard accommodations or a different type of accommodation, they must contact the Center for Section 504 Compliance. Individuals have the right to request a "non-standard accommodation", which will require management approval. Learn more at: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0200211001 or contact your local Region 2 Liaison (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands) Laura Coffey at 502-479-5865 or lcoffey6@hotmail.com.

     

    White House Adds New Disability Adviser

    Replacing Claudia Gordon, Taryn Mackenzie Williams will serve as an associate director in the White House's Office of Public Engagement as the liaison role between the disability community and the president. Williams' term in the role is expected to be short-term as she is "on loan" from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/07/15/white-house-disability-adviser/19515/

     

    EEOC says reasonable accommodation required for all pregnant workers

    The EEOC has recently published Guidance that expands the responsibility of employers to offer light or alternative work to women who have pregnancy-related restrictions if they offer alternative work to people who are covered by ADA disability. This Guidance does not have the force of law, but will be up for ruling by the Supreme Court and Congress in the future. Read more at: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=21ce0ba2-1c6b-4802-896a-5b9caeeff56e

     

    Disability related inquiries should be reviewed for ADA and GINA compliance

    Following the EEOC recent informal discussion letters critiquing policies and forms that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, this article reviews requests employers cannot make of employees. Unless the employer can prove the question must be asked as a business necessity, many questions that inquire about medical history would expose an employer to lawsuit.  Read more at:  http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=6106b342-35a1-403a-90cb-2cef2a4fe6ef

     

    U.S. Currency Reader Program

    The Bureau of Engravings and Printing have announced that beginning on September 2, 2014 a pilot program will be rolled out to provide people who are blind or are visually impaired with currency readers free of charge. Starting January 2, 2015 the program will be nationally rolled out. Read more at: http://www.bep.gov/uscurrencyreaderpgm.html

     

    Latest Job Accommodation (JAN) Electronic Newsletter

    The latest JAN ENews is now available and includes information on recruiting resources for federal contractors, online application systems, ADA leave beyond FMLA, accommodating social anxiety disorder, and many other timely topics. Read the ENews at: http://askjan.org/enews/2014/Enews-V12-I3.htm.

     

    Nordstrom's Chooses to Be Disability Inclusive While Promoting Sale

    Four people with various disabilities are featured in Nordstrom's anniversary sale catalog this year modeling the retailer's latest trends. Some of the models include a 7-year-old who has Downs Syndrome, a wheelchair user, a veteran with a prosthetic leg, and a woman that was born without her right arm below the elbow. All of these models are featured modeling various trends popular this year from clothing to shoes and handbags. Read more at:

    http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/07/18/nordstrom-spotlights-models/19526/

     

    Opportunities for You!

     

    9-4-14 Free Open Question and Answer with the U.S. Access Board"

    Back by popular demand! Accessibility specialists and information technology specialists from the Access Board are available to answer your burning questions during this session. Session participants are requested to submit questions in advance on the 2010 ADA Accessibility Standards, the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standard, Section 508, Medical Diagnostic Equipment or other Board rulemakings or activities. Accessibility specialists will answer questions submitted in advance during the first half of the session, leaving time in the second half to answer questions in the live session. To register and learn more about this webinar, please visit http://www.accessibilityonline.org/RegistrationInformation/

     

    Special Spotlight:  Disability Treaty One Step Closer to Becoming Reality

     

    The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), or Disability Treaty, passed out of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a vote of 12-6 on July 22, 2014. The Disability Treaty is designed to promote the rights and dignity of people with disabilities worldwide and enjoys the support of a broad coalition ranging from disability rights organizations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The treaty includes protections against discrimination in the workforce as well as equal access to education, amongst other basic human rights. Advocates maintain it reinforces rights written in the landmark ADA without interfering with U.S. sovereignty. The Disability Treaty's next steps include ratification by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. For more information on this story, please visit the following links:

     

    From newmobility.com, "Disability Treaty Passes Senate Committee" http://www.newmobility.com/2014/07/disability-treaty-passes-senate-committee/

     

    From disabilityscoop.com, "UN Disability Treaty Clears Senate Committee"

    http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/07/22/un-treaty-clears-committee/19536/

     

    From medcitynews.com "Global disabilities treaty passes committee but faces a tough fight in the Senate"

    http://medcitynews.com/2014/07/global-disabilities-treaty-faces-tough-fight-senate/#ixzz39iNzmHOm

     

     

     

     



  •  

    Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

     

    Free Webinar July 18th on Accessible Event Planning

    Whether you are hosting a small, indoor meeting for a group of employees or a large outdoor event open to the public, it is important to create an experience that allows everyone, including those with disabilities, the opportunity to fully engage and participate. This webinar will address how to plan an accessible event from beginning to end, and will be useful for anyone engaged in planning meetings or events of any kind. The webinar will be July 18th from 2:00-3:30 PM EST. Register at:   http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4509

     

    What's New in Our Region:

     

    U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) 24th ADA Anniversary Commemorative Celebration

    The USVI will be hosting the 24th ADA Anniversary Commemorative Celebration from 10am - 2pm on July 23rd at UVI-St. Thomas campus' Administration Conference Center (UVI-ACC); and July 25th at UVI-St. Croix campus' Great House (UVI-GH).  Lunch will be provided while motivational speaker and self-advocate, Mario Arnauz Bonds presents.  Mario has been featured on NBC Universal's "Glee Project," is author to "Without Sight but Full of Vision," and has won the Prestigious Imagination Award for Performing Arts and Motivational Speaking.  Registration is free, but required by July 16th by contacting Evernie Ramos at either 340-772-1000 or evernie.ramos@go.vi.gov, or text "ADA" to 340-626-3330.   Learn more at: http://www.vidol.gov/list_events.php?id=347

    Service Animal DOJ Settlement with New Jersey School District

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced a settlement in an ongoing investigation into inappropriate restrictions imposed on service animal use by Delran Township School District in New Jersey. The settlement under Title II of the ADA concerns a student with autism and encephalopathy whose service animal the School District refused to effectively accommodate. Additionally, the School District subjected the family to burdensome information and documentation requests. In one instance, the school prohibited the student from bringing his dog onto a school bus for the end of the year field trip, and instead the student's mother drove the service dog to the field trip. The DOJ concluded that the School District's practices did not comply with their ADA obligations to modify their policies to allow for the use of service animals by students with disabilities. The settlement requires that the School District adopt an ADA compliant service animal policy. Additionally, the School District must provide related training on Title II of the ADA to employees as well as provide compensation to the family. To read more, visit: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/June/14-crt-665.html

     

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

     

    FCC Adds American Sign Language Consumer Support Line for Video Phone

    Individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing will now be able to use their primary language, American Sign Language (ASL), to communicate with a consumer specialist at the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). This exciting form of communication, the first of its kind provided by a federal government agency, may revolutionize the way individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing interact with government agencies. This is a much improved change from the existing relay services and online complaint forms. The video phone service will be available from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday through a ten-digit phone number. This service, provided by an ASL Consumer Specialist, will be great for customer who would like to file an informal complaint or have broad questions on disability-related and telecommunication based matters. To read more, visit: http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adds-american-sign-language-consumer-support-line-videophone

     

    New Section 503, VEVRAA FAQS Now Available

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs published Final Rules that made changes to the regulations implementing both Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). The changes to Section 503 are meant to increase the power of the affirmative action provision to aid contractors in recruiting and hiring individuals with disability. Similarly, the changes to VEERAA boost the affirmative action provisions to help aid contractors to hire and improve job opportunities for protected veterans. All of these changes and more can be viewed on the newly update FAQS of these policies. To access the FAQS or to read more, read more, visit: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/vevraa.htm or  http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/section503.htm 

     

    Social Security Administration Publishes Disability Awareness Initiative

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) has newly published their disability education and awareness initiative, "The Faces and Facts of Disability." This program integrates videos, factsheets, and quizzes to teach the public regarding what the Social Security Disability insurance is, while dispelling any fallacies about the program or what disability is about. The videos demonstrate how individuals with disabilities are able to live happy lives, fully integrated into the world of employment. Additionally, there are outreach materials, including social media content and web widgets, for groups and organizations to become more informed. To read more, visit:  http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityfacts/  

     

    Why ADA Compliance Matters For Small Businesses

    Business 2 Community, an online business community, has disseminated an online friendly reminder to small businesses serving the public to ensure that their facilities meet physical requirements outlined in the ADA. Business 2 Community provides business professionals an online platform to disseminate information about leadership, increase exposure of their business/organization, and affords the opportunity to network.  This reminder, written on their website informs small businesses that there is not a grandfathering system that protects small businesses from keeping their building up to date with physical access requirements. The reminder caution these establishment that while placing emphasis on allocating capital towards product development or service delivery is essential, they should also properly invest in the physical alterations to their facilities to be ADA compliant. To read more, visit: http://www.business2community.com/small-business/ada-compliance-matters-small-businesses-0913910#!4Q7Hf

     

    California District Court Holds that Redbox is Not Required Caption Videos

    In Jancik v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, a case filed by a man who is deaf, the court held that Redbox was not required to offer captioned videos.  This decision came after the individual argued that Redbox was in violation of Title III of the ADA by not providing captioned videos at the company's DVD rental Kiosks, after he requested that they do so. He also argued that Redbox's failure to provide captioning for all of its online streaming videos also violated Title III. However, the California court held that Title III of the ADA does not apply to Redbox's DVD services because requiring the company to provide captioned videos would force Redbox to change its inventory to include the accessible videos, which is not required by the ADA regulations. Additionally the court held that captioning was not required on Redbox's video streaming service because its website was not a place of public accommodation under Title III of the ADA. To read more, visit: http://www.adatitleiii.com/2014/06/california-district-court-holds-that-redbox-does-not-have-to-offer-captioned-videos-at-its-rental-kiosks-or-on-its-streaming-video-website/

     

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Roundup: Are Intellectual Disabilities the Next Big Issue Under the ADAAA?

    In light of a recent article published by Bloomberg BNA that reviews the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) since its passing in 2008, Bloomberg BNA hosted a roundtable discussion of experts on what the next big issue will be under the ADAAA. The amendments have been widely perceived to have largely enhanced workers' rights and increased liability for employers. A range of possible issues were discussed, including intellectual disability and pregnancy-related impairments, which both deal with expanded definition of disability introduced by the ADAAA. The other possible issues deal with lack of clarity in language, particularly the distinction between reasonable accommodation and undue hardship as well as the responsibility of employers to accommodate individuals when the employee has not communicated he/she has a disability.  To read more, visit:

    http://www.bna.com/eeo-roundup-intellectual-b17179891329/

     

    Military Families Push for Increased Autistic Behavioral Analysis Coverage

    Tricare, the military insurance provider that military families rely on, currently only covers $36,000 annually for Autistic Behavioral Analysis (ABA). This capped benefit finances 12-13 hours a week for therapy; therefore, the families must make up the cost gap and sometime forgo the fully recommended 25 hours a week for ABA therapy. The decision to forgo treatment is often the choice since a military salary is not sufficient to cover the remaining of the therapy sessions. Several legislators have partnered with military families to advocate for the increased coverage of ABA therapy as well as the extension of coverage to others like individuals with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome. The provision in the authorization bill has received bi-partisan support. To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/06/11/military-aba-coverage/19434/

     

    EBay Announces Partnership with the National Federation of the Blind

    EBay has partnered with The National Federation of the Blind in a "Web 2.0 Sustainable Accessibility Partnership Agreement" that will improve the accessibility of EBay's website and mobile applications. Specifically targeted to individuals who are visually impaired, some features improve access to text-to-speech screen readers, and improving braille displays. EBay released the following statement, "This is about reinforcing and enhancing our commitment to accessibility, and making eBay's global marketplace available to everyone." Read more at: http://www.adatitleiii.com/2014/06/ebay-announces-web-accessibility-partnership-with-the-national-federation-of-the-blind/?utm_source=Seyfarth+Shaw+-+ADA+Title+III+News+%26+insights&utm_campaign=07c7151852-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_decb46f1f5-07c7151852-70397889

     

    Opportunities for You!

     

    Think Beyond the Label Online Career Fair

    Think Beyond the Label will be holding a virtual employment fair on July 30th.  This fair will provide a cost effective avenue for employers to connect with a number of qualified individuals with disabilities. Events such as this can assist businesses in meeting their obligations under various regulations related to the employment of individuals with disabilities. The online event will take place from 1pm to 4pm ET. For more information, visit: http://www.thinkbeyondthelabel.com/Start-Hiring/CareerFair.aspx

     

    Special Spotlight: Celebrating 24th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

    This month, the Northeast ADA Center commemorates the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed by President George H. Bush on July 26th, 1990. The ADA, along with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 serves as an important foundation for protecting the rights of Americans with Disabilities in a range of areas from employment to recreation. Events celebrating this anniversary will be taking place all across the country and we encourage you to find out what's occurring in your local community, or consider hosting an event yourself.  The following links will provide information on these events as well as more information related to the anniversary of this historic civil rights law.

     

    Celebrate the ADA

    http://www.adaanniversary.org/home

     

    ADA Anniversary Events

    http://www.adaanniversary.org/events  

     

    Celebrating ADA 24 Through Artistic Expression

    http://www.newenglandada.org/blog/celebrating-ada-24-through-artistic-expression

     

    Mission Possible podcast

    https://soundcloud.com/#ticnetwork/mission-possible-oc

     

    BREAKING NEWS: It is also worth noting that the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) is steadily moving through legislative channels. On June 25th, the Senate passed it, followed by the House of Representatives on July 9th, both by an overwhelming majority. The bill is now on President Obama's desk and he has indicated his intent to sign it into law. The WIOA is a bipartisan legislation intended to improve the country's workforce development system and the competitive, integrated employment of individuals with disabilities. Read the following articles for more information and continue watching the status of this critical bill!

     

    From National Council on Disability: http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/07102104

     

    Statement from Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky: http://schakowsky.house.gov/press-releases/statement-on-the-passage-of-the-workforce-innovation-and-opportunity-act/

     

     

     

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Free Webinar July 9th on Twenty-four Years of the ADA

    The ADA was passed 24 years ago amidst a great hope that this bold new legislation would remove barriers to equal opportunity and access for individuals with disabilities across several life spheres. In what areas have we made progress over the last 24 years?  In what areas do we still have work to do?  What possibilities do new policies and legislative changes bring?  In this webinar, we will reflect upon our progress toward the goal of equal opportunity and access.  We will focus on several life spheres for individuals with disabilities, including economic life, employment, physical and program access. This webinar will be held on Friday, July 9th from 2 to 3:00 PM EST. To register, visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4502

    Free Webinar July 18th on Accessible Event Planning

    Whether you are hosting a small, indoor meeting for a group of employees or a large outdoor event open to the entire public, it is important to plan and create an experience that allows everyone, including those with disabilities, the opportunity to fully engage and participate. Through this webinar, we will address how to plan an accessible event from beginning to end, and review what the ADA says about accessibility and how to apply it to events being planned. This will be useful for anyone engaged in planning meetings or events of any kind. The webinar will be held July 18th from 2 to 3:30 PM EST. To register, visit:   http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4509

    What's New in Our Region:

    DOJ Settlement Agreement with U.S. Virgin Islands Taxi Company

    On May 23rd, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a Settlement Agreement with a self-employed taxi driver on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). This was one of the first individual complaints against a private taxi service provider in the USVI under the ADA. The complainant, who is blind and has service animal, alleged that the taxi driver denied him services.  The taxi driver admitted she denied services but claimed she did not know he was blind. However a local television station filmed the incident (which can be viewed at www.drcvi.org). The taxi driver has agreed to participate in ADA training, which is available to all taxi drivers in USVI. According to our Northeast ADA Center USVI affiliate, the Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands (DRCVI), "the impact of this complaint is far-reaching...following the complaint, the V.I. Taxi Commission, the U.S. Attorney's office and the DRCVI, participated in ADA transportation training for taxi drivers. Thanks to [the complainant's] willingness to report this violation...and the efforts of the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Virgin Islands, there are now more accessible private taxis in the Virgin Islands".  To read the settlement agreement, go to: http://www.ada.gov/roumou-taxi-sa.htm.

    Proposed New York State Bill to Update Accessible Parking Signage

    New York state legislators as well as disability rights advocates are advocating for legislation that would alter both the images and text on signs for accessible parking. The proposed new signage would feature a picture of a wheelchair user in motion, as opposed to static image currently in use. Additionally, there is support for the removal of the word "handicapped" from the sign. The proposed changes would give deference to advocates who say that the usage of the word is outdated as well as offensive to individuals with disabilities. These new signs, which would replace signage that had been damaged, are already in use in New York City as well as other countries around the world. To read more, visit: http://www.wgrz.com/story/news/2014/05/19/ny-bill-would-remove-handicapped-accessible-from-signs/9294301/

    New York Settlement Helps Ensure Access to Shopping Centers

    New York (NY) state's recent settlement with Kimco Realty Corporation, a Fortune 500 company that operates 34 NY shopping centers, will help to ensure that NY residents with disabilities have equal access to the company's shopping centers. The settlement, part of an ongoing initiative by the Attorney General's office to ensure disability access to retail sites, requires the company to ensure that the various areas of its shopping centers, from the sidewalks to the parking lots, comply with the accessibility requirements and design standards set forth in the ADA. Action against Kimco was initiated when a complaint about wheelchair inaccessibility at a Staten Island Kimco shopping center was received. As part of this settlement, Kimco will have to undertake a number of steps to increase accessibility; including hiring an ADA consultant to assess its shopping centers and working to promote ADA compliance among the tenants of its shopping centers. Read more at: http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-secures-agreement-major-commercial-real-estate-company-ensure-equal

    NYC to Include Vets with Mental Disabilities in Vendor Licensing Program

    Legal Services New York City (NYC) Veterans Justice Project has reached a settlement with NYC's Department of Commerce regarding discrimination against veterans with service-connected mental disabilities applying for the city's yellow vendor license program. The licensing program provides veterans with disabilities special vending licenses to sell merchandise on NYC streets. Prior to this settlement, the Department of Commerce had been excluding veterans with service-connected mental disabilities, such as PTSD, from participation in its veterans' vendor program. The settlement will require the Department of Commerce to update its application materials and policies to ensure that veterans with mental disabilities are given equal consideration as veterans with physical disabilities are in this program. To read more, visit: http://www.legalservicesnyc.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=815

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    911 Services Increasingly Available by Text across United States

    The ability to text 911 in emergency situations as opposed to calling is increasingly becoming more of an option because starting in May of 2014, the nation's four main cellphone networks: Sprint, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and AT&T will support text messaging to 911.  By the end of the year, the Federal Communications Commission is requiring all text messaging providers to support the service. The option to text message 911 provides individuals, for example those who have difficulty hearing or speaking, with increased access to emergency services. The full availability of text to 911 will now depend on the adoption of the needed technology and software in 911 call centers across the country. Call centers in certain communities in 16 states are currently equipped to receive 911 text messages, while only Vermont has deployed the service across the state. To read more, visit:  www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/05/22/increasingly-911-text/19385/

    Law School Admissions Council to Update Accommodation Policies

    The DOJ has reached a settlement with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) regarding LSAC's practices in accommodating Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) takers with disabilities. The LSAC agreed to a number of changes to its LSAT policies, such as ceasing to flag test scores of test takers given extra time on the LSAT and changing the requirements for qualifying for an accommodation. In addition, the LSAC will pay a $7.73 million dollar fine, which will be used to compensate approximately 6,000 individuals who requested an ADA accommodation from the organization within the last five years. Read more at: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/lsac_to_pay_7.73m_change_lsat_policies_in_settlement_of_ada_suit/

    DOJ Title I and Web Access Settlement with Florida State University

    The DOJ reached a settlement with Florida State University (FSU) in which FSU agrees not to conduct any medical examination or make disability inquiries of job applicants before a job offer, and to make its employment opportunities website and mobile applications conform at least to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA Success Criteria. This resulted from finding that the FSU Police Department's online application form asked questions about disabilities and other medical conditions, which is in violation of the ADA.  Access the press release and full agreement at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/June/14-crt-606.html.

    U.S. Mines Personal Health Data to Find the Vulnerable in Emergencies

    The federal Department of Health and Human Services has been working with officials in cities around the country to help ensure the safety of individuals with health conditions during emergencies. Through utilizing Medicare records, the federal government has been piloting programs such as door-to-door visits and phone calls that would check on individuals with a range of medical conditions such as renal failure during emergencies. For example, during an ice storm in New Orleans in January, dialysis patients were informed by phone that the city's dialysis centers would be closing early, allowing them the chance to get needed care earlier. Programs such as these have arisen as a benefit of the federal push to digitize health records. In implementing these programs, federal and local agencies have taken care to ensure the privacy of Medicare participants and to comply with privacy relevant laws. To read more, visit:   http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/16/us/us-mines-personal-health-data-to-aid-emergency-response.html?_r=2

    New EP-RRTC Website Launched

    The Rehabilitation and Research & Training Center on Employer Practices Related to Employment Outcomes among Individuals with Disabilities (Employer Practices -RRTC) has recently launched a new project website. The site contains information summarizing the research findings presented at the October 2013 State of the Science Conference along with research briefs, links to papers, as well as online tools and resources. The site also features short video clips of representatives from business, government, and academia, sharing their perspectives on the importance of the Employer Practices-RRTC findings to date. To learn more, visit: http://employerpracticesrrtc.org/

    Federal Contractors: Creating a Culture of Inclusion

    A recent Employer Assistance and Resource Network Article (EARN) in Ability Magazine highlights key elements of an inclusive workplace as prescribed by the new Section 503 and VEVRAA regulations that went into effect in March. In the article, Kathleen Lee, Business Outreach Specialist at Cornell University's National Employer Technical Assistance, Policy, and Research Center discusses how federal contractors can incorporate inclusive strategies to capitalize on new opportunities to expand the hiring of individuals with disabilities and veterans, to move beyond compliance, increase employee engagement and productivity, and create a culture that values the contributions of all employees. To read more, visit: http://www.abilitymagazine.com/503-Regulations.html

    Opportunities for You!

    Free Webinar July 1st: Including Disability in State and Local Offices of Emergency Management

    The National Network of ADA Centers and the Pacific ADA Center are offering the next session in their Emergency Management and Preparedness Webinar Series, entitled "Including Disability in State and Local Offices of Emergency Management" on July 1st, at 2:00pm ET.  This session discusses the importance of having people with disabilities located in the offices of emergency management or related offices to convey the disability perspective. The presenters will provide firsthand experience with doing this at the state, regional, and city levels. Register for this free webinar at: http://www.adaconferences.org/Emergency/.

    Special Spotlight: 15th Anniversary of Olmstead v. L.C. 

    Olmstead v. L.C., the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on community integration for individuals with disabilities, was decided on June 22, 1999. This June will mark the 15th Anniversary of this ruling, which has had a wide-ranging impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities across the country.  Though much progress has been made toward meeting the mandates of the ruling, more work is still needed to ensure that individuals with disabilities across the country are able to live in the least restrictive settings possible.  Read more about this landmark case below:

    Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone:
    http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/olmstead_cases_list2.htm#ny

    Olmstead Technical Assistance:
    http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/olmstead_ta.htm  

    Olmstead Enforcement:
    http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/olmstead_cases_list2.htm

    Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development on the Role of Housing in Accomplishing the Goals of Olmstead:
    http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=OlmsteadGuidnc060413.pdf   

     


  •  

    Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

     

    Northeast ADA Center Website Now Available in Spanish!

    The Northeast ADA Center (NEADA) recently launched its updated website (www.northeastada.org) in English. We are now proud to introduce the Spanish version of our new and improve website! When you visit our website, you will see at the top of the homepage a button to click to be taken to the Spanish version. Right now we have several web pages in Spanish, and will be working over the next couple months to continuously translate the remaining webpages add information. Please keep checking back to find what new information and pages are available in Spanish. The entire website is scheduled to be fully translated by September, 2014. Thank you in advance for visiting and engaging with our updating website and we look forward to hearing your feedback! The direct link to the NEADA Spanish website is: http://www.northeastada.org/index_es.cfm!

     

    What's New in Our Region:

     

    NYC Theatres to Provide Listening Devices to Individuals with Hearing Loss

    The New York State Attorney General announced, as part of settlement agreements, that three New York City theatres must offer assistive listening devices to individuals with hearing loss. These agreements, established with the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Atlantic Theater Company and the School of Visual Arts Theatre, confirm that the organizations will offer equal access to individuals with hearing loss, as prescribed by the ADA. To learn more, visit: http://www.longisland.com/news/05-06-14/schneiderman-require-nyc-theatre-listening-devices.html

     

    Medicaid Managed Care Forum: Engaging Disability Leadership Representatives

    The National Council on Disability (NCD) is working together with federal agency representatives and disability leadership stakeholders to conduct a cross-disability stakeholder engagement with federal agency partners for the purpose of obtaining valuable input into both the planning and implementation of Medicaid managed care. Through the Medicaid Managed Care Forum, NCS hopes to

    "facilitate input on experiences, preferences and desired outcomes for Medicaid managed care among disability leadership, federal and state agency representatives; health plans, and providers." This forum will be held on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 from 9:30am - 4:00pm in The City University of New York, 55 Lexington Ave, New York. To attend please RSVP:  ncdforums@gmail.com

     

     

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

     

    Comments Sought on Proposed Changes to Service Animal Access in National Parks

    The National Parks Service recently issued a proposed update to its regulations regarding service animals. The proposed changes would allow service dogs and miniature service horses, but not other species of service animals into National Parks. Though service animals are currently allowed within national parks, this update to the regulations is meant to adopt the ADA Title II and Title III new definition of a service animal. Additionally, the regulations call for requiring proof that service animals are vaccinated against diseases which can be transmitted to wildlife. The National Parks Service is seeking comments on the proposed regulations through June 17th. To learn more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/04/29/proposal-national-parks/19322/

     

    At a Congressional Hearing, Disability Training Urged for Police
    A U.S. Senate panel convened to discuss issues related to police interactions with individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness. At the panel hearing, the mother of a man with a developmental disability who died after an interaction with police at a movie theater testified of the incident. Additionally, she urged for police to receive proper training as studies suggest that police interaction with individuals with disability is often not pleasant and that approximately six in 10 prisoners serving time in state penitentiaries have some form of mental illness. Her son's ordeal brought national attention to the issue of police engagement with individuals who have developmental disabilities. The hearing highlighted the need for more funding in order to train police on how to better interact with individuals with developmental disabilities. To learn more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/05/01/at-congressional-police/19326/

     

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Gives Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities a Chance to Self-Identify

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has improved upon the enforcement of protections for individuals with disabilities through new guidelines touching upon self-identification and requests for accommodation. Under these new guidelines, federal contractors are required to provide multiple notices for the opportunity for individuals with disabilities to self-identify throughout the employment life cycle. This will ensure that employees feel comfortable to voluntarily self-identify when they are ready. These new guidelines hope to remedy the fact that many protected veterans and individuals with disabilities are often hesitant to self-identify at first, because of concerns about potential discriminations. To read more, visit: http://news.psu.edu/story/311616/2014/04/11/federal-office-gives-vets-people-disabilities-chance-self-identify

     

    Feds Impose Stiffer ADA Penalties

    Announced in a final rule published in March in the Federal Register, the Federal Government has imposed higher fines for violations of the ADA. This increase in fine amount, accounts for inflation costs. For the first time in more than a decade, the fines that the federal government can impose for violations of the ADA are set to rise from the previous maximum civil penalty of $55,000 to $75,000, with subsequent fees possibly rising to $150,000 from $110,000. This ability to impose higher fines is now in effect for any violation that occurs after April 27, 2014.

    To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/04/16/feds-stiffer-ada-penalties/19286/

     

    New Guide Provides Researchers with Strategies for Better Engaging College Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    The Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston has recently released a guide titled "See What I Mean: Participatory Action Research with College Students with Intellectual Disabilities." This guide is meant to serve as a resource for researchers who want to use Participatory Action Research methods to better understand the perspectives and experiences of college students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), which is increasingly important as more and more individuals with IDD have the tools and resources to attend college. This guide reviews how researchers can work to better engage college students with IDD at various stages of the research process from identifying relevant topics to the dissemination of research findings. To learn more, visit: http://www.thinkcollege.net/administrator/components/com_resdb/files/PARguide_F.pdf

     

     

     

    Ranking Names Best States for Disability Services

    United Cerebral Palsy has released this year's ranking of all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the quality and quantity of services offered to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The factors used to determine the rankings included the state's method to encouraging independence and productivity, assurance of quality and safety, and promoting family unity.  Whereas previous years would show a concentration of high performing states in the Northeast and West parts of the country, this year's ranking demonstrates a shift, as the top states are now more equally distributed across the whole nation. Included in the top 10 states are: Michigan, Hawaii, Georgia, New York, South Carolina, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio and Missouri. To read more, visit: http://power.aapd.com/site/R?i=ub310lYvwE6YjSWH2GOHgQ

     

    U.S. Access Board Launches Online Guides to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA)

    Two new web-based guides on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Standards and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Standards have been released by the U.S. Access Board. The online material features illustrated technical guides and animations to help clarify requirements of the ADA and ABA.  For example, the Guide to the ADA Standards specifically covers design requirements that apply to places of public accommodation, commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities subject to the ADA in new construction, alterations, and additions. The Guide to the ABA Standards addresses similar standards that apply under the ABA to facilities that are designed, constructed, altered, or leased with federal funds. To read more, visit: http://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/guide-to-the-ada-standards   

     

    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Wins Disability Discrimination Case against Ford Motor

    In a recent ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided in favor of the EEOC in a disability discrimination lawsuit. The EEOC had accused Ford of violating the ADA by denying a former employee a reasonable accommodation to telework. Additionally, Ford fired the employee after their formal complaint with EEOC was filed. The district court ruled in favor of Ford, but the decision was later overturned by Court of Appeals. To read more visit: http://thejobmouse.com/2014/04/23/federal-appeals-court-rules-for-eeoc-in-its-disability-discrimination-case-against-ford-motor/

    Half of Americans with Disabilities are Physically Inactive

    A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the physical activity behaviors of working-age adults with disabilities has found that nearly half of adults in this group are physically inactive. This inactivity means that adults with disabilities in the study would have a 50% greater chance of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. The CDC recommends that all adults engage in about 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity per week.  In an effort to address the inactivity among individuals with disabilities, the CDC has also launched a website for health and wellness professionals on strategies for encouraging physical activity among their patients with disabilities. Read more at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/824727

     

    Opportunities for You!

     

    Supporting Effective Transition Courses in Albany and Rochester, New York   

    Individuals with disabilities must consider their opportunities in transitioning from school to adulthood, and information regarding supports and services to support this transition is vital. The New York State Consortium for Advancement of Supported Employment (CASE) is offering a one-day course, which will help participants understand the components of transition planning and their role in supporting the process. The variety of issues to be discussed in these sessions include strategies for supporting students effectively in the transition process as well as the roles played by stakeholders including schools, caseworkers and family members in a student's transition. This course will be held on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 from 8:30am - 4:30pm in East Rochester, NY and on Thursday, June 5, 2014 from 8:30am - 4:30pm in Albany, NY. To register visit: http://www.nyscase.org/ 

     

    Play It Safe Video Contest
    Youth interested in making a change in sports culture by teaching teammates, coaches, and parents how to recognize, address and properly treat sport-related concussions are invited to participate in this year's Play It Safe Video Contest. The contest is being hosted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC). Youths between the ages of 13 and 22 can submit a 30 to 60 second video aimed at educating the public on the topic of sports-related concussions. Winners will be awarded a $300 gift card for their submission. The deadline for entries is May 30th. To read more and to participate, visit: http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2013/Sports-Related-Concussions-in-Youth-Improving-the-Science-Changing-the-Culture/Play-It-Safe.aspx

     

    2014 Southwest Conference on Disability

    The 2014 Southwest Conference on Disability will be held on October 7-10, 2014 at the Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town. This year's conference will cover several themes, including: "Disability, Diversity and Social Justice: Looking to the Future through a Common Lens"; "Life after a Brain Injury: Pathways to Increasing Quality of Life"; and "Increasing the Quality of Life of Youth in Transition: Breaking Down Barriers". The early bird application deadline is September 7th, 2014 and the Scholarship Deadline is August 31st, 2014. Read more and register at: http://www.cdd.unm.edu/swconf/registration.html

     

    Special Spotlight: May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

    National Mental Health Awareness Month aims to bring increased attention to the issues faced by individuals with mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. It is estimated that one in five adults will experience a mental health condition, but that less than half will get the treatment that they need. Join us in recognizing National Mental Health Awareness Month by taking time to learn more about mental health issues and the various ways of supporting individuals with mental health conditions.

    Presidential Proclamation -- National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2014

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/01/presidential-proclamation-national-mental-health-awareness-month-2014 

     

    Fact Sheet: Marking the Administration's Progress on Mental Health

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/05/fact-sheet-marking-administrations-progress-mental-health

     

    May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

    http://www.mentalhealth.gov/

     

    Mental Health America

    http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may

     

    Help for Veterans

    http://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/veterans/index.html

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    New Webinar - Scenario Clinic: Finding Qualified Candidates with Disabilities

    For many organizations, recruitment is a "make or break" function.  Making sure the right people are in the right job at the right time can make the difference between meeting organizational goals and falling short.  Because the recruitment function is key to obtaining both organizational productivity goals and diversity/inclusion goals, it has become a focus for recent legislative rules changes (such as Rehabilitation Act Section 503 and VEVRAA).  During this webinar, we will use an interactive scenario-based approach to examine some legal, human and practical issues around recruiting qualified individuals with disabilities.  In addition to discussing relevant scenarios, we will provide an overview of resources for recruiting qualified candidates with disabilities.

    To register for this webinar on May 14th, from 2:00pm - 3:00pm EST, visit:  http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4500

    Open for Registration: FREE ADA Trainer Network Event in US Virgin Islands

    If you live in the US Virgin Islands and want to educate your local community about the ADA, you could become part of The ADA Trainer Network! The Northeast ADA Center, is hosting a, train-the-trainer event for the US Virgin Islands in St. Croix, May 13-15th, and St. Thomas, May 19-21stRegistration is required; Space is Limited.  The purpose of this initiative is to enhance our capacity to reach a broader range of stakeholders who are directly or indirectly impacted by the ADA in their personal lives or in a professional role.

    Both new and current members are invited to come learn about our NEW training curriculum and how to deliver the information to diverse audiences.

    To Register or for more information, go to the following website:

    For St. Croix: http://northeastada.org/register/tn/tn_reg_stcroix2014.cfm

    For St. Thomas: http://northeastada.org/register/tn/tn_reg_stthomas2014.cfm

    Or, please contact Katie Steigerwalt at 607-255-8660 or kms342@cornell.edu

    What's New in Our Region:

    Professor Conducts Physical Activity Workshops for Children with Disabilities

    Syracuse University (SU) has been offering a new physical activity program with a research focus, titled "Physical Activity for Families of Children with Visual Impairments." This program is broken into four parts: orientation and mobility, physical activity and motor development, aquatic skills, and sports.  The goal of the program and research is to educate constituents on learning skills and techniques that help develop and improve children's (ages 4-18) motor skills both in school and at home. Families with children ages 4-18 who have visual impairments, SU students, and area teachers are said to be among the potential beneficiaries of the project's outcomes. To read more, visit: http://news.syr.edu/professor-conducts-physical-activity-workshops-for-children-with-visual-impairments-71472/

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    The National Disability Institute Sets 2014 Public Policy Agenda

    The National Disability Institute (NDI) has released its 2014 Public Policy Agenda. NDI's 2014 Agenda highlights some of the critical financial issues facing individuals with disabilities and their families ranging from victimization due to financial/consumer fraud to government programs that serve to remove the incentive for individuals with disabilities from working. The Policy Agenda outlines the challenges and opportunities for each financial issue affecting individuals with disabilities such as the passage of several pieces of pending legislation and specific amendments to current legislation.  To learn more, visit: http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/Public-Policy/Public-Policy-Agenda.aspx

    To Understand Autism, Researchers Turn to Dogs

    Researchers from the Canine Cognition Center, located at Yale University are studying how dogs perceive and learn from their environments in an effort to learn more about young children and human behavioral and cognitive development processes.  According to the study, because dogs are raised in very similar environments as children, (i.e. relying on learning, among other things, from interactions with adult humans) the Canine Cognition Center is studying how these household pets pick up details from their surroundings in an attempt to reveal new insights into the behavioral and cognitive development of humans with autism. Dogs provide an applicable glimpse into the cognitive responses of the mammalian brain exposed to domestic environments.

    To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/03/18/to-autism-dogs/19201/

    World Wide Web Consortium Publishes Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications 1.0

    The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), partially funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), has published the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA). Currently, certain functionality used on the Web is not available to some users with disabilities; especially, individuals who rely on screen readers or those who cannot use a mouse. WAI-ARIA addresses these accessibility challenges by defining new ways for functionality to be provided to assistive technology. WAI-ARIA 1.0 establishes guidelines on how to achieve greater cross-platform accessibility and increased usability of advanced web applications for individuals with disabilities, especially through help with dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies.

    To read more, visit: http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/

    Two Sides of the Coin: The Obama Administration's FY 2015 Budget Proposal's Effects on Individuals with Disabilities

    President Barack Obama released the Administration's Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Budget Proposal, which could both positively and negatively affect individuals with disabilities.  The National Disability Institute highlights each perspective: On the positive side, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which has already proven to be successful with pulling individuals with disabilities out of poverty, would be expanded to include workers without children, almost doubling the EITC maximum benefit from $503 to $1,005.  On the negative side, the Budget Proposal would deny an individual from concurrently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits; this in turn, could significantly lessen economic security for individuals with disabilities. To read more, visit: http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/newsletters/wash_insider_FebMar_2014.html#2  

    Workers with Disabilities Included in President Obama's Executive Order to Raise Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors

    Beginning in 2015, the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors will be raised to $10.10/hour. This increase in wages will also apply to workers with disabilities.  This is a huge victory for individuals with disabilities who are employed by federal contractors. Prior to President Barack Obama signing of the executive order on February 12th of this year, workers with disabilities could be paid a subminimum wage, which the National Disability Institute argued was discriminatory and stagnating for any federally contracted worker with a disability; especially, those striving to have a financially secure future. 

    To read more, visit: http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/News.aspx?id=396

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Posted the Section 503 Self-Identification Form in Spanish and Word Formats

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has recently posted both the English and Spanish versions of the Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability form in both Word and .pdf formats.  This form is a requirement of the new regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.  Federal contractors are to use this form along with current HR systems in order to track recruitment and retention efforts of candidates and qualified employees with disabilities.  To read more, visit: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/section503.htm

    Feds Move Forward with Disability Hiring Mandate

    The U.S. Department of Labor has implemented a new hiring goal mandate that requires most businesses with federal contracts to achieve an employment utilization goal. With the employment utilization goal, federal contractors must strive to obtain 7% representation of employees with disabilities, at all levels of their organization. Similar to rules already in place to promote inclusion of women and minorities in the workplace, this new rule could create a substantial increase in the number of employed individuals with disabilities.  Businesses with at least 50 employees and $50,000 in federal contracts will be required to take specific steps involving recruiting, training, and policy dissemination designed to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  If businesses choose not to comply with these new measures, they face the possibility of losing their federals contracts with the government. To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/03/25/feds-disability-hiring-mandate/19222/

    Opportunities for You!

    7th Annual Autism Conference in Virgin Islands in April

    The Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VIUCEDD) will host the Virgin Islands' 7th Annual Autism Conference.  The conference will be held in St. Thomas, VI on Monday, April. 28, at the University of the Virgin Islands Administration & Conference Center and in St. Croix, VI on April 30th, 2014 at the University of the Virgin Islands North West Wing Great Hall. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Georgina Peacock, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To learn more, call 340-693-1173, or 340-776-9200 ext. 2334 (STT), 340-692-4266 (STX). Registration is required for this event. To register, visit: http://events.viucedd.org/ 

    Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity

    On May 19th & 20th, 2014, The Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.  This conference is one of the "most diverse gatherings" in the world, where a variety of interactive workshops highlighting disability and diversity through discussions, hands-on activities, and stories providing powerful lessons will encompass both days.  New topic areas will be presented to promote education, technology, inclusion, and advocacy to enhance the lives of all human beings.  The conference will be held at the Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii: To learn more or to register, visit: http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/

    Special Spotlight: New Settlement Agreements Added to ADA.gov

    Four settlement agreements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have been added to the ADA website, www.ada.gov.  These four settlements can now be read and referenced to in detail from the ease of their database.  

    To read more on each of these settlements, visit the following links:

    United States of America vs. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

    http://www.ada.gov/vca-lincoln-center.htm  

    United States of America vs. Conway Lodging, Inc.

    http://www.ada.gov/conway-lodging.htm  

    United States of America vs. Commonwealth Health & Rehab Center

    http://www.ada.gov/commonwealth-health-rehab.htm  

    United States of America vs. New York

    http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/olmstead_cases_list2.htm#ny

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    The ADA National Network Launches New Informational Website

    The ADA National Network, of which the Northeast ADA Center is part of, launched its new, user-friendly national website at www.adata.org. The new website allows visitors to explore resources about the ADA by audience and topic, to learn about the services offered by the ADA National Network, and to locate their regional ADA Center. Visitors to the website can read publications developed by the ADA National Network as well as by other ADA-focused organizations, browse an extensive FAQ (frequently asked questions) database, search for information through a focused ADA Portal, read current ADA news, and locate training and awareness events about the ADA. The website is designed to meet and exceed section 508 standards. Visitors are encouraged on every page to provide feedback on ways to improve the website. Visit us at http://adata.org/

    What's New in Our Region:

    Timetable Set for Rules on Wheelchair-Accessible Taxicabs

    A federal judge has set a timetable for new accessibility rules to be published, and a public hearing to be set, related to making New York City taxicabs accessible. The judge is giving city lawyers more time to consult with yellow medallion taxi owners on how to make these accessibility changes. The city has agreed to commit to this schedule and new rules should be published by the end of March, with the hearing taking place in April. To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/nyregion/timetable-set-for-rules-on-wheelchair-accessible-taxicabs.html?action=click&contentCollection=Europe®ion=Footer&module=Recommendation&src=recg&pgtype=article&_r=1

    Settlement in 7-Year Suit over New Jersey Students with Disabilities

    The New Jersey (NJ) Department of Education has settled a federal lawsuit alleging that the state has failed to adequately educate students with disabilities because it has separated them from their student peers. The lawsuit was encouraged by advocates. About 10 percent of NJ's students with disabilities attended school in a different facility outside their home district in the 2007-2008 school year. Under the settlement agreement, the state will target 75 school districts with inadequate track records on inclusion. The agreement mandates the state to supply districts with training to school staff, complete site visits and increase oversight of districts to prevent unnessary separation of students with disabities. To read more, visit: http://www.wnyc.org/story/nj-agrees-steps-better-educate-students-disabilities/?utm_source=sharedUrl&utm_media=metatag&utm_campaign=sharedUrl

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs has Posted FAQs on Section 503, VEVRAA

    To help clarify expectations for contractor compliance, the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) offers questions and answers about the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act in preparation for the March 24th implementation date. For more information and additional resources, see EARN's fact sheets on the new VEVRAA and Section 503 regulations, or visit www.askearn.org

    Federal Government Earmarks Millions for Housing Programs to Assist Individuals with Disabilities

    Federal housing officials are appropriating $120 million to assist thousands of individuals with disabilities access rental housing assistance. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is encouraging state housing agencies to apply now through May 5. The purpose of the funding is to discourage homelessness and unnecessary institutionalization of those with disabilities. The money is available under HUD's Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program, a program designed to increase community-based housing options for individuals with disabilities. To be considered for funding, state housing agencies must collaborate with local Medicaid and health and human services agencies to identify and help individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and supports to live independently in the community. To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/03/04/feds-earmark-housing/19163/

    Matching Wounded Warriors with Assistive Technology

    This article, concerning assistive technology devices (ATD) for wounded service members, may serve as a handy guide for federal employers looking to employ and/or accommodate veterans with disabilities. An ATD is any item, piece of equipment, or product system used to improve, maintain, or increase functional abilities of an individual with a disability. The article suggests that while many US statutes encourage the provision of ATDs, acquiring the devices often remains challenging for both service members and providers. Reports showing high levels of ATD choice overload or nonuse of devices, and ATD dissatisfaction, indicate that an improved evaluation, guidance, and decision-making process is needed to increase utilization by organization and end-users. To read more, visit: http://www.extension.org/pages/70238/matching-wounded-warriors-with-assistive-technology

    Comcast NBCUniversal & The Arc Launch Multi-Million National Partnership

    This year, The Arc will start a new national joint venture with Comcast Corporation that will support and increase digital technology opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Through a three-year commitment, Comcast and NBCUniversal will give The Arc $3.7 million in funding and in-kind assistance (e.g. airtime). The airtime will allow The Arc announce on cable and broadcast channels and xfinity.com of its services and benefits. The Comcast Foundation is also affording $400,000 to support The Arc's national digital training program and to increase technology access and services by launching up to 12 Comcast and NBCUniversal Digital Literacy Learning Labs in major metropolitan cities. To read more, visit: http://blog.thearc.org/2014/02/25/comcast-nbcuniversal-arc-launch-multi-million-dollar-national-partnership-enhance-technology-access-education-people-disabilities/

    New CAP Quick Tip: Out of Scope Accommodations

    The Computer/Electronics Accommodation Program (CAP) has released a YouTube video detailing the type of accommodation requests and services they provide. CAP's mission is to ensure that individuals with disabilities and wounded service members have equal access to the information environment and opportunities in the Department of Defense (DoD) and throughout the Federal government. According to this informational video, CAP purchases accommodations for the information technology environment, but some items are out of CAP's scope, such as electric scooters, foot rests, and medical supplies. To view the full list of out of scope items, watch the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhGfLcVibZg

    Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Acts to Help Emergency Responders Locate Wireless 911 Callers

    The FCC proposed rules, and seeks public comments on providing 911 emergency call centers with additional information about the location of people who call 911 using cellphones or smartphones. Improving the ability to precisely identify a person's location who calls to 911 may be particularly essential for individuals with disabilities and for individuals who are not able to give their address or describe their location. At this time, FCC rules mandate some outdoor location information about wireless callers to be supplied automatically to 911 emergency call centers; however, FCC wants to require more information about the location of wireless callers who are indoors (e.g. to identification of building, the floor, and possibly the room, office, or apartment where the wireless call began). Advancements in the field of indoor location technology will facilitate the acquisition of the additional information.  To read more, visit: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-325694A1.pdf

    A Legal Eye on Medication Side Effects, the Workplace, and the ADA

    Some managers may express skepticism and concerns regarding employee requests for a job accommodation based on the side effects of medication. However, there are times when a cause-and-effect relationship occurs as a result of an employee taking medications, due to side effects; therefore, impacting an employee's work performance. In this case, this employee may be covered under the ADA and other states' human rights laws. A growing number of jurisdictions have acknowledged that in some situations an individual may be protected under the ADA if the medication they are taking has disabling effects, even if the underlying medical condition wouldn't qualify as a disability itself. For instance, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals listed three factors to consider when making this determination: the treatment must be necessary according to the prudent judgment of a medical professional; the treatment cannot merely be an "attractive option" for treating the underlying condition; and the treatment cannot be required in anticipation of a problem that results solely from the employee's voluntary choices. To read more, visit: http://blogs.hrhero.com/diversity/2014/01/19/my-meds-made-me-do-it-medication-side-effects-and-the-ada/?utm_source=HRHero&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=HeroLine

    Opportunities for You!

    The 2014 Disability Policy Seminar

    The 2014 Disability Policy Seminar will take place in Washington, D.C. April 7-9. This event is opportunity to cultivate new champions on Capitol Hill and advance the grassroots movement for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). This unique platform offers participants with the opportunity to gather with other advocates, discover about the issues impacting the I/DD community, and speak with elected officials about what is important to the I/DD community To find out more about this year's program and to register, please visit: www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org

    Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics  

    Disability rights advocates are encouraged to join the first-ever Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics. This event will be held in Arlington, Virginia April 25-26. This groundbreaking event will cover important topics/issues facing the disability community in the United States in the bioethical field (e.g. Withholding Medical Treatment, Assisted Suicide Law, and Reproductive Technologies). These two focused days will afford learning and discussion on important bioethics issues. For more information and to register, please visit: http://www.drlib.eventbrite.com

    FCC Accepting Nominations for the Third Annual Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility

    The FCC is requesting nominations for the third annual Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility. The awards honor exceptional private and public sector initiatives that promote accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Winners and honorable mentions will obtain their awards from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in June 2014 (date and location will be announced in the future). Email nominations to ChairmansAAA@fcc.gov by March 31, 2014.

    Special Spotlight:  Obama Includes Workers with Disabilities in Minimum Wage Executive Order

    President Obama's executive order increases the minimum wage for workers and will includes a key provision to address concerns raised by advocates of workers with disabilities. The President announced his plan to take unilateral action during  the State of the Union Address to increase the minimum wage for low-wage workers to $10.10 from the current rate of $7.25.  Soon after this announcement, advocates of individuals with disabilities started pressing the White House to include workers with disabilities among those getting raises. Some advocates believe that this will stop employers from paying certain workers with disabilities subminimum wages.  Read more below.

    Opportunity For All: Rewarding Hard Work:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/12/fact-sheet-opportunity-all-rewarding-hard-work

    Minimum Wage Executive Order to Include Individuals with Disabilities:

    http://power.aapd.com/site/R?i=TMQc2gYXGaMFUZ1l3UrIQQ

    Subminimum Wage for Workers with Disabilities May Become a Policy of the Past:

    http://www.care2.com/causes/subminimum-wage-for-disabled-workers-may-become-a-policy-of-the-past.html#ixzz2va69gY00

    Advocates Want Individuals with Disabilities Included in the Minimum Wage Executive Order:

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/advocates-want-disabled-included-wage-hike?utm_source=2013-02-12+WH+Wage+Announcement+2&utm_campaign=2013-02-12+WH+Wage+Anncmnt&utm_medium=email

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    NEADA Center Free Webinar March 12th: Beyond Yellow Ribbon: Welcoming Veterans with Disabilities in our Communities, Workplaces, and Colleges

    Clearly, there is a great deal of goodwill to welcome returning veterans and support them in their transition to civilian life. Since 2001, about 2.5 million veterans served in Iraq or Afghanistan.  About half of these returning veterans will have a disability.  Is this goodwill translating into real efforts to enhance the quality of life and work for returning veterans with disabilities?  This webinar will examine research studies on the status of veterans with disabilities in community participation, education and employment.  Then, review three MakingWorkHappen-Toolkits about veterans with disabilities:  One Toolkit for veterans, one Toolkit for disability service providers, and one Toolkit for employers. This webinar will be held on March 12th from 2-3PM EST. To register, visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4488

    What's New in Our Region:

    Analysis of NY Governor Cuomo's 2014 State of the State Address

    The Center for Disability Rights analyzed Governor Cuomo's State of the State Address from the perspective of individuals with disabilities. The analysis highlighted successes and unresolved issues from the past year related to disability issues. Additionally, it evaluated some of the proposals that Governor Cuomo has laid out for 2014 and the ways in which these could be more inclusive of people with disabilities. The Center applauded the Governor's efforts to ensure greater community inclusion for people with disabilities across the state.  The Center also highlighted the continuing need to address the employment needs of New York residents with disabilities, through policies such as expanding the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises program to people with disabilities or providing more tax incentives for businesses to hire people with disabilities. To read more, visit: http://www.cdrnys.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=771:state-of-the-state&catid=17:blogs-recent

    New Website Geared at New York's Voters with Disabilities

    The Center for Disability Rights in Rochester, New York launched the website named the New York Disability Vote Network. The website adds to the Center's efforts to help create a disability voting bloc within New York State. A key part of the New York Disability Vote Network is the creation of a database of voters with disabilities, which will help in promoting disability friendly policies by mobilizing voters invested in these issues. The project is funded by a grant from Adult Career and Continuing Education Services - Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR). For more, information visit http://www.nydvn.org/

    Historic Broadway Theaters to Get Accessibility Renovations

    As a result of federal lawsuit, nine historic Broadway's theaters will go through renovations to make them accessible to individuals with disabilities. Over the next 3 years, the renovations will entail adding wheelchair seats and aisle transfer seats. Additionally, in a settlement agreement, these theaters agreed to eliminate other barriers preventing individuals with disabilities from participating in the theater district. To read more, visit: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/broadway-receive-accessibility-renovations-article-1.1596243

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Justice Department Publishes a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently announced that it will be revising its regulations regarding Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The revisions are intended to bring the DOJ's ADA regulations in line with the requirements of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Some of the proposed revisions include changes to the definition of "disability" as a well as the definition of "major life activities" within Title II and Title III of the DOJ regulations. To read more, visit: http://www.ada.gov/nprm_adaaa/nprm_adaaa.htm

    Federal Agencies Partner to Protect Veterans, Service Members and their Families Using GI Bill Education Benefits

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rolled out a new online complaint system. The purpose of the system is to help the VA and its partner agencies weed out fraud, waste and abuse among those organizations and educational institutions that serve student veterans. This is a joint effort between VA and the departments of Defense, Education, and Justice, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.  The system came after veterans' servicing organizations, like Veterans of Foreign Wars, expressed concerns that some educational institutions were out to exploit veterans and their lucrative benefits programs, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Once a complaint is filed, the VA and its partner agencies can collect the information needed to identify and openly deal with unfair or misleading practices by an institution; as well as help ensure schools deliver quality academic, trade, and associated support services to student veterans.

    To read more, visit: http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2516

    US Department of Labor Secures More Than $250,000 in Back Wages for Student Workers with Disabilities

    The City of Providence, the Providence School Board and the Harold A. Birch Vocational Center have entered into settlement agreements with both the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The settlements stem from violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the ADA related to paying students with disabilities less than $2 an hour for the work that they performed in school based sheltered workshops.  The settlements included the payment of $250,000 in back wages to the 60 affected student workers. This enforcement effort was part of a strategic initiative by the DOL and DOJ to ensure that workers with disabilities are fairly compensated and that the requirements for deviating from the minimum wage are met. To read more, visit: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20132358.htm

    Congress Gives Special Education $500 Million Boost

    The newly proposed government-spending bill specifies a $500 million increase in funding for special education programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The increase in funds is beneficial because it will help to reverse the effects that sequestration related spending cuts have had on special education across the nation. Special education advocates are pleased that given the current political climate, funding for special education was not reduced in the new budget bill, though they say that more funding is required in order to successfully meet the needs of students with disabilities. For more information, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/01/17/congress-sped-boost/19024/

    NPR Piece on Jailed Persons with Mental Health Conditions

    The National Public Radio (NPR) program "All Things Considered" covered the status of people with mental health conditions within prisons by highlighting the efforts of Cook County Jail to effectively house inmates with mental health conditions. Cook County Jail is well known for its leading practices in addressing the needs of inmates with mental health conditions. These practices include screening inmates, hiring doctors, and providing training to prison staff. Despite the recognition that the jail receives for its efforts, staff at the prison still feel that they face many challenges in effectively dealing with mental health and that more needs to be done to address the needs of inmates with mental health conditions. Also discussed was how the decreases in funding for mental health services across the country have contributed to a rise in the number of people with mental health conditions within prisons. To read more, visit: http://www.npr.org/2014/01/20/263461940/mentally-ill-inmates-often-locked-up-in-jails-that-cant-help

    Fourth Circuit Holds that Temporary Disabilities May be Covered by ADAAA

    In Summers v. Altarum Institute Corp, a recent Court of Appeals decision dealt with a government contractor who acquired mobility impairments that prohibited him from making a long commute to work. The employee requested working remotely as an accommodation while he recovered. The employer declined and suggested short-term disability instead. Subsequently the employee was discharged. The plaintiff then sued Altarum Institute Corp claiming that his discharge was due to his disability. The case was dismissed at the lower level because the district court held the temporary nature of the plaintiff's disability meant that he was not protected under the ADA. The Appeals Court reversed that decision finding that due to the more expansive definition under the ADA Amendments Act, temporary disabilities such as those experienced by the plaintiff were in fact entitled to protection. To read more, visit: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/laborprof_blog/2014/01/fourth-circuit-holds-temporary-disabilities-may-be-covered-by-the-adaaa.html

    Career Mentoring Youth with Disabilities as a Business Strategy

    In this article, Jill Houghton, Executive Director of the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) declares how mentorship programs can help companies to attract qualified employees with disabilities.  Additionally, Houghton discusses recent efforts by the USBLN to implement formalized mentorship programs for students with disabilities, in response to interest by the organization's business members. The successes of the mentorship initiatives and the benefits of the programs for both students and companies are highlighted. Mentorship programs help to position companies as employers of choice within the disability community, by signaling the value that a firm places on engaging with this group. http://usodep.blogs.govdelivery.com/2014/01/07/career-mentoring-youth-with-disabilities-as-a-business-strategy/

    DOJ Settles with Rite Aid of Michigan over Alleged HIV Discrimination

    The Justice Department (DOJ) publicized that it has obtained a settlement with Rite Aid of Michigan to resolve allegations that Rite Aid violated the ADA. DOJ found that a Rite Aid store pharmacist in Okemos, Michigan, discriminated against a client with HIV by refusing to administer a flu shot to the client in violation of the ADA. To read more, visit: http://www.ada.gov/riteaid.htm

    Opportunities for You!

    Webinar Feb. 26th: You've just Been Appointed a Federal Disability Program Manager--Now What?

    This webinar will discuss tools a new Disability Program Manager (DPM) needs to be successful in their role. Effective techniques, strategies, and programs will be discussed, including the Schedule A appointing authority, targeted recruitment, free resources, and much more. It is common for agencies to appoint DPMs with little or no experience in the field, fail to provide appropriate training, and offer little guidance or support in carrying out the duties of their work. Presenters, Stephen M. King, Director of Disability Programs for the Department of Defense, and Michael Looney, National People with Disabilities Program Manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, have over 20 years of combined experience in the federal disability field and have provided similar training to thousands of employees in federal and local government. This webinar will be held on February 26th from 2-3PM EST. Registration is open to individuals with a .gov or .mil email address. To register, visit: http://askearn.org/webinar_registration.cfm?activity_id=4645

    Webinar: Making Online Application Systems Accessible

    The new Section 503 regulations stop short of requiring federal contractors to make their on-line application systems accessible, but the regulations do codify the OFCCP's position that federal contractors must make reasonable accommodations for any applicants with disabilities who cannot access on-line systems. In light of this, many federal contractors are implementing changes to make their on-line application systems accessible. In this session, Job Accommodation Network Consultants will share practical tips and tools to help these contractors succeed in their efforts. This webinar will be held on February 26th from 2-3:30PM EST. To register, visit: http://askjan.org/webcast/indexfedcon.htm

    Special Spotlight:  Office of Management and Budget Disability Self Identification Form

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the revised form for the self-identification of disability status by applicants and employees with disabilities who work for organizations covered by Section 503 regulations. The new form will help federal contractors to better track their progress in hiring and retaining employees with disability. In addition to asking about disability status, the form also informs job applicants and employees of their rights to reasonable accommodations to enable them to perform their jobs, regardless of disability. The following links will provide more information related to the new OMB form and its significance.

    Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability form

    http://www.crowell.com/files/Self-Identification-of-Disability-form.pdf  

    Section 503 Self-Identification Form

    http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewIC?ref_nbr=201307-1250-001&icID=200170

    Soliciting Self-Identification Information

    http://hr.blr.com/HR-news/Discrimination/Affirmative-Action/OFCCP-says-dont-wait-solicit-self-identification

    OMB Approves Form for Voluntary Self-ID 

    http://askearn.org/exchange/omb-approves-form-for-voluntary-self-id/

    OMB Approves Section 503 Voluntary Self-Identification Form

    http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/288950/Government+Contracts+Procurement+PPP/OMB+Approves+Section+503+Voluntary+SelfIdentification+Form

     


  • What's New in Our Region:

    New York City (NYC) Agrees to Remove Mold in Public Housing More Quickly

    NYC's public housing authority has agreed to settle a lawsuit related to mold within its public housing projects, which house 400,000 residents. The suit was brought by residents who had asthmatic conditions and claimed the city was violating the ADA by not properly dealing with mold, thus negatively impacting residents with respiratory conditions. The settlement will require that the city implement a number of initiatives to address the problem such as taking quicker steps to resolve mold issues and work to relocate tenants with asthma affected by mold. Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/nyregion/facing-suit-new-york-city-agrees-to-remove-mold-in-public-housing-more-quickly.html?_r=1&

    New Publication from NYS Justice Center on Reporting Abuse

    The New York State Justice Center has published a new guide, "Partnering to Protect People with Special Needs", which details how to report alleged abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities. Download it at: http://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/resources/brochures/partnering-to-protect-people-with-special-needs?utm_source=Justice+Center+E-+News&utm_campaign=5b7d6a200e-E_News_Vol_1_Number_411_1_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_47acbbc21e-5b7d6a200e-135884654  

    NJ County recognizes Disability Advocates Awards winners

    The Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services in New Jersey recently recognized the winner of the 2013 Disability Advocates Awards. The awards recognize people and organizations that help contribute positively to lives of people with disabilities within the county. One organization recognized was the the Midland School, which serves students throughout northern and central New Jersey. The school was honored because of its comprehensive approach to serving students with disabilities or special needs. This approach includes focusing on the individual, social, emotional, academic and career of the students which it serves. To read more, visit:http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/index.ssf/2013/12/county_recognizes_disability_advocates_awards_winners.html

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    OPM Issues Disability Employment Report for Federal Executive Branch

    The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued the 2012 Employment of People with Disabilities in the Federal Executive Branch report. It relays that 2012 saw the highest percentage of individuals with disabilities being hired in federal service in the past 32 years. To read the full report, go to: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/diversity-and-inclusion/reports/#url=Employment-Statistical-Reports

    New Technology Connecting Consumers to Accessible Venues

    AbleRoad is a new tool of technology that can help people find accessible places in their communities and around the world. Additionally, it is a customer review website/mobile app that allows individuals to post online reviews of a business's level of accessibility to consumers with disabilities, primarily mobility, hearing, visual, and cognitive. AbleRoad's goal is to provide a place where consumers with disabilities, and their families and friends, can find out which businesses are accessible, and therefore they might wish to give their business to.

    EEOC Wins Suit for Sight-Impaired Employee of Beverage Distributors

    A beverage distributor in Colorado is required to pay $200K and hire an employee with a visual impairment after the court found the employer in violation of the ADA. The employer had withdrawn a job offer, in the interest of safety, after a pre-employment medical exam revealed the employee's poor eyesight. It was found that the employee could perform the essential functions of the job safely. To read the press release, visit: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-12-13a.cfm

    Bank to Pay $95,000 to Settle EEOC Age and Disability Discrimination Suit

    A bank in Tennessee has settled a suit alleging it failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee's disability and discharged her because of her age. The consent decree states the bank will pay the former employee, who was a manager and had been with the company for over 30 years, $95,000, provide age and disability discrimination training to senior management and human resource staff, and post a notice to the branch about the lawsuit. Read the press release at: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-20-13.cfm

    DOJ Issues Publication on ADA Mediation Program

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued two new publications explaining its ADA Mediation Program, a program which allows DOJ to resolve many ADA complaints quickly and effectively at no cost to the parties involved. The publications are, "Resolving Complaints Through Mediation: An Overview" and "The ADA Mediation Program: Questions and Answers". They can be accessed at: http://www.ada.gov/mediate.htm.

    DOJ Issues Letter of Findings in Alabama for Public School ADA Violations

    The DOJ has issued a letter of findings to the State of Alabama, including specific school districts within, addressing alleged violations of the ADA regarding public school students with diabetes. The DOJ concluded that methods by which the State administers its nursing practice standards, public school nursing programs, and related policies, deny many students with diabetes an equal right to attend and participate in local schools. DOJ concluded that the school districts unnecessarily transferred students with diabetes to schools with onsite nurses, even if the students' doctors and families agreed the diabetes could be managed by non-nursing professionals. Read the letter at: http://www.ada.gov/alabama-LOF.htm.

    D.C. Newseum Settles with DOJ Over Disability Regulation Violations

    The Newseum museum located in Washington D.C. has reached a settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) over numerous violations of the ADA.  The settlement agreement comes after two years of investigation by the DOJ into the museum's compliance. Some of the ADA violations cited include gift shop merchandise being placed too high off of the ground, thus inaccessible to wheelchair users, and entry ways to museum exhibits being too short. In addition to paying a $15,000 fine and working to correct the ADA violations, the museum will also be implementing a variety of technologies such as closed captioning and assistive listening systems. To read more, visit: http://freebeacon.com/newseum-settles-with-doj-over-disability-regulation-violations/

    Policy Brief: Health Care Transition for Youth With I/DD

    The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has recently released a policy brief entitled "The Transition to Adulthood for Youth with ID/DD: A review of research, policy and next steps". The document highlights some of the health care challenges faced by young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), such as the transition from the pediatric to the adult health care system as well as  in obtaining specialized health care. The document calls attention to the need for youth with I/DD to be better taught about how to manage their health care needs, in order to facilitate a smooth transition from youth to adulthood. This is especially important given that more than a third of young people with special healthcare needs are those who have developmental disabilities. The brief offers recommendations about how research and public policy can work to address this important challenge. Read more at: http://autisticadvocacy.org/2013/12/policy-brief-healthcare-transition-for-youth-with-idd/

    U.S. Access Board November/December 2013 Newsletter

    The latest news from the Access Board features the Department of Transportation rules on airline websites, kiosks, and wheelchair stowage; FCC complaint procedures for access to advanced communications technologies; a list of upcoming webinars provided by Access Board; and much other news. Read the newsletter at: http://www.access-board.gov/news/access-currents-november-december-2013

    Special Spotlight:  Upcoming Webinars!

    With winter being upon half of our region, it becomes increasingly difficult to attend trainings or presentations in person. Technology has advanced so much in the last decade that online training opportunities are all around us, offering us numerous chances to learn more about the ADA and related issues and regulations- and many of those opportunities come at no cost!  2014 is bringing about many such opportunities - read below to learn about upcoming webinars you may be interested in engaging in!

    Northeast ADA Center 2014 Webinars:

    On the second Wednesday of each month, the Northeast ADA Center will offer a free webinar. Topics covered will include effective communication, integrating veterans with disabilities into workplaces, accessible healthcare, and many more. To see all upcoming webinars, and register for them, go to: http://www.northeastada.org/pages/events/

    Free United Spinal Webinars:

    The United Spinal Association will provide webinars in 2014 on a variety of topics, including motion therapy technology, options after rehab, resources for parents of children with disabilities, durable medical equipment and healthcare, service animals, home modifications, and many others. To see the full list, and to register, go to: http://www.spinalcord.org/webinar-archive/  

    OFCCP Webinars on Section 503 and VEVRAA

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will offer a series of webinars to federal contractors and subcontractors on the new regulations of the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. Webinars will be held 2:00-3:30pm ET and will focus on data collection, affirmative action program development, and outreach and recruitment requirements. To see the webinar dates, and to register, go to: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/final_rules_webinars.htm

    Webinar: 2014 T&T: Results of the Third Annual Leave Management Survey

    This webinar will review the results of an annual survey on the leave management practices of American employers, administered in part by the Disability Management Employer Coalition. The survey included a wide variety of leave types such as those provided under the FMLA and State Family and Medical Leaves. The webinar will also reveal the strategies and tools used by employers across different industries in order to successfully manage their leave obligations and the challenges associated with various categories of leave. This webinar will be held on January 23rd from 12:00-1:00pm EST. To register, visit: http://dmec.force.com/MN4__publiceventregistration?id=a0Sd0000003ykobEAA

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

     Northeast ADA Center Holiday Closing:

    Season's Greetings from the Northeast ADA Center!  Please note that our Cornell offices will be closed from 4:30pm ET Monday, December 23, 2013 until 8:30am ET Thursday January 2, 2014.  The Cornell based Northeast ADA Center staff will be unavailable; however, during this time our Technical Assistance Call Center (1.800.949.4232 for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) and our Technical Assistance email (northeastada@cornell.edu) will operate and will be open only on Friday December 27th, Monday December 30th, and Tuesday December 31st from 8:30am-5:00pm ET.  When we are open, we will be happy to return any phone messages or emails/online TA requests you may have submitted to us during our closing.  The Northeast ADA Center Cornell based staff will be available again beginning Thursday, January 2, 2014, and normal ADA Center business hours and operations will resume at that time. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience regarding any potential delays in our response time to technical assistance, training, or materials requests.  The Northeast ADA Center wishes all of you a most enjoyable holiday season, and a very happy and healthy New Year!

    What's New in Our Region:

    NYC Agrees on Access to Taxis for People with Disabilities

    New York City (NYC) recently agreed to settle a lawsuit regarding the accessibility of its taxicabs. The lawsuit was brought because NYC previously only had a small percentage of the city's 13,000 taxis accessible to persons in wheelchairs. A lawsuit contested this small percentage alleging that this was a violation of the ADA.  The city agreed to have half of its fleet of cabs be accessible within six years. In order to reach this goal, half of the new cabs put into service each year will now be required to be wheelchair accessible. To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/06/nyregion/city-agrees-on-access-to-taxis-for-disabled.html?_r=1&

    Court Says New York Neglected Residents with Disabilities in Emergencies

    A federal judge has ruled that NYC failed to adequately address the needs of its residents with disabilities by not accommodating them during emergencies. The lawsuit was filed in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Some examples of NYC's failure to adequately meet the needs of its residents with disabilities that were cited by the judge included the lack of an evacuation plan for people with disabilities living in high-rise buildings and a failure to provide accessible shelters. Hurricane Sandy also played a role in the case because the storm provided further evidence to regarding the lack of NYC's emergency preparedness in relation to people with disabilities. To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/08/nyregion/new-yorks-emergency-plans-violate-disabilities-act-judge-says.html?_r=0&pagewanted=all&pagewanted=print

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Supports Military Families

    Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor issued new rules that expand the coverage of the FMLA for military families. The changes were implemented in order to help military families better cope with the challenges posed by military service. The FMLA provision on Military Caregiver Leave allows covered individuals to take up to 26 work weeks of unpaid leave in a year in order to assist current service members and veterans who have injuries resulting from their service. This, and other expanded provisions of the FMLA, affords military families the flexibility they need to adapt to the rigors of military service. To read more, visit: http://social.dol.gov/blog/the-family-and-medical-leave-act-supports-military-families/

    No Nexus Required Between Requested ADA Accommodation and Essential Job Function

    A federal court case recently dealt with the question of whether employers were only required to grant requests for accommodation if the request was related to performing the essential functions of a job. A government employee, who was acknowledged to have a disability, osteoarthritis of the knee, had requested free onsite parking as an accommodation. The employer denied the request because it believed that provision of on site parking would not affect her ability to perform essential job functions. The Appeals Court held that the employee did not need to show that there was a link between the accommodation requested and the essential functions of the job, particularly in light of the ADA's requirement that employers work to make their facilities readily accessible to employees. To read more, visit: http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/274736/Discrimination+Disability+Sexual+Harassment/No+Nexus+Required+Between+Requested+ADA+Accommodation+And+Essential+Job+Function

    Clearing the Backlog and Facilitating Benefits for Veterans with Disabilities

    It is well known that there are significant issues in the operations of the disability claims process for veterans with disabilities. In order to help address these issues, the National Council on Disability recently released a report regarding the ongoing backlog of veterans' disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The report involved integrating the perspective of many stakeholders in order to determine how the VA can work to improve claims processing in order to better serve veterans with disabilities.

    To read more, visit: http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2013/11122013

    Information on Extreme Chemical Sensitivity

    New attention is being given to extreme chemical sensitivities, after more research has emerged to validate their existence. People with these chemical sensitivities have what has been termed "toxicant-induced loss of tolerance." This basically means that due to repeated exposure to chemicals such as volatile organic compounds, for example, found in carpets or fragrances and solvents, individuals become chronically ill with increasingly minimal exposure to common chemicals. The most severe cases of this phenomenon have resulted in individuals having to radically alter their lifestyles and careers in order to accommodate for their conditions. To read more, visit: http://discovermagazine.com/2013/nov/13-allergic-life#

    Examining Recent Actions by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs

    The Congressional Subcommittee on Workforce Protections recently held a hearing to discuss recent actions undertaken by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).  One of the subjects discussed was the new Section 503 regulations issued by the OFCCP, scheduled to go into effect in 2014. At the hearing, testimony regarding the potential effects of the new regulations on contractors and people with disabilities was discussed. A recording of the hearing and the testimony given by various stakeholders is now available online. To read more, visit: http://edworkforce.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=362696

    Opportunities for You!

    Webinar: Emergency Response and Disability for First Responders

    In order to best assist individuals with disabilities in an emergency situation, first responders must be aware of the preparation needed in serving this community. Flexibility and creativity may be called for in order to insure individuals who have disabilities are able to access emergency services and to do so effectively. This Northeast ADA Center webinar will address the issues of physical, communication, and programmatic access as well as the responders' need to understand the potential unique challenges facing this segment of the population and how to serve them in a respectful manner. First responders, community emergency preparedness teams, and individuals with disabilities will primarily benefit from this webinar, which will be held on January 8th. To register, visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4484

    2014 National APSE Conference: Proposals due January 15th

    The APSE Conference is requesting proposals for sessions, workshops and events to be conducted at the conference. The APSE conference focuses on the integrated employment of individuals with disabilities. APSE's annual conference serves to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, expertise and ideas on the latest and best innovations to "make employment a reality for all." This year's conference will be held from July 1st to July 3rd in Long Beach, California. The deadline for submitting proposals for the conference is January 15th. To learn more, visit: http://www.communityinclusion.org/apse/

    Webinar: 2014 T&T: Results of the Third Annual Leave Management Survey

    This webinar will review the results of an annual survey on the leave management practices of American employers, administered in part by the Disability Management Employer Coalition. The survey included a wide variety of leave types such as those provided under the FMLA and State Family and Medical Leaves. The webinar will also reveal the strategies and tools used by employers across different industries in order to successfully manage their leave obligations and the challenges associated with various categories of leave. This webinar will be held on January 23rd from 12:00-1:00pm EST. To register, visit: http://dmec.force.com/MN4__publiceventregistration?id=a0Sd0000003ykobEAA

    Special Spotlight:  International Day of Persons with Disabilities

    December 3rd was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, sponsored by the United Nations. The theme for this year's commemoration was "Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all." The theme called attention to the challenges that people with disabilities face around the world due to physical environments, transportation systems and information technologies that are inaccessible. The event called on member states and people around the globe to take steps to address these societal and structural challenges faced by people with disabilities through observing the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and engaging in dialogue around these issues. Disability advocates in the United States also used the day to advocate for the United States to become a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    Presidential Proclamation -- International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 2013

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/12/02/presidential-proclamation-international-day-persons-disabilities-2013

    International Day of Persons with Disabilities

    http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1607     

    Theme for 2013: Break Barriers, Open Doors: For an Inclusive Society and Development for All

    http://www.un.org/en/events/disabilitiesday/

    Group Advocates for UN Disability Rights Treaty

    http://dailyorange.com/2013/12/group-advocates-for-un-disabled-rights-treaty/

    A CDC Initiative: Including People with Disabilities

    http://www.cdc.gov/features/internationaldaydisabilities/

    Events Around the World

    http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1607#events

     

     


  • Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Northeast ADA Center Closed November 28th and 29th

    The NEADA Center and technical assistance services will be closed Thursday November 28th and Friday November 29th for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will reopen at 8:30am ET on Monday December 2nd.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and we hope you have a good holiday!

    The Northeast ADA Center Welcomes New U.S. Virgin Islands Affiliate!

    We are very excited to announce a new affiliate in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), the Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands (http://www.drcvi.org/).  The DRCVI will provide information and training on the rights and responsibilities of ADA stakeholders in the USVI. Its staff will participate in community events, engage with local legislators and politicians, provide ADA training, and assist with providing ADA technical assistance on issues that are specific to the USVI. The DRCVI will give an active voice to ADA issues in the USVI through participation in NEADA Center staff meetings and contributions to materials development.  The specific DRCVI staff we will be working with include Amelia Headley Lamont, Archie Jennings, and Kishma Creque. We look forward to this great partnership!

    Collaboration to Evaluate Outdoor Recreational Sites in New York State

    The NEADA Center has been working in collaboration with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to evaluate 19 outdoor recreation sites in the mid-Hudson area. Program support originated from the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary program in partnership with the NYS Water Resources Institute at Cornell and New York Sea Grant.  Each site has been assessed for compliance with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, as well as from a "user's perspective" by individuals with disabilities.  NEADA Center partnered with United Spinal for the compliance evaluations and with several Independent Living Centers for the "user assessments".  We are currently developing handbooks for those who want to know more about access at the 19 sites and for businesses in the area to enhance their ability to serve customers and patrons with disabilities. In 2014, we will be providing training for the NYSDEC staff and volunteers, and the municipalities and private businesses (Marinas, etc.) they work with. To learn more about the project, contact LaWanda Cook at 1.800.949.4232.

    What's New in Our Region:

    NYS Grant to Improve Outcomes for Children with Disabilities

    NYS Governor Cuomo announced NYS has received a $32.5 million award from the Department of Education to improve education and career outcomes for children with disabilities who receive SSI in western NY, Capital Region, and New York City. This funding is part of the Obama Administration's "Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) Initiative".  The Cornell University ILR School's Employment & Disability Institute, the NEADA Center's parent organization, is a partner on this grant and will contribute research and disability focused expertise on this project.  Read more at: http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/11082013-nys-promise-grant

    N.Y. to Double Visits to Homes for People with Developmental Disabilities

    New York (NY) Governor Cuomo recently signed into law a bill that would require mental health facilities to undergo at least two unannounced inspections per year. Previously, the law only required one unannounced visit per year. The aim of the amended law is to help prevent, and bring to light, abuses at these mental health facilities. The law helps to address some of the criticisms that NY has faced in regard to a lack of oversight of these residential care facilities. To read more, visit: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/2013/10/25/ny-to-double-visits-to-homes-for-developmentally-disabled/3188707/

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Employment Report Shows Mixed Results for People with Disabilities

    The Department of Labor (DOL) reports that the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities actually declined in October, even while the government shutdown occurred. However DOL also indicated that fewer people with disabilities were actually looking for work in October.  To read more, visit:

    http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/11/08/oct-13-jobs/18875/

    US Airways Fined $1.2M over lack of Wheelchair Assistance

    US Airways received a fine from the Department of Transportation (DOT) due to its failure to provide proper wheelchair assistance to its customers. The investigation revealed that customers who needed wheelchairs were left unattended for long periods of time and sometimes missed their connecting flights. Portions of the fine will go towards both US Airways hiring managers who can better ensure adequate services for people with disabilities, and toward purchasing software to streamline the process of providing assistance.  The DOT also announced new rules that would require airlines to make their website accessible within two years in order to allow customers with disabilities to purchase online, and often cheaper tickets, and to increase the availability of accessible airport kiosks. To read more, visit: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2013/11/04/dot-us-airways-disabled-passengers-wheelchair/3433037/

    Vice President Affirms the Administration's Support for the Disabilities Treaty

    At a recent White House meeting, Vice President Biden reemphasized the White House's support of the US ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Twenty disabilities and veterans advocacy groups, as well as other Senior White House officials, attended the meeting. Vice President Biden emphasized that the US' ratification of the treaty would help encourage other countries with lower accessibility standards to improve accessibility, thus improving conditions for Americans who go abroad such as Wounded Warriors. To read more, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/11/01/vice-president-meets-disabilities-leaders-administration-s-strong-support-disabiliti

    Voting Problems Still Widespread for Voters with Disabilities

    A new report from the National Council on Disability (NCD) shows that disability related legal, physical, and social barriers still remain at voting sites, despite the passage of the Help America Vote Act over ten years ago. During the 2012 elections, 1 in 5 voters with disabilities reported being kept from voting on their own, and more than half said they encountered physical and attitudinal obstacles while inside the polling site. The NCD is pushing for increased training of polling site staff and better enforcement of voting and civil rights laws. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/11/04/voting-problems-widespread/18860/

    The Arc Launches New National Resource Center on Justice and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD)

    The Arc recently received a two-year grant from the Department of Justice that will allow it to establish a national center on justice and intellectual and developmental disabilities. The new center will provide stakeholders with a variety of resources such as research and technical assistance on justice issues related to people with I/DD. Part of the mission of the center will be to help police officers to better understand, and effectively interact with, people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Read more at: http://blog.thearc.org/2013/09/18/arc-launches-new-national-resource-center-justice-intel

    Training Program Helps Students with Autism Land Jobs

    Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have published the results of a study that was aimed at improving job outcomes for high school seniors with autism. The researchers piloted an intervention where a group of students with autism was given access to job training at hospitals in Virginia. The training focused on developing the students' strengths, as opposed to correcting weaknesses. The training included internship rotations in the hospital to help students determine which jobs best suited them, and to learn practical skills such as how to navigate the hospital. When these students graduated, 87% of them were able to find above minimum wage jobs in hospitals, while only 6% of the students who were not part of the training program were able to find jobs. Read more at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324094704579069090866313258#printMode

    Museums Increasing Accessibility

    Museums across the country are improving their efforts to better serve visitors with a variety of disabilities. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City would be a prime example of this trend, highlighted by the museum's offering of tours using American Sign Language as well as classes tailored to visitors who are blind or have low vision. In designing their exhibits, museums have begun to look more towards universal design in order to make exhibits more accessible to a variety of individuals. The advent of technology has also enabled museums to undertake more creative approaches to meeting the needs of visitors with disabilities, for example using 3D printers to allow people to more easily interact with artwork or utilizing indoor navigation systems to assist with locating exhibits. To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/arts/artsspecial/welcoming-art-lovers-with-disabilities.html?_r=0

    Opportunities for You!

    December 11th Webinar: Accommodations on the Job

    While many employers understand the basics of their legal obligations around accommodation, they may struggle with applying accommodation processes in the real life workplace.  This interactive webinar will explore everyday scenarios that touch upon a range of legal, human and practical issues related to accommodations, including what constitutes an accommodation request, what is a "good faith effort" to engage in the interactive process, what if an accommodation doesn't work, and what role managers and supervisors might play in the accommodation process. The webinar will be held on December 11th from 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST. To register, visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4483

    Webinar December 12th: Hotels: Weaving an Accessible Welcome Mat 

    The National Network of ADA Centers is providing this webinar regarding the regulatory changes related to effective communication, reservation systems and front desk operations, distribution of accessible guest rooms designed for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, and dispersal of accessible rooms among price offerings and various room types. Emergency egress strategies for guests and employees with disabilities will also be discussed. This webinar will be held on December 12th from 2:00 to 3:30 PM EST. To register, visit: http://adainfo.org/content/ADA-Lodging-Webinar-Series

    Respondents wanted for Online Survey about Voice Telecommunications Use

    The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telecommunications Access at Gallaudet University is conducting a survey of adults who are deaf or hard of hearing regarding their use of voice telecommunications technology such as landline telephones, cell phones, captioned phones, and Skype. Their goal is to better understand how adults use this technology, what barriers they face using it, and what needs to be improved accessibility-wise. Respondents must be at least 18 years of age, have hearing loss, and use voice telecommunications at least once a week. To participate in this survey, which should take between 15-30 minutes, please go to http://tap.gallaudet.edu/telecomsurvey/ 

    Applications for Paul G. Hearne AAPD Leadership Award due December 6th

    The American Association for People with Disabilities will once again honor individuals for their leadership, advocacy, and dedication to the disability community. Two individuals will receive $10,000 to help them continue their good work. US residents with any disability are eligible to apply and self-nominations are preferred. Applications are due December 6th. To learn more about the award and how to apply, visit: http://aapd.com/what-powers-us/leadership-awards/.

    Special Spotlight:  Celebrating and Supporting Our Veterans

    November 11th marks Veterans Day, a nationally recognized holiday dedicated to honor members of the military for the sacrifices they make in support of the freedom and values of the United States. The Northeast ADA Center is asking the public to honor members of the armed forces who have served America by assisting them in their efforts to successfully reintegrate back into their communities and the workplace! See below for more information and resources:

    President Obama's Veteran's Day Proclamation:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/05/presidential-proclamation-veterans-day-2013

    NEADA Center Making Work Happen Veterans with Disabilities Online Toolkits for Veterans, Employers, and Service Providers:

    http://www.makingworkhappen.org/Veterans.cfm

    NEADA Center Veterans with Disabilities in the Workplace Fact Sheet Series:

    http://www.northeastada.org/pages/factsheets/vets.cfm

    Employer Assistance & Resource Network Information on Recruiting Veterans:

    http://www.askearn.org/#refdesk/Recruitment/Veterans?&_suid=1384180434774017763342007195432

    Toolkit on Successfully Welcoming Veterans Back Home:

    http://nod.org/research_publications/wwc_vets/give_an_hour?utm_source=2013-11-08+Veterans+Day+2&utm_campaign=2013-11-08+Vets+Day+Honor&utm_medium=email

    Veterans Day Community Celebrations and Resources:

    http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/

    Veterans Day Facts:         

    http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb12-ff27.html



  •  

    What's New from the Northeast ADA Center:

     

    NEADA Center Launches New Website!

    The Northeast ADA Center is pleased to announce a new look and feel to our website, www.northeastada.org. At our website, you will find the latest news, learn about our upcoming events and training options, access our most significant resources for understanding the ADA and related disability issues, and be able to submit an ADA technical assistance question. You will also learn more about the ADA, local resources, employment, accessibility, and how to make change in your community and organization. We are very excited to share our new website with you, but please note that we are continuing to enhance and edit it, so we thank you for your patience as we finalize it.  We are currently working on creating a Spanish version of our website as well and hope to launch that within the next few months.  If you have any feedback or suggestions for continuing to enhance our website, don't hesitate to let us know!

     

    New Webinar: Interacting with Individuals with Disabilities in Law Enforcement

    Among the citizens that law enforcement may encounter everyday are individuals with disabilities, including both visible and non-visible disabilities. While law enforcement has their protocols and procedures for how to handle certain situations, respond to incidents, investigate situations and crimes, and conduct business, these may need to be adapted when engaging with individuals with a particular disability. This is to ensure that the interaction and/or service provided to the individual are equal and accessible. This online training is appropriate for anyone who works in a law enforcement capacity. It will provide participants with an understanding of law enforcement officer's obligations under the ADA as well as how to effectively interact with people with various forms of disability. This event will be held on October 30th from 1-2pm. To register, visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4417

     

    What's New in Our Region:

     

    OMH Announces $32.5 U.S. Department of Education Award to Improve Education/Career Outcomes of Low Income Children with Disabilities

    The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) was recently awarded $32,500,000 by the U.S. Department of Education to implement the "Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) initiative. The nationwide initiative was proposed by the Obama Administration as a way to improve education and career outcomes for low income children with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). NYS PROMISE is intended to serve children with disabilities, ages 14-16, who are receiving SSI and their families. The initiative will be a five year collaborative statewide effort comprised of partners such as OMH,, Cornell University,  the New York State Education Department Office of Career and Continuing Education Services, and the Department of Labor, Workforce Development System, to name a few. To read more, visit: http://www.nyaprs.org/e-news-bulletins/2013/005748.cfm

     

    Times Square Shooting: Experts Say Police Need Better Training to Deal with People Who Have a Mental Illness

    On September 14th, two police officers confronted a man who was attempting to injure himself by walking in and out of traffic at a busy New York City (NYC) intersection. Upon the police officers confronting the man, he reached into his pocket, subsequently withdrawing his hand and making gun like gestures at the police officers. The officers then fired upon the man, but missed him and ended up hitting two bystanders. It is believed that the man's behavior was influenced by a mental illness, causing disability advocates to state that police need better training on dealing with mental illness. New York advocates such as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill have been pushing to bring Crisis Intervention Teams to New York; these are teams of officers specially trained to deal with situations involving people with mental illnesses. However, up till now their efforts have been met with resistance from the NYC Police Department. To read more, visit: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57603132-504083/times-square-shooting-experts-say-police-need-better-training-to-deal-with-the-mentally-ill/

     

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    Government Shutdown Devastating to Veterans

    The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) testified at a congressional hearing and highlighted the negative effects of the shutdown on veterans and troops. IAVA demands Congress restore death benefits for families of the fallen and continues to call for an end to the shutdown and is continually updating their FAQs online focused around how veteran's disability benefits and services are affected by the shutdown.  To read more, visit: Government shutdown FAQ. IAVA's full testimony can be found here.

     

    Minimum Wage, Overtime Protections Extended to Direct Care Workers

    The US Department of Labor recently announced the new rule, which effective January 1, 2015, extends minimum wage and overtime protection to direct care workers, many of whom serve people with disabilities in their homes. The types of workers who could benefit from the new regulations would include home health aides, personal care aides, and certified nursing assistants, totaling nearly two million workers. While direct care workers in some states already receive these protections from state laws, the new regulations extend the protections across the country. The new rule does not impact workers who are employed by individuals or their families for companionship or other such services. To read more about the new rule and its implications, visit: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20131922.htm

     

    Sequester Hits Special Education Like a 'Ton of Bricks'

    The effect of the federal sequestration on special education has begun to be felt in some school districts around the country. Due to the way that most school budgets operate, they did not feel the impact of the sequester until the current school year. The sequestration meant that 5% of the funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was cut, this translated into an estimated loss of $579 in funding for school districts. The types of services and programs which the funding cuts affected range from speech and physical therapy services to resource rooms which provide students with extra help in a variety of areas such as math and organizational skills. To read more, visit: http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_24063118/sequester-hits-special-education-like-ton-bricks

     

    NCD Hosts Tactile Currency Forum in Honor of Rehab Act 40th Anniversary

    As part of its recognition of the 40th Anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the National Council on Disability recently hosted a forum on Tactile Currency. The forum, which was attended by representatives from the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Federal Reserve Board, and the U.S. Secret Service, featured discussions and presentations on the design, production, and distribution of tactile currency, as well as presentations that highlighted the best methods to implementing tactile currency in the United States. The significance of the efforts to spread tactile currency to the United States is highlighted by the growing numbers of people with visual disabilities present within the United States, whether due to the aging population or from recent combat engagements. To read more, visit: http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/09272013

     

    Denial of Job for an HIV Positive Man gets Fast Food Restaurant Sued

    A job applicant for a general management position filed suit against a Popeye's restaurant in Longview, TX because he was denied from being considered for a position due to being HIV positive. While interviewing for the position the applicant, who had previously been a fast food restaurant manager, disclosed that he left his prior position because he was HIV positive. He was then told that he could not work at the restaurant due to his condition, though HIV is not transmitted via contact with food. The lawsuit is part of an enforcement effort by the EEOC help to dispel some of the misconceptions about HIV that employers may have; in this case the misconceptions about HIV positive workers in the restaurant industry. To read more, visit: http://blog.beaumontenterprise.com/bayou/2013/09/17/denial-of-job-for-an-hiv-positive-man-gets-fast-food-restaurant-sued/

     

    Opportunities for You!


    "ADA Live!" Beyond Yellow Ribbons: Veterans with Disabilities Returning to Work

    Produced by the Southeast ADA Center, ADA Live! is a free monthly radio show, broadcasted nationally on the first Wednesday of each month on the internet.  Visit www.adalive.org to learn more and listen to archives if you miss one! The next live broadcast will be presented by Wendy Strobel Gower, director of the Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University on November 6th. this broadcast will focus on several key issues for returning veterans with disabilities to work. Since 2001, about 2.5 million men and women have served in the U.S. military. One-third of these service members served more than once. About half of all returning veterans have some level of service-connected disability. For many veterans, the transition to civilian life means learning to live with a disability. Today's "yellow ribbon" spirit has resulted in better services, protections and treatments for veterans with disabilities. However, many veterans, especially those with disabilities, still face significant barriers in their transition to civilian life.

    This internet radio broadcast will be held on November 6th from 1-1:30pm EST. To tune in, visit: http://www.adalive.org/episode2

     

    Innovative Research on Employer Practices: Improving Employment for People with Disabilities

    At this state of the science conference to be held on Oct. 22-23 in Washington, D.C. Cornell University researchers will present their findings on Employer Practices and their Role in Increasing the Rate and Quality of Employment for People with Disabilities, and discuss critical issues such as institutional barriers to employment, with commentary from public and private sector stakeholders. Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will be the keynote speaker on Day 1. To register, visit: http://www.epstateofthescience.org/

     

    1st Annual Symposium on Emergency Planning With People with Disabilities

    The events of Hurricane Sandy highlighted the importance of emergency planning for people with disabilities. For people with disabilities and their families, this event will provide valuable information on how to plan for disasters given individuals particular needs and what to do when emergency situations occur. The event will include a keynote speech from Marcie Roth, who is the director of FEMA's Office of Disability Integration and Coordination, as well as feature presentations from other emergency planners. This event will be held on Tuesday, October 29th from 8am - 11am at The Lighthouse, 111 E 59th St, New York NY 10022. For more information contact, Jennifer Santiago at 718-515-2800 ext. 111 or jennifer@bils.org

     

    The 50+ Workforce: High Potentials You Might Be Overlooking

    One in five American workers is age 55 or older. Almost half of the American workforce will be 45 or older in the next decade.  Do employers fully realize the roles highly experienced workers can play and the value they can provide? Are 50+ workers prepared to extend their careers another decade or two? This free webcast explores what employers should know about a group that has been called the largest trained pool of future employees, and sheds light on challenges and opportunities faced by mature workers.

     

    Panelists:

    • Susanne Bruyère, ILR School associate dean, director of the Employment and Disability Institute, and professor of Disability Studies, will share recent research, including findings of an employer survey focused on mature workers;
    • Linda Barrington, executive director of ILR's Institute for Compensation Studies, studies employment and pay issues, and will offer perspectives on implications for maturing workers;
    • Emily Allen, vice president of impact programs-income, AARP Foundation, will talk about strategies to effectively engage the 50+ workforce as a solution to worker and skill shortages.

     

    This webcast will be held on Friday, October 18th from 12pm - 1pm. To register, visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/events/Webcast-Registration.html

     

    New York Disability Vote Network

    The New York Disability Vote Network (NYDVN) is currently soliciting voter information for a voting initiative targeted towards people with disabilities. The NYDVN hopes to mobilize people with disabilities in New York State in order to be able to enact positive changes for disability related issues at the state level.  Members of the Network will receive information that can help to inform them as they go to the ballot box.  For more information and to join the Network, contact Jessica Thurber at jthurber@cdrnys.org

     

    The Tenth Annual Voices That Count Conference in U.S. Virgin Islands

    The Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VIUCEDD) will be hosting the 10th annual Voices That Count Conference entitled "Promoting Inclusion, Dignity and Equality," with sessions in late October on St. Thomas and St. Croix. The conference will allow people with disabilities as well as their families the opportunity to interact with elected official and members of government agencies in order to discuss issues affecting people with disabilities and their families on the Virgin Islands. The events should help to better inform elected officials and government agencies in order to facilitate change for people with disabilities and their families. The conference will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the UVI Administration and Conference Center on St. Thomas. The St. Croix session will follow on Thursday, Oct. 31, in the Great Hall on UVI's Albert A. Sheen Campus. Both sessions will run from 8:30am - 3:30pm. To register online visit: http://events.viucedd.org

     

    Special Spotlight:  National Disability Employment Awareness Month

     

    October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

    The goal of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is to help highlight the contributions of Americans with disabilities to the American workforce. The theme for this year's month is "Because We Are EQUAL to the Task." The Office of Disability and Employment Policy encourages people and organizations all across the country to participate in the month, and help to make America and the workforce more inclusive of persons with disabilities. The following links provide more information on NDEAM and ways that people can get involved throughout the month.

     

    National Disability Employment Awareness Month

    http://www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org/blog/index.php/ndeam/

     

    US Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy announces theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month October 2013

    http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/odep/ODEP20131020.htm

     

    Presidential Proclamation -- National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2013

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/09/30/presidential-proclamation-national-disability-employment-awareness-month

     

    Southwest Airlines Recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness Month http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/southwest-airlines-recognizes-national-disability-employment-awareness-month-226343681.html

     

     


  • What's New from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Register for our Next Webinars: Accessibility Update: Difficult 2010 ADA Standards Technical Requirements

    The Northeast ADA Center is teaming up with United Spinal Association's Accessibility Services program to host a free Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) training webinar on the "trickier" 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design technical requirements. Since both United Spinal Association and the Northeast ADA Center provide technical assistance to the public on these technical requirements, we are providing a webinar devoted exclusively to addressing your burning ADA accessibility questions. To make sure we address your questions in the webinar, please email your questions to jperry@accessibility-services.com by 8/24/13. In the subject line, please indicate "webinar question." The webinar will be held from September 19th from 2-3:30 PM EST. To register for the webinar, visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4415

    Webinar: Intersections and Crossroads: ADA and territorial laws and policies in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

    This webinar will provide an overview of ADA and how it specifically applies to the US territories of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Additionally, it will provide an overview of recent case law developments in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The information should be useful to practitioners as well as people with disabilities. The webinar will be held on September 26th from 1-1:45 PM.

    To register for the webinar, visit: http://northeastada.org/register/webinar-registration-2013.cfm

    What's New in Our Region:

    New York State Lags on Firing Workers Who Abuse Patients with Disabilities

    An investigation conducted by the New York Times has found that New York State does not do a good job of terminating employees who are found guilty of abusing workers with mental or developmental disabilities. After internal investigations to allegations of abuse by employees who cared for people with mental or developmental disabilities, the State makes a determination about whether a worker should be fired. However, before an employee can actually be fired, the matter is usually taken before an arbitrator by the public sector unions, which represent these state employees.   The investigation by the New York Times, found that the rates of termination of these employees who are found guilty through internal investigations, has remained unchanged, at about 25% since 2011. This comes after Governor Cuomo promised reforms on the issue. State officials explanation for the low rate of termination is the wide discretion that arbitrators are afforded in deciding whether to uphold or lessen punishments prescribed to employees. To read more, visit, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/09/nyregion/state-lagging-on-dismissals-in-abuse-cases.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&smid=tw-share&

    Bronx KFC Turns Away Iraq War Vet over Service Dog: Lawsuit

    A veteran who uses a service dog to assist him with his balance and the symptoms of his post-traumatic stress disorder was recently denied service from a KFC franchise in New York City. Upon being told that he could not bring the dog into the establishment, the veteran attempted to invoke his rights under the Americans with Disabilities, but that did not sway the KFC employee. The same veteran was also subjected to discriminatory treatment at a McDonald's in 2011, which he also filed a suit against. To read more, visit: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/kfc-turns-iraq-war-vet-service-dog-lawsuit-article-1.1432999

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    College Student with Disability Files Lawsuit against National Air and Space Museum

    A college student with a disability has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the National Air and Space Museum for denying him access to the use of a flight simulator. When the student who has a vascular condition which led to one of his legs being amputated, attempted to use a flight simulator by having his brother lift him up the stairs into the machine, an employee of the museum told them that he could not use the machine unless he could walk up the stairs by himself.  The lawsuit seeks to change the policies of the museum to better accommodate individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the lawsuit seeks for staff of the museum to be provided with training on providing accommodations, as well as damages for emotional distress. To read more, visit:  http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-15/entertainment/41412212_1_max-s-space-museum-simulators

    A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities - Interview with Gov. Jack Markell

    The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) recently conducted an interview with Jack Markell, the current Governor of Delaware, about his year long term as Chair of the National Governors Association and his chair initiative, "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities." The National Governor's Association also recently released a report, Blueprint for Governors, based on the findings of the initiative. The report outlines a variety of steps that states can take in their efforts to increase the employment of people with disabilities. In the interview, Governor Markell discusses why he feels that the initiative is important as well as discusses some of the key findings of the report.

    To read more, visit: http://askearn.org/exchange/a-better-bottom-line-employing-people-with-disabilities-interview-with-gov-jack-markell/

    DMEC and Cornell Study Shows Employer Concern about Aging Workforce

    A recent study conducted by the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) and Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute, has found that the aging workforce is an area of mounting concern to employers. The report is based on the study, "Absence and Disability Management Practices for an Aging Workforce," and examines the aging workforce from the perspective of disability management professionals. The study included a survey that was completed by over 500 employers and over 250 disability management service suppliers, which was also followed by interviews with select respondents.  To read more, visit: http://www.airsetpublic.com/files/2013_AgingWorkforceWhPap.pdf?i=YjPnIFvBMFIQHrLUoHCIABLY

    Invisible Casualties: The Struggle Against Military Suicides

    The Huffington Post has launched a new series titled "Invisible Casualties" which focuses on suicide prevention efforts within the military. The series contain stories of veterans who have either attempted or contemplated suicide in the aftermath of their military service, hoping to raise awareness about this important issue. Additionally, there are stories about strategies and resources that can be utilized by veterans who are facing mental health issues. To read more, visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/09/vet-suicide_n_3859738.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

    Opportunities for You!

    The Section 503 Final Rule - Public DOL Teleconference

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will be hosting a webinar on the recently announced new rules for federal contractors regarding hiring people with disabilities under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The new rule changes the affirmative action obligations and responsibilities of federal contractors in several ways. A couple examples include, setting a 7% utilization goal for individuals with disabilities, and by requiring new data collection pertaining to applicants and hires, along with a number of other requirements.  This webinar should provide invaluable information to federal contractors about their new Section 503 requirements and the steps that can be taken to meet them. The webinar will be held on September 18th from 2-4pm EST.

    To register, visit: http://www.leadcenter.org/calendar/section-503-final-rule-public-dol-teleconference-0

    Emergency Management and Preparedness-Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities Webinar Series

    This presentation will discuss the access and functional needs issues that must be considered by individuals, jurisdictions, emergency managers, and transportation planners in planning evacuation and transportation in emergencies. Gap analysis tools will be shared and a review of resources provided. The webinar will be held on September 26th from 2-3:30pm EST. Questions regarding the content of this program should be directed to Lewis Kraus at deputy@adapacific.org

    Questions regarding the technology used for this program should be directed to info@adaconferences.org or by calling 877-232-1990 (V/TTY)

    Registration for this free on-line webinar at http://www.adaconferences.org/Emergency

    US Business Leadership Network's (USBLN) 16th Annual Conference & Expo: Lights, Camera, Access: Spotlight on Disability Inclusive Diversity

    The USBLN Conference will bring together many business leaders and specialists on issues related to people with disabilities to discuss and learn about how people with disabilities can be better included in the workplace, supply chain and the marketplace. A few of the many issues which will be addressed in the conference will be how to accommodate employees with chemical sensitivities in the workplace as well as practical tools for accommodating mental health issues in the workplace. In addition to accommodation issues, the conference will provide business representatives with valuable information on how to tap into the community of people with disabilities such as businesses owned by people with disabilities to increase the diversity of their supply or expand the consumer base for their products. The conference will be held from September 30th to October 3rd in Los Angeles, California.

    For more information and to register for the conference, visit: http://usblnannualconference.org

    State Education Department Seeking Nominations for Membership

    The State Education Department (SED) is seeking nominations for membership on the Adult Career and Continuing Education Services - Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES­VR) State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) established pursuant to the federal Rehabilitation Act (Title IV of the Workforce Investment Act). The SRC works in partnership with ACCES­VR to advance the quality of vocational rehabilitation and employment services for New Yorkers with disabilities.

    SED is recruiting for highly qualified individuals with and without disabilities who are representatives of the following constituency groups:

    • Former recipient of ACCES-VR services
    • Representatives of disability advocacy groups
    • Representatives of community rehabilitation service providers
    • Representatives of business
    • Representatives of NYSED/Federal funded Parent Centers

    Interested candidates should submit a resume by September 30, 2013 by email to Michael Peluso, SRC Liaison, mpeluso@mail.nysed.gov or via fax (518) 474-5190. Additional information on the Council may be obtained by visiting: http://www.acces.nysed.gov/vr/src/home.html, or you may contact ACCES-VR for more information.

    EARN Announces National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Webinars

    In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) will be hosting weekly webinars in October on a range of topics related to people with disabilities in the workplace. The 30-minute webinars will be held at 2 p.m. EST each Thursday in October. The topics and date of each webinar is listed below.

    • Oct. 3: Employers Can't Afford to Ignore Mental Health
    • Oct. 10: Disability Disclosure and Self-identification: Benefits, Barriers, and Implementable Solutions
    • Oct. 17: Proactive Compliance Strategies for Federal Contractors
    • Oct. 24: Home Again and Back to Work: The Employment of Veterans with Disabilities

    To register, visit: http://askearn.org/ndeam_registration.cfm

    Special Spotlight: Spotlight: New Section 503 Regulations for Federal Contractors

    The U.S. Department of Labor has recently announced new rules for federal contractors regarding the hiring of people with disabilities. The recently announced rules will require that federal contractors set a goal of either having 7% of their job groups be composed of people with disabilities or having 7% of their workforce be composed of people with disabilities, if they have less than 100 employees. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs hosting webinars, listed above in Opportunities for You! to familiarize stakeholders about the new requirements and the steps that they need to take to comply with them. The following links will provide more information and background on the new rule and its implications for federal contractors as well as for people with disabilities.

    US Labor Department announces final rules to improve employment of veterans, people with disabilities

    http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20131578.htm  

    Labor Rules to Boost Employment for Vets, People with Disabilities

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/labor-rules-boost-employment-vets-disabled-20087267  

    Harkin: Labor Department Rule Sets Critical Goal for Disability Employment

    http://www.help.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=7401e16e-5b0f-4676-b754-9ee4f7dc78a9&groups=Chair

    Statement on Dept. of Labor Rule Change for Federal Contractors to Hire People with Disabilities

    http://www.nod.org/news/nod_s_statement_on_dept._of_labor_rule_change_for_federal_contractors_to_hi/   

     



  • What's New from the Northeast ADA Center:

    Northeast ADA Center Prepares to Launch New Website

    The Northeast ADA Center (NEADA) is in the process of revamping its website (www.northeastada.org). Over the past several months we have engaged in research efforts to determine how to improve the layout, usability and functionality of our website so our constituents can better benefit from the NEADA Center's resources and information. We plan to launch a new look and feel to the website on September 30th, but full development and completion of the revamp will take several more months. Therefore there will be some changes to the website's layout and features, which may take some getting used to.  As we go through this transition, we will always do our best to make sure the information you are used to seeing/finding remains available to you. Thank you in advance for your patience and we look forward to hearing your feedback about the new www.northeastada.org!

     

    Register Now for our Free 2013 Webinars!

    The Northeast ADA Center will be offering free monthly webinars on a variety of topics, including but not limited to worksite wellness and disability, disability disclosure in the workplace, and the intersections of territory laws and the ADA. Upcoming webinars include "Disability Disclosure in the Workplace: Recent Research on Current Practices & Challenges" on August 29th, and "New Regulations: Intersections and Crossroads: ADA and territorial laws and policies in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico" held on September 26th. To register, visit http://northeastada.org/register/webinar-registration-2013.cfm

     

    Submit Your Difficult Accessibility Questions to be Included in our Webinar this September - "Accessibility Update:  Difficult 2010 ADA Standards Technical Requirements"

    On September 19 from 2pm - 3:30pm, The Northeast ADA Center is teaming up with United Spinal Association's Accessibility Services program to host a free Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) training webinar on the "trickier" 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design technical requirements. As both United Spinal Association and the Northeast ADA Center provide technical assistance to the public on these technical requirements, we are providing a webinar devoted exclusively to addressing your burning ADA accessibility questions. To make sure we address your questions in the webinar, please email your questions to jperry@accessibility-services.com by 8/24/13. In the subject line, please indicate "webinar question."       

     

    What's New in Our Region:

     

    New Government Agency for People with Special Needs Unveiled

    The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs manifested from legislation Governor Cuomo led last year to improve how New York State provides for people with special needs. Governor Cuomo was quoted asserting that, "The Justice Center will be dedicated to implementing the strongest protections in the nation for over one million New Yorkers with special needs." One important aspect of the Justice Center will be its statewide hotline and incidence reporting system which will include a staff of more than 70 trained professionals receiving claims of abuse and neglect 24 hours a day. To read more, visit http://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/sites/default/files/documents/NewsRelease-GovCuomoOpensJC-6-30-13.pdf

     

    New Code of Conduct Introduced to Service Providers

    Custodians of New York state agencies who work with people with special needs must now sign a new Code of Conduct. The new Code of Conduct explains the type of behavior and principles expected from the service providers and offers advice and direction to assist them as they serve people with special needs. The code was implemented as a feature of the Protection of People with Special Needs Act, which also established the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. For more information, visit http://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/sites/default/files/documents/CodeOfConductForm-002.pdf

     

    Settlement Reached between Justice Department and Erie County, New York

    Erie County, New York was accused of discriminating against an employee with a disability. The Justice Department claimed that the county was in violation of the Americans with Disability Act when they would not promote a maintenance worker with monocular vision due to his lack of a commercial driver's license. The department found that the employee was in fact capable of completing all the necessary job duties that accompanied the promotion. Another discovery from the investigation was that there were other employees without a commercial driver's license who had been promoted to the position. For more information, visit http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/law-and-order/federal-and-international/44204-justice-department-settles-lawsuit-against-erie-county-n-y-over-disability-discrimination.html

     

    New Interpreter Course Offered to Open the Lines of Communication between the Deaf Community and Medical Field

    The Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf will be hosting a course for 15 interpreters from 12 states on health care interpreting. The 15 interpreters selected were chosen out of a pool of 55 individuals. The course begins in Rochester, where the participants are introduced to the initial week of the course, after which they return home and complete the coursework online. This program intends to help its participants strengthen the communication between the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities and medical providers. For more information, visit http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2013/07/12/course-at-national-technical-institute-for-deaf-seeks-to-bridge-medical-divide/2512519/

     

    Agreement Reached between Town of Poestenkill, New York and Justice Department to Improve Accessibility for People with Disabilities

    The Justice Department conducted an investigation after a complaint was filed against the Town of Poestenkill, which was accused of violating regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After the investigation was completed, an agreement was established under Project Civic Access, which is a Justice Department initiative to assure that cities, towns, and counties throughout the country are in accordance with the ADA. To read more, visit http://www.ada.gov/poestenkill-pca/poestenkill-sa.htm

     

    Resort Hotel Association Holds Hospitality Conference; ADA Compliance is a Topic of Interest 

    A presentation was given about ADA compliance in the hotel industry at an annual conference held by the Resort Hotel Association. Topics discussed were website accessibility, food allergies, room reservations, and other facets of what hoteliers and hospitality professionals face. To read more about the speech, visit http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=922c452c-070b-4d3d-abb1-345df4b1867b

     

    Agreement Reached to Ensure that Adult Home Residents with Mental Illness have the Option to Live Unsegregated in the Community

    An agreement between the Justice Department, U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, and adult home residents, who filed a complaint in regards to lack of other housing opportunities besides adult homes, was reached. The new settlement has established that residents with mental illness in adult homes will now be offered supported housing, which includes apartments throughout the community with residential support and services. The services provide aid in the process of community participation and help to develop independence for the former adult home residents. To read more, visit http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/July/13-crt-830.html

     

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

     

    Joint Technical Assistance on Title II of the ADA Issued Regarding Curb Ramps

    Technical Assistance guidance has been issued on requirements to provide curb ramps when streets, roads, or highways are altered through resurfacing by the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation. This technical assistance document reaffirms current Title II of the ADA regulations and standards of providing curb ramps when public passageways are changed. The document also answers the questions posed by public entities in regards to what qualifies as an alteration to various roadways and whether they require a curb ramp. To read more, visit http://www.ada.gov/doj-fhwa-ta.htm

     

    The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Supports Tom Perez's Senate Confirmation for the Position of Labor Secretary

    The AAPD and other disability organizations' endorsements of Tom Perez were proven to be successful since he was confirmed for the position of Labor Secretary by the Senate. Perez has long been an ally of people with disabilities working towards ensuring greater opportunities and a more independent life. To find out more, visit http://www.aapd.com/resources/press-room/aapd-applauds-senate.html. 

     

    Investigation Shows Many States Not Making Strides toward Guaranteeing Independent Living

    A Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman, Tom Harken, has released a report showing that since the Americans with Disability Act's (ADA) inception and many states are not in accordance with the "integration mandate" of the ADA. The report showed an increasing number of Americans with disabilities restricted to nursing homes. The Committee's report does provide solutions under the ADA to allow people with disabilities to live independently. To read more about the report, visit http://www.help.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=909ecec1-4c87-4891-8314-7b35e5316a35&groups=Chair

     

    Claudia Gordon: New Disability Liaison to the White House

    Claudia Gordon, Esq. has replaced Kareem Dale and now serves as the White House's new Public Engagement Advisor for the Disability Community in the Office of Public Engagement. Gordon's previous experience includes working at the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security. She was the first deaf African American woman to become an attorney. For more information, visit http://www.aapd.com/resources/press-room/aapd-applauds-appointment-of.html

     

    The White House Commemorated the 23rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

    During the week of the 23rd anniversary of the ADA, President Obama, the White House, and various other federal Departments and entities held events to honor the champions of the disability community. The White House noted that strides have been made, but more still needs to be done.

    To read more, visit http://m.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/07/26/celebrating-23-years-americans-disabilities-act

     

    Opportunities for You!

     

    American Sign Language Class

    The Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Development Disabilities (VIUCEDD) will be offering a sign language class from September 9, 2013 to November 14, 2013. Beginner's Level I classes will be held Mondays and Wednesdays. Beginner's Level II classes will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays. In St. Thomas, the class will be from 5:30pm-7:15pm at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) in Room T114. In-person registration and payment is also available every Wednesday from 12:00pm-2:00pm at this location. In St. Croix, the class will be held from 5:30pm-7:15pm at the VIUCEDD Office, #1 Golden Grove (Located across from the Spice Grill). In-person registration and payment for this location is available Monday thru Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm. The cost of the course is $150.00 and to register online, visit asl.viucedd.org. For more information, contact 340-776-9200 ext. 2334 (STT) or 340-692-4266 (STX).

     

    The Citizen-Centered Leadership Development Community of Practice (CCLD CoP) Course Offered

    On August 26th, a 15 week leadership course in the field of disability services will begin. The course will include online weekly sessions and recorded interviews with experts such as John O'Brien, Jack Pearpoint, and Connie Ferrell. The Citizen-Centered Leadership Resource and Learning Center at the Employment & Disability Institute at Cornell University is sponsoring this course. To register, visit http://www.cclds.org/email/marketing.html

     

    Disability Program Manager - Basics

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will be conducting live training courses entitled Disability Program Managers. The purpose of the training is to assist agency management to meet their, "affirmative employment responsibilities to ensure employment opportunities for persons with disabilities." This two day class will be held on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 and Wednesday, August 28, 2013 and will cover the responsibilities that accompany the Disability Program Manager position.

    For more information, visit https://www.efedlink.org/allqual/event-info.cfm?ID=321

     

    Cross-Agency Approaches to Advance the Use of Customized Employment and Self-Employment Strategies for Individuals with Disabilities

    The LEAD Center is sponsoring a webinar to discuss means of coordinating resources among systems to reinforce the application of "Discovery, Customized Employment, & Self-Employment." This webinar will be held Wednesday, August 28, 2013 from 3:00pm to 4:30pm EDT, for more information visit http://www.leadcenter.org/webinars/cross-agency-approaches-advance-use-customized-employment-and-self-employment-strategies-individuals-disabilities

     

    20th Annual Mid-Atlantic ADA Update Conference

    The Mid-Atlantic ADA will be holding its 20th annual ADA Update on September 18th &19th, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel. This year's keynote speaker on September 18th will be Kirk M. Bauer, JD, the Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA. Credit hours are available. Representatives from the United States Access Board, U.S. Department of Justice, and other entities will be present. To register, visit http://www.adainfo.org/Content/ADA-Update

     

    The Great Lakes ADA Center Archived webinars

    The Great Lakes ADA Center offers archives of past webinars, which can be found on their website.  Topics include the 2010 ADA standards for accessible design, ADA TA training, creating accessible temporary events, fair housing and transportation. To view archived webinars, visit: http://www.adaconferences.org/DBTAC/Archives/

     

    Special Spotlight: Changes to the Vocational Rehabilitation Act

     

    The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee has agreed to changes of the Workforce Investment Act's (WIA) Vocational Rehabilitation Act. Some potential changes will impact the employment and economic well-being of individuals with disabilities. The bill could have a substantial effect upon the entities of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Rehabilitation Services Administration, and programs by Independent Living Centers that if implemented, will be moving to different governmental Departments. To read more about potential impacts visit the links provided below:

     

    HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin's Statement on the Workforce Investment Act

    http://www.help.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=d0563719-16a7-45db-b502-235dc5a7d222&groups=Chair

     

    Bipartisan Support for the WIA Reauthorization

    http://www.help.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=ae086615-51a0-43a4-a9d2-18853a4dcb4a&groups=Chair

     

    Senate HELP Committee Approves Changes

    http://www.ancor.org/newsroom/news/senate-help-committee-approves-changes-wias-vocational-rehabilitation-act

     

    Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on WIA

    http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/newsletters/wash_insider_July_2013.html#

     

     


  • HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT!

    See our Special Spotlight for more!

    What's New from the Northeast ADA Center (NEADA):

    NEADA Center Seeks Pictures to Highlight Our Region!

    July is the month we celebrate our country's independence and the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a law which symbolizes the independence all people with disabilities want and deserve. The NEADA Center wishes to celebrate and profile the lives, independence, and empowerment of our constituents throughout New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We would like to invite you to email us pictures you have that illustrate living life as a person with a disability. They could be pictures taken in the workplace, community, recreational setting, or elsewhere. Pictures that show a person/people with disabilities living everyday life, participating in the community, or utilizing accessibility features found in our society. We hope to display these pictures through our website and/or social media efforts to highlight our great region and our community members!  Please email your pictures to northeastada@cornell.edu. Questions can be directed to Erin Sember-Chase, Project Coordinator, at ems65@cornell.edu or 1-800-949-4232.  

    Register Now for our Free 2013 Webinars!

    The NEADA Center will be offering free monthly webinars on a variety of topics. Upcoming webinars include "Disability as Diversity: Including America's Largest Diversity Population in Diversity Plan and Practice" on July 25th; "Disability Disclosure in the Workplace: Recent Research on Current Practices & Challenges" on August 29th; and "New Regulations: Intersections and Crossroads: ADA and territorial laws and policies in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico" held on September 26th. To register, visit http://northeastada.org/register/webinar-registration-2013.cfm

    What's New in Our Region:

    Announcing New EDI Social Insurance Twitter Account

    Follow the new twitter account EDI Social Insurance @EDI_RAC79 for daily information concerning return to work efforts and public benefits. Daily "blasts" will provide information concerning work incentives, benefits planning and other items of interest to individuals receiving public benefits and attempting to make informed choices concerning their return to work efforts and movement toward financial independence and stability.

    NYS Approves New Regulations for Graduating Students with Disabilities

    The New York State Board of Regents has passed new state regulations that will directly affect students with disabilities and their graduation. The new credential, which students will be able to earn upon graduation, is called the New York State Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential. This new credential will provide an assessment of skills and aptitude for post-school employment. For more information, visit
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/CDOScredential-memo-613.htm

    Department of Labor Awards NY Additional Grant for Help with Sandy Cleanup

    The Department of Labor has awarded New York with a National Emergency Supplemental grant in the amount of $23,314,255 to help with the continued cleanup and rebuilding post-Hurricane Sandy. The counties available for such assistance and other FEMA public assistance aid includes the Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Suffolk, Rockland, and Westchester. If you are interested in more information on the designated disaster areas in New York, visit http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4085/designated-areas or to read more, visit www.doleta.gov/NEG/

    What's New in the Rest of the Country:

    National Disability Employment Awareness Month Theme Announced

    Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for 2013 is "Because We Are EQUAL to the Task." For more information on the NDEAM, visit http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/     

    New Workplace Ergonomics Reference Guide

    The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program is offering a guide to give examples of appropriate workstation ergonomics and advice for employing these strategies. This guide will be helpful for business practices by improving the work of employees and ensuring their safety while operating in the office. Access this guide at:  http://www.cap.mil/Documents/CAP_Ergo_Guide.pdf

    Poor Conditions in Transition Program Found through Federal Investigation

    After an investigation was conducted by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, it was found that students with developmental disabilities were being paid little to nothing for assignments as part of a vocational program's sheltered workshop.  The students worked in a sheltered workshop while enrolled in a vocational program at Mount Pleasant High School located in Rhode Island. The investigation uncovered that the sheltered workshop segregated these students without need; additionally, the organization did not properly document the students' work nor the pay they were due. A settlement was reached in which the students will now be given employment support to find productive employment. The sheltered workshop has been closed since the investigation. To read more, visit http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/06/13/feds-transition-sweatshop/18152/

    Accessible Guidelines for Passenger Vessels Released to Public for Comments

    Public comments on the new accessible guidelines for recently constructed or improved passenger vessels are due September 23rd. In accordance with the ADA, these new regulations offer a standard for design to provide access to people with disabilities. The U.S. Access Board was responsible for this proposal and once these guidelines are finalized they will be adopted into their ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities. The Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice will also use these new regulations to establish requirements. For more information on how to submit comments, visit http://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/transportation/passenger-vessels/proposed-accessibility-guidelines/1381-preamble

    The Just Treatment of Students with Hepatitis B

    The Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Education recently sent a joint letter to schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and other health related schools advising them against discrimination of students with Hepatitis B in their programs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put forward new recommendations for these programs after recognizing the discriminatory treatment of these students. The joint letter urged health related schools to follow recommendations accordingly. To read more, visit http://www.ada.gov/hepatitis-b-letter.htm  or http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/departments-justice-education-and-health-and-human-services-issue-letter-health-

    Need for Accessible Technology in Higher Education

    New technological advancements are presenting barriers for students with disabilities, especially individuals with visual impairments. Disability rights advocates and book publishers are working together to urge the government to establish a national protocol for accessibility in higher-level education. The lack of a clear standard has led to the use of inaccessible materials leaving students with disabilities at a disadvantage, in turn, violating the ADA. To read more, visit http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/06/14/disability-rights-advocates-and-publishers-push-national-standards-ed-tech-materials

    Opportunities for You!

    NYS Office of Emergency Management Human Services Stakeholder Meetings

    These summits are intended to provide information on emergency response and facilitate participation and feedback from all attendees, in regards to individuals with disabilities. The Stakeholder meeting will include food and beverages and will be held from 8:30am-3:00pm. The agenda includes a focus on topics of mass care (i.e. shelter, feeding, access and functional needs, and pets), disaster recovery centers, and recovery. Upcoming summits dates and locations include:

    July 24th in Batavia located at the Clarion Hotel, 8250 Park Rd, Batavia 14020

    July 25th in Syracuse located at the Double Tree Hotel, 6301 Rte 298 East Syracuse 13057. To register, visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BKFGMGK

    Webinar on Accessible Information and Communication Technology Policy

    The session will give insight on the U.S. policy relating to accessible information and communication technology (ICT). The presentation will focus on the current laws, regulations and policies regarding ICT. This webinar will be held Thursday, July 25th from 2:00pm to 3:30pm EST. For more information, visit http://adata.org/event/accessible-technology-webinar-series-update-accessible-information-and-communication

    Accessibility Online Webinar Series: Accessible Transportation Facilities

    This webinar will offer a look at the standards for accessibility in transportation facilities as covered by the ADA and how they are implemented by the Department of Transportation. An emphasis will be given to specific facilities such as fixed guideway stations and bus shelters. This webinar will be held Thursday, August 1st  from 2:30pm to 4:00pm EST. For more information, visit http://adata.org/event/accessibility-online-webinar-series-accessible-transportation-facilities

    Audio Conference Series on Athletic Opportunities for Students with Disabilities: Focus on Colleges and Universities

    This session will offer tactics to improve the integration of students with disabilities into athletic programs at colleges and universities. Additionally, methods for creating more inclusive and accessible programs will be discussed.

    This webinar will be held Tuesday, August 20th from 2:00pm to 3:30pm EST, for more information, visit http://www.adainfo.org/Content/Athletic-Opportunities-for-Students-with-Disabilities

    Special Spotlight: The 2013 ADA Anniversary

    July 26th marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and provides us with an opportunity to celebrate and recognize this law that has provided momentous gains in the lives of people with disabilities toward ensuring their civil rights are protected. This year marks 23 years of the ADA from its passage. The following links provide some opportunities and resources to join in on the celebration and learn about the progress that has been made thus far!

    American Association of People with Disabilities Annual ADA Celebration

    http://power.aapd.com/site/Calendar?id=100141&view=Detail

    Free Audio-Conference on the ADA Anniversary Update: 23 Years Later

    http://www.adacourse.org/events.php?eventid=772

    Honoring the Legacies of Olmstead and Justin Dart

    http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/06212013

    National Museum of American History Launches History of Disability Online Exhibition

    http://www.newswise.com/articles/national-museum-of-american-history-launches-history-of-disability-online-exhibition 

    Family Friendly ADA Anniversary Celebration

    http://www.wwnytv.com/community/calendar-of-events/210615141.html

    National Council on Disability: Policy Briefing and ADA Anniversary Event

    http://www.ncd.gov/events/OtherEvents/07232013/

    ADA Anniversary Toolkit

    http://adaanniversary.org/