Newsletter: December 19, 2011

Northeast ADA Center Dec. 19, 2011 News Bulletin

Northeast ADA Center December 19, 2011 Double Edition News Bulletin


What's New in Our Region:

Northeast ADA Center Announces Holiday Closings:
Please note that the Northeast ADA Center will be closed Saturday December 24, 2011-Tuesday January 3, 2012 for the winter holiday observances.  The Technical Assistance toll free phone line 1.800.949.4232 will be operating on a limited basis from Thursday December 29th-Friday December 30th.  The Northeast ADA Center email (northeastada@cornell.edu) and Northeast ADA Center staff located at Cornell University will not be available between December 24, 2011 and January 3, 2012. We thank you in advance for your understanding. The Northeast ADA Center staff wishes all of you a peaceful and enjoyable holiday season!

El Centro de la ADA del Noreste Anuncia Cierre Durante las Festividades
Por favor tenga en cuenta que el Centro de la ADA del Noreste estará cerrado el sábado 24 de diciembre de 2011 hasta el martes 3 de enero de 2012 por los días festivos de invierno.  La línea telefónica libre de costo de Asistencia Técnica 1.800.949.4232, estará operando limitadamente entre el jueves 29 de diciembre y el viernes 30 de diciembre.  No obstante, el correo electrónico del Centro de la ADA del Noreste (northeastada@cornell.edu) y el personal del Centro de la ADA del Noreste ubicado en la Universidad de Cornell, no estará disponible entre el 24 de diciembre de 2011 y el 3 de enero de 2012.  Le agradecemos de antemano por su comprensión.  ¡El personal del Centro de la ADA del Noreste le desea a todos mucha paz y alegría en la temporada navideña!  

HUD Opens Affordable Housing in the U.S. Virgin Islands:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has opened the Louis E. Brown public housing development, the U.S. Virgin Islands Housing Authority's first affordable housing development in 20 years. This will provide housing, help kick start the local economy, and create hundreds of construction jobs. Read more:   http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2011/HUDNo.11-272    

New York (NY) Governor Cuomo Signs Autism Insurance Bill:
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a law mandating that health insurers provide insurance coverage for families with autistic children. The law, which will go into effect in about one year, will limit the expense that insurers have to cover at $45,000 per year. Find out more about the law and read releases here: http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/85444/autism-coverage-bill-is-law/

Lack of Accessible Cabs Doesn't Sit Well With Senator:
At a U.S. Senate hearing, Senator Tom Harkin indicated his concern about the recent decision in New York to select a cab that is not fully accessible to become the city's "taxi of tomorrow." He would like all new taxis to be fully accessible; while no specific legislation is pending, Harkin said he plans to have his staff look into rule changes that could improve transportation access for people with disabilities. Read more here: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/11/18/lack-accessible-cabs-senator/14480/

Cornell University Employment & Disability Institute Speaks to Ability Magazine:
In an interview with ABILITY magazine, Professor Susanne Bruyère, Associate Dean of Outreach at Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) School and director of Cornell's Employment and Disability Institute (EDI), discusses the challenges for disability employment in today's economy. Bruyère provides details of her projects at Cornell and the resources available to students, employers and advocates in the disability community. Read the Ability magazine article: http://abilitymagazine.com/cornell-disability.html


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Comment on Department of Transportation Proposed Regulations by Jan. 9th:
The DOT is proposing to require that many air travel websites, as well as automated airport check-in kiosks, be made accessible to people with disabilities. If you wish to comment on what the standards for web and kiosk accessibility should be, which websites and how many kiosks should be covered, and how long companies should have to make the changes, please do so by January 9, 2012 at: http://regulationroom.org/.

U.S. Access Board Seeks Public Comments on Two Key Issues:
The Access Board has reopened the comment period on its proposed guidelines for accessible public rights-of-way until February 2, 2012. Additionally, it has released for public comment a revised draft of updated accessibility requirements for information and communication technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act. Read more about these items, and others, in the Access Board's latest online newsletter at: http://www.access-board.gov/news/Access%20Currents/Nov-Dec11.htm

Department of Transportation (DOT) Marks 25 Years of Equal Air Access:
A recent posting by DOT Secretary Ray LaHood on his official blog focused on the 25th anniversary of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) which supports equal access by passengers with disabilities on airlines. Read Secretary LaHood's posting at: http://www.travelagentcentral.com/government-regulations/dot-marks-25-years-equal-access-travelers-32598

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to Launch Disability Hotline:
The TSA is preparing to launch a toll-free hotline for passengers with disabilities by January so that passengers with disabilities can call in advance if they need extra assistance during security screening. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/12/13/amid-complaints-tsa-hotline/14629/

DOL and DOJ Recognize World AIDS Day:
In celebration of World AIDS Day, Secretary of Labor Solis released a statement highlighting the Department of Labor's ongoing efforts in the global fight against HIV/AIDS: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/opa/OPA20111723.htm. Also, the Department of Justice has added new links to www.ada.gov/AIDS providing access to World AIDS Day blog postings: http://www.ada.gov/aids/index.htm

International Day of Persons with Disabilities:
December 3, 2011 was the 30th annual observation of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day established by the United Nations to promote a better understanding of disability issues worldwide. To read more, go to: http://www.aapd.com/resources/power-grid-blog/crpd.html

ODEP Shares Resources to Assist Veterans with Disabilities:
Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) participated in Operation Confidence's "United We Stand" event in Los Angeles last month to discuss ODEP's involvement in veterans' issues, the "America's Heroes at Work" program designed to help returning veterans in the workplace, and other resources available from ODEP. Read more at: http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/2011/20111123.htm#odep2

Listen Technologies Introduces New Assistive App for iPhone and iPad:
Listen Technologies announces a new app for mobile devices called the ADA Compliance Assistive Listening Calculator. This tool helps calculate facility requirements to meet the new 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. It includes an easy-to-use calculator, e-mail capability, helpful ADA information links, product assistance and a quote request button. The ADA Compliance Assistive Listening Calculator App is available as a free app at the iTunes App store.  Read more here: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/listen-technologies-introduces-new-app-for-iphone-and-ipad-134870423.html

Printing Company Settles Disability Discrimination Suit with EEOC:
The printing company Journal Disposition has agreed to settle a disability discrimination suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $55,000.  EEOC alleged Journal Disposition violated the ADA when it terminated an employee who had been diagnosed with cancer because he exhausted his time under its short-term disability insurance policy. The company failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for the employee, instead making him eligible for rehire once he was able to work full-time. Read more here: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/11-17-11a.cfm

AutoZone Pays for Failing to Accommodate Employee with Disability:  
AutoZone, Inc., a leading auto parts retailer, must pay $415,000 to a former sales manager, as well as $9,045 in litigation costs, for violating the ADA when it failed to accommodate the employee's disability. The employee, who has permanent back and neck impairments, was required to perform cleaning tasks that violated his medical restrictions and resulted in an injury and severe physical pain. Read more at: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/11-15-11.cfm

Comfort Suites to Pay $132,500 for Disability Discrimination:
Tarsadia Hotels, doing business as Comfort Suites, has settled a lawsuit in which the EEOC charged that a front desk clerk with autism at one of their San Diego hotels was denied a reasonable accommodation, disciplined and fired due to his disability. The clerk was fired after the company refused to allow the clerk to seek free job coach services for autism-specific trainings. Tarsadia will pay the claimant $125,000 and donate $7,500 to Partnerships with Industry, a non-profit organization that provides employment support to people with disabilities. Find out more at: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/11-7-11a.cfm

Company Agrees to Pay after Charged with Firing HIV-Positive Employee:
Maverik, Inc., a billion-dollar company operating gas station/convenience stores, will pay $115,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the EEOC which charged Maverik with violating the ADA by allegedly failing to accommodate and then firing a bakery clerk two weeks after learning the clerk was HIV-positive. Learn more about the case here: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/11-7-11.cfm

Latest News from Job Accommodation Network (JAN):
The JAN E-News is a quarterly online newsletter with the purpose of keeping readers informed about low-cost and innovative accommodation approaches. The latest edition features information on requesting medical documentation, leave as an accommodation, working with Alzheimer's Disease, fragrance sensitivity, and many other topics: http://askjan.org/ENews/2011/Enews-V9-I4.htm

Latest from the Department of Justice (DOJ):
A new issue of Disability Rights Online News, two issues of "Enforcing the ADA: A Status Report from the DOJ", recently posted letters of resolution, and five recent settlement agreements have all been added to the DOJ's ADA website: http://www.ada.gov/new.htm

Questions & Answers (Q&A) Document on Secondary Transition:
The Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs has issued a new Q & A document on secondary transition which includes updated guidance on identifying postsecondary goals in education, employment, training, and independent living. http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,dynamic,QaCorner,10,

National Disability Institute Supports Reintroduction of ABLE Act in Congress:
Congress reintroduced the Achieve a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, legislation designed to encourage and assist individuals with disabilities and their families to set funds aside in a tax-advantaged savings account. This account would allow the funds to be withdrawn to cover costs of health care, housing, transportation, the purchase of technology and education, and would supplement, benefits provided through Medicaid, Social Security and private insurance. Read more here: http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/News.aspx?id=300

Recent Disability Employment Statistics:
In November, the unemployment rate of people with disabilities was 13% compared to 8% of those without disabilities. This is down about two and a half percent from a year ago. To view the most recent statistics go to: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/DisabilityEmploymentStatistics.htm   

Employer Assistance & Resource Network (EARN) Webinars Now Archived: 
In October, EARN hosted four 30-minute webinars in celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. These webinars are now archived and available for viewing at: http://www.askearn.org/m-archive.cfm

Oregon Tested iPad as Aid to Voters with Disabilities on Election Day:
Eighty-nine people with disabilities marked their ballots on an iPad brought to their homes by election workers for a special primary election in five counties in Oregon. The ability to enlarge print and use touch screen to vote allows the iPad to make voting more accessible. Oregon intends to use them again for another election in January, and several other states are expected to use the iPad and other tablets for voting, possibly as early as for next year's presidential election.  Find out more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/17/us/oregon-tries-out-voting-by-ipad-for-disabled.html?_r=3  

Procter & Gamble Facility Opens its Doors to Employees with Disabilities:
In August, Procter & Gamble, inspired by a Walgreens distribution center where 40% of the workers have a disability, unveiled a new production center in Maine hiring many employees with disabilities. Besides other benefits, hiring employees with disabilities in Maine is a practical solution to the labor force decline created by retiring baby boomers. Read more about the P&G facility and about other Maine companies' experiences: http://www.mainebiz.biz/news48738.html

New ADA Van Rolls off Line:  
The first and only factory-built and assembled vehicle which meets the vehicle guidelines of the ADA is now being manufactured in Indiana. Named the MV-1, the van includes a 56-inch high by 36-inch wide side door opening with ramp. The Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program is supporting a green version of the MV-1 that will run on natural gas. Find out more and see pictures at: http://www.earthtechling.com/2011/10/ada-van-rolls-off-line-with-cng-option/

 

Opportunities for You!

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Federal Employer Winter Webcast Series:
Beginning January 4th, JAN will provide three free, 1.5 hour Webcast sessions focused on the needs and interests of federal employers. Topics include hiring people with disabilities, the interactive process, and best practices in the federal government. Learn more and register at: http://askjan.org/webcast/indexfed.htm

Webinar on Developing Relationships with Employers January 12th:
APSE, formerly known as the Association for Persons in Supported Employment, will present a webinar, "Developing Relationships with Employers- It's about asking for time, not jobs", on January 12th from 2:00-3:00pm EST. The cost is $50 for APSE members and $100 for all others. The webinar will provide information to people who work in supportive employment on how to prepare to meet and communication with employers, using business language, networking, and how to gain insights into employer needs and expectations. Register for the webinar at: http://www.apse.org/registration/webinar/index.cfm.

Accessibility & the ADA: Facility Standards Webinar Series:
In January and February, the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center is presenting a three-part webinar series on  "Accessibility and the ADA: Facility Standards Update" focusing on the new 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design which become mandatory for use March 15, 2012.  Webinar dates are January 31, February 7, and February 14 from 2:00-3:30pm EST. Cost is $50 for the full series and it is approved for LU/HSW credits. To learn more and register, go to: http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1037978

Register Now for the National ADA Symposium in March!
The National ADA Symposium, the most comprehensive conference available on the ADA, will be offered in two different locations in 2012. The first conference will be March 12-14th in Orlando, Florida. Registration is $400 and hotel room rates are $149/night. The second will be May 30-June 1 in Indianapolis, Indiana and registration is not live for that event yet. To learn more and to register for the March event, go to: http://www.adasymposium.org/OrlandoSymposium.html

Free Online Disability Rights Course:
The New England ADA Center is offering a free, self-paced web course available anytime that provides an overview of disability rights laws. The course takes about two hours to complete and participants will gain a general understanding of the major federal disability rights laws (ADA, Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Air Carrier Access Act), be able to assess what laws apply in different discrimination scenarios, and gain access to helpful resources. This course is available for CRCC credits and is ideally suited for people with disabilities, advocates, law students, rehabilitation counselors, social service providers, and anyone interested in disability rights laws. Learn more at: http://www.humancentereddesign.org/neada/disabilityrights/Welcome.html

 

Special Spotlight-  New Federal Employment Rule Proposed!

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) seeks to improve job opportunities for Americans with disabilities by setting a historic hiring goal for federal contractors and subcontractors. DOL is proposing a new rule that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a hiring goal of having seven percent of their workforces comprised of people with disabilities. "This proposed rule represents one of the most significant advances in protecting the civil rights of workers with disabilities since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "President Obama has demonstrated a commitment to people with disabilities. This proposed rule would help federal contractors better fulfill their legal responsibility to hire qualified workers with disabilities."  The department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs invites public comment on this proposal, which was published in the December 9 edition of the Federal Register. Read more below:

Press Release from DOL:

English: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20111614.htm

Spanish: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20111614s.htm

Proposed Rule:  http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-31371_PI.pdf

Fox News.com article: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/08/plan-to-boost-employment-for-disabled-workers/

The contents of this News Bulletin were developed under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133 A110020.  However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.