Newsletter: February 14, 2012

Northeast ADA Center February 14, 2012 News Bulletin

 

What’s New in Our Region:
 
Free Webinars on 2010 ADA Standards of Design and State Building Codes!
The Northeast ADA Center and United Spinal are presenting four free webinars in March, each specific to either New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, or U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), to share information about the 2010 ADA Standards of Design, which take effect March 15th, and how they differ from accessibility requirements found in state building code. The New York webinar is March 9th; New Jersey is March 16th; Puerto Rico (which will be offered in both English and Spanish) is March 23rd; and USVI is March 30th. Learn more and register for your free state/territory specific webinar at: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/dbtacnortheast/m-events.cfm?CurrentDate=03/09/12#Activity_3744
 
ODEP Addresses Aging Health Care Workforce at New Jersey (NJ) Event:
Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), held a one-day symposium in NJ to examine the challenges for the health care industry posed by an aging workforce. Martinez said that health care employers must re-think current employment policies and practices in order to retain older staff and create job opportunities for new employees. Read more here: http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/2012/20120126.htm#odep
 
NYS Seeks Input on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment:
The New York State Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services- Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) and the State Rehabilitation Council are developing the 2013 fiscal year State Plan for VR and Supported Employment Services. Public meetings will be held in February to gather recommendations on how ACCES-VR can improve their services as well as specific strategies that will enable VR participants to engage more fully in the process. Comments may also be submitted in writing or electronically February 15-March 16th. Learn more at: http://www.acces.nysed.gov/vr/adult_vocational_rehabilitation_services/state_plan/public_meetings.htm
 
What’s New in the Rest of the Country:
 
DOJ Technical Assistance Document on Accessible Pools:
March 15th marks the effective date for the 2010 ADA Standards of Design. The Department of Justice has released a new technical assistance document, “Accessible Pools- Means of Entry and Exit,”- which outlines more fully what Title II and Title III covered entities’ obligations are come March 15th. Access the document at: http://www.ada.gov/pools_2010.htm
 
EEOC Disability Discrimination Complaints Reaches All Time High:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it received a record 99,947 charges of employment discrimination and obtained $455.6 million in relief in Fiscal Year 2011. The agency’s enforcement of the ADA produced the highest increase in monetary relief among all of the statutes. The fiscal year 2011 data are available on the EEOC’s website. Find out more here: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/1-24-12a.cfm
 
Comments on Proposed Revisions to Section 503 Due February 21st:
On December 9th, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register to revise the regulations implementing the nondiscrimination and affirmative action regulations of section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The rule proposed by OFCCP would strengthen the affirmative action and reporting obligations of federal contractors by requiring them to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their employees be qualified workers with disabilities. The comment period has been extended until Tuesday, February 21st. To learn more about the Section 503 NPRM and how to submit comments, go to: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/503
 
January Disability Employment Statistics Released:
The first 2012 disability employment statistics have been released.  Labor force participation for people with disabilities was 20.0 percent, compared to 68.9 percent for people without disabilities, while the unemployment percentage rate for people with disabilities was 12.9, compared to 8.7 for people without disabilities. Read more at: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/DisabilityEmploymentStatistics.htm
 
Department of Education Provides Guidance on ADA Amendments Act:
The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights issued a Dear Colleague letter providing guidance on the requirements of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The letter, and frequently asked questions, discusses various obligations of school districts as well as the changes made by the ADAAA in elementary and secondary schools. Read more and access the Dear Colleague letter here:http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/department-education-issues-ada-amendments-act-dear-colleague-letter-provide-gui
 
Resources for Increasing Federal Disability Employment:
In a Memorandum for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry outlined resources for implementing Executive Order 13548 – Increasing the Federal Employment of People with Disabilities. These resources include: eFedLink.org, the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), and the Shared List of People with Disabilities, which is a free list of hundreds of candidates with disabilities eligible for hiring. Access the 3-page Memorandum here: http://www.dol.gov/odep/wrp/DOLOPM.pdf
 
AAPD Comments on Air Travel for People with Disabilities:
In January, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in support of DOT’s proposal to revise a new rule requiring that airline websites and airport kiosks be made accessible for people with disabilities. Read more and view the comments here: http://www.aapd.com/resources/power-grid-blog/increasing-accessibility-to.html
 
ODEP Renews Alliance with the Society for Human Resource Management:
Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), joined Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) President and CEO, Hank Jackson, to renew an alliance agreement first formalized in 2006. SHRM is the world's largest association devoted to human resource management. Martinez said that the alliance will serve to inform HR professionals about the skills of people with disabilities. Read more here: http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/2012/20120119.htm#odep
 
Report Says College Entrance Exam Administration Lack ADA Compliance:
According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, students with disabilities are not receiving appropriate ADA related accommodations on college entrance exams. Currently, the U.S. Department of Justice, which is responsible for enforcing ADA compliance in testing situations, considers complaints on an individual basis, an approach that the report found to be inadequate. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/01/03/college-exams-ada/14688/
 
Special Education Gets Federal Funding Boost:
Under a budget passed in late December, Congress approved an additional $100 million for special education, provided an extra $5 million for programs supporting young children with disabilities and increased funding for parent information centers and technical assistance. Like all education programs, however, special education was subject to an across the board cut of nearly 2 percent. School districts will receive their next round of funding, including the increases, this summer. Read more here: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/01/10/special-ed-funding-boost/14735/
 
Latest News from Job Accommodation Network (JAN):
JAN has released its latest electronic news bulletin and it includes topics such as return-to-work, chemical sensitivity and the workplace, ergonomics, and many others. Access all the news at: http://askjan.org/enews/2012/Enews-V10-I1.htm
 
Spirit Airlines Fined $100,000 over Passengers’ Disability Related Complaints:
The U.S. Department of Transportation fined Florida-based Spirit Airlines $100,000 for violating federal rules in failing to appropriately keep track of and respond to complaints about its treatment of passengers with disabilities. The federal Aviation Enforcement Office found that the carrier failed to adequately categorize and account for all disability-related complaints, and failed to adequately respond to a majority of the disability-related complaints it received in 2009 and 2010. Read more here: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-spirit-airlines-fine-20120127,0,597974.story
 
Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN) New ADAAA Training Module:
JAN has announced the second in a series of fully-accessible just-in-time training modules, entitled “Understanding and Applying the ADAAA and Its Regulations”. This 43 minute training module and accompanying transcript and handout provides an overview of the changes made to the definition of disability, a summary of the guidance provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's regulations, and practical ideas for applying the new definition in the workplace. This module can be used to train hiring managers, HR, supervisors, and managers. The module and supporting documents can be found in JAN’s Multimedia Training Library at: http://AskJAN.org/training/library.htm

Supreme Court Declines to Hear IDEA Case Appealed by School District:
The U.S. Supreme Court declined a school district’s appeal to consider a special education case that raised questions about whether or not school districts should be liable if they fail to identify a child’s special needs. The case was initiated in 2004 by a California mother who sued her local school district for failing to identify her daughter’s disabilities and continuing to promote her to the next grade even as teachers reported unusual behavior in the student. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/01/10/supreme-court-declines-idea/14747/
 
EEOC Questions Necessity of High School Degree as Employment Requirement‎:
In an informal letter posted on its website, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said that employers who require job applicants to have a high school diploma may be violating the ADA. This degree requirement denies job opportunities for people with learning disabilities whose disabilities caused them to perform inadequately on the end-of-course assessment. Read more at: http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20111206/NEWS07/111209935?tags=%7C309%7C70%7C303
 
FCC Supports Wider Broadband Adoption:
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to create a new public fund to support broadband rollout and subsidize service for low income and Americans with disabilities. The FCC plans to bring broadband to more than 600,000 Americans, including those in un-served areas. Read more, including statements from Commissioners, here: http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-releases-connect-america-fund-order-reforms-usficc-broadband
 
Opportunities for You!
 
Register Now for the 2012 National ADA Symposium!
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 and the second will be May 30-June 1st in Indianapolis, Indiana. Registration is $400. Learn more and register at: www.adasymposium.org
 
Free Accessible Technology Bi-Monthly Webinar Series Begins Feb. 14th:
The Great Lakes and Pacific ADA Centers on behalf of the ADA National Network are pleased to announce the 2012 Accessible Technology Webinar Series beginning February 14th. Electronic information and communications technology have become essential tools in all areas of our lives and working environments today, and are particularly important to people with disabilities by providing equal access to the workplace and social media. The 2012 webinar series will explore some of the latest technological trends and their accessibility to people with disabilities. All sessions are free and will be held 2:00-3:30pm EST utilizing the ElluminateLive! webinar platform. For a complete list of topics and to register, go to: http://www.ada-audio.org/Webinar/AccessibleTechnology/Schedule/

 

Special Spotlight-  Airport Travel Hotline for People with Disabilities:
 
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently announced the launch of TSA Cares, a toll-free helpline (1-855-787-2227) to answer questions travelers with disabilities and medical conditions may have before arriving at the airport, such as about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 9:00a.m. – 9:00p.m. EST, excluding federal holidays. After hours, travelers can find information about traveling with disabilities and medical needs on TSA’s website (www.tsa.gov). All travelers can contact TSA using Talk To TSA, a web-based tool that allows passengers to reach out to an airport Customer Service Manager directly, and the TSA Contact Center, 1-866-289-9673 and TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov, where travelers can ask questions, provide suggestions and file complaints. Travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov. Read more at: http://www.tsa.gov/press/releases/2011/1222.shtm and http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/disabilityandmedicalneeds/tsa_cares.shtm
 
 
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.