Newsletter: February 28, 2012

Northeast ADA Center Feb. 28, 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

ADA Overview Training in Río Grande, Puerto Rico:
On March 19, 2012 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM, at the office of Rio Grande of our affiliate in Puerto Rico, the Movement for Achieving Independent Living (MAVI by its Spanish initials), a general training will be held on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended.  It will be free of charge and open to the public. The speaker will be Attorney Yessica M. Guardiola-Marrero, ADA Technical Assistance Specialist. For more information and registration, call: (787) 809-7001 or (787) 758-7901 extension 1021.

Trends in EEOC ADAAA Cases:
Judy Young, of the Employment and Disability Institute at Cornell University, spoke with the Bloomberg blog about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's enforcement of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), which took effect in 2009 and expanded the definition of disability. Young, who recently spent time examining and analyzing EEOC's pending docket and resolved ADAAA cases, identifies trends such as the increase in cases involving non-visible disabilities and the use of leave as a reasonable accommodation. To read the rest of the interview, go to: http://www.bna.com/qa-taking-pulse-b12884907527/

ODEP Meets Disability Employment Leaders at NJ Kessler Foundation:
Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy, Kathleen Martinez, recently visited the Kessler Foundation headquarters in New Jersey to learn about various employment initiatives supported by the organization and discuss related policy issues with disability employment leaders. Read more at: http://kesslerfoundation.org/media/displaypressrelease.php?id=207

Broadway Adds More Autism-Friendly Shows:
Partnering with the Theatre Development Fund, a nonprofit that promotes theater accessibility, Broadway will show an autism-friendly performance of "Mary Poppins" on April 29th and "The Lion King" on September 30th. The sensory-friendly shows, aim to meet the needs of people with autism by minimizing surprising sounds and the use of strobe lights or other stimuli that can be alarming to individuals with autism. To read more about Broadway's efforts, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/02/08/broadway-more-autism-friendly/14942/

What's New in the Rest of the Country:  

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Offers Assistance for People with Disabilities:
With tax season in full swing, the IRS is reminding people about the availability of accessible forms and about free tax return help that may be available for people who are unable to complete their tax returns because of a disability. Visit the IRS's Accessibility webpage, and find a tax assistance facility near you, at: http://www.irs.gov/accessibility/index.html?portlet=113

Comment on Proposed Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment by June:
The U.S. Access Board has released for public comment accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment. These standards address access for people with disabilities to examination tables and chairs, weight scales, and equipment for diagnostic purposes. The Board seeks feedback on the substance of specific provisions, their impacts on equipment design, and other topics. The deadline for comments is June 8th. Read more at: http://www.access-board.gov/mde/nprm.htm

2013 Federal Budget Aims to Expand Opportunities for People with Disabilities:
The Office of Management and Budget has released information on Obama's proposed plans for funding programs and initiatives that will positively impact people with disabilities. Plans include, among other things, increasing funding for education of children with disabilities, improving employment outcomes for persons with disabilities, reducing Social Security appeals backlog, supporting disability research, and strengthening anti-discrimination enforcement. Read the details at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/factsheet/expanding-opportunities-for-people-with-disabilities

Class Action Suit Against Sheltered Workshops:
The Oregon chapter of the Cerebral Palsy Association and eight individuals with disabilities filed a class-action case in federal court, claiming that sheltered workshops violate protections against discrimination under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. They charge that the workshops unnecessarily segregate the plaintiffs in work environments where they are paid less than minimum wage and that the workshops perpetuate a stereotype about the inability of people with disabilities to function in mainstream work environments. Read more at: http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19426:suit-sheltered-workshops-violate-rights-of-people-with-disabilities&catid=155:nonprofit-newswire&Itemid=986

Webinar on the ADA, FMLA, and Workers' Compensation Overlap:
In a recent BLR webinar, "FMLA, ADA, and Workers' Comp Overlap: Overcoming New Compliance Conflict," attorney Peter J. Gillespie of Fisher & Phillips LLP reviewed the basics of the ADA, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and workers' compensation and the conflicts that can arise among the laws. Watch the video here: http://hr.blr.com/HR-news/Benefits-Leave/FMLA-Leave-of-Absence/zn-When-FMLA-Leave-Workers-Compensation-Overlap/?source=RSA&effort=4     

ODEP Releases a New "Soft Skills" Curriculum for Youth:
The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has unveiled a new curriculum, in both English and Spanish, designed to strengthen the interpersonal and professionalism skills of young people preparing to enter the workforce. "Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success," is a universally designed program featuring a series of interactive activities that educators and professionals can use with youth both with and without disabilities. Access the curriculum at: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/youth/softskills/   

ODEP Releases Schedule A Hiring Fact Sheet for Youth:
The Schedule A hiring authority is one tool that can greatly benefit young adults with disabilities who are seeking a job with the federal government. Schedule A can be a fast track way for federal agencies to hire qualified individuals with disabilities. Learn more by reading ODEP's Schedule A Fact Sheet at: http://www.dol.gov/odep/pdf/20120103ScheduleA.pdf

American Bar Association (ABA) Calls for Adequate Disability Accommodations:
The ABA, the world's largest voluntary professional membership organization, has called on those who administer, score, or report results of law school admission tests to provide adequate accommodations for those with disabilities. The ABA's policy-making body voted recently to urge that all test procedures be consistent for all applicants and not differentiate on the basis of whether a person received a disability-related accommodation. Read more at: http://www.abilitymagazine.com/aba-accomodations.html

White House Plans Nine City Disability Tour:
The Obama administration announced its plan to hold a series of meetings across the United States to address disability issues. The meetings will take place in nine cities within Ohio, Texas, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, and Missouri, between March and the summer. Read more at:http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/02/02/white-house-disability-tour/14901/

Federal Appeals Court Finds in Favor of University in ADA Case:
A federal appeals court ruled that George Washington University was within its rights in 2003 when its medical school dismissed a student diagnosed with a learning disability, after determining that she was not meeting academic standards. The student had claimed that the University violated the ADA by not accepting her diagnosis and approving adjustments she requested. Read more at: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/12/12/appeals-court-rejects-suit-ex-student-against-medical-school

 

Opportunities for You!

What Can YOU Do? Video Contest for Employers and Businesses:
The Campaign for Disability Employment's "What Can YOU Do?" Video Contest invites large and small business employers to submit entries showcasing their disability-inclusive employment programs and practices. The deadline to submit is March 30th. Learn more at: http://www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org/videocontest/

Annual APSE Conference in June:
The 23rd Annual National APSE Conference, themed "Employment First: A Capitol Idea!" will take place from June 27-29 in Arlington, Virginia, with a pre-conference day on June 26th. The APSE conference focuses exclusively on the advancement of integrated employment of people with disabilities in the community. To learn more and participate in Early Bird registration, go to:  http://www.apse.org/training/lead.cfm

 

Special Spotlight-  2010 ADA Standards for Design & New ADA Regulations for Hotel Reservation Policies Take Effect March 15th:

The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued newly revised ADA regulations which began taking effect in March, 2011 and impacted entities covered by Title II and Title III.  March 15, 2012 marks the compliance date for both provisions governing hotel reservation policies, and for the 2010 ADA Standards for new construction, alterations, program accessibility, and barrier removal.  On or after March 15th, all newly con­structed or altered facilities must comply with all of the requirements in the 2010 Standards. If elements in existing facilities already com­ply with corresponding elements in the 1991 Standards and are not being altered, then entities are not required to make changes to those elements to bring them into compli­ance with the 2010 Standards. Read below for more information on what these regulations mean and how to comply:

ADA National Network Title II and Title III Revised Regulations Fact sheets:

•·       Places of Lodging: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/dbtacnortheast/docs/National%20ADA%20Fact%20Sheets/National%20ADA%20Center%20Fact%20Sheet%204%20LODGING.pdf

•·       Overview of 2010 Standards for Accessible Design: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/dbtacnortheast/docs/National%20ADA%20Fact%20Sheets/National%20ADA%20Center%20Fact%20Sheet%204%20LODGING.pdf

DOJ Revised ADA Requirements Effective Date and Compliance Date:   http://www.ada.gov/revised_effective_dates-2010.pdf

DOJ Technical Assistance Document on Accessible Pools:  http://www.ada.gov/pools_2010.htm

Article on DOJ's interpretation regarding portable pool lifts: http://www.aquaticsintl.com/2012/mar/1203n_poollifts.html

ADA Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal: www.ADAchecklist.org

The American Hotel & Lodging Association's Recommendations on the Top Five Things You Should Know about the ADA: http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/154000320/4054911.html