Newsletter: March 13, 2012

Northeast ADA Center Mar. 13, 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 free webinars in March, each specific to either New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, or U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), on the 2010 ADA Standards of Design and how they differ from accessibility requirements found in state building code. The remaining webinars are for New Jersey on March 16th; Puerto Rico (which will be offered in both English and Spanish) on March 23rd; and USVI on March 30th.  Register for your free state/territory's webinar at: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/dbtacnortheast/m-events.cfm?CurrentDate=03/09/12#Activity_3744

ADA Standards for Design and New York State (NYS) Building Code Training:
On April 18th, United Spinal will present a four hour in person program, free of charge, at the Southern Tier Independence Center in Binghamton, New York on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and the areas where they differ from the accessibility requirements found in the 2010 Building Code of NYS. To register, go to: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/ADADesignAccessibility-2012-04-18.cfm

South Jersey Transportation Authority Makes Accessibility Changes:
As a result of a suit filed in 2007 alleging violations of the ADA at the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) in New Jersey, SJTA will make its facilities on the Atlantic City Expressway more accessible to people with disabilities over the next two years. The person who filed the suit in 2007 will also receive a $17,500 settlement. Find out more here: http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/south-jersey-transportation-authority-to-fix-handicapped-access-issues-at/article_c99b88b0-5cfe-11e1-a1bd-001871e3ce6c.html

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 free general training will be held on the ADA Amendments Act.  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.


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

EEOC Issues Publications on Employment of Veterans with Disabilities:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued two publications, the "Guide for Wounded Veterans" and the "Guide for Employers", addressing veterans with disabilities and the ADA. The guides reflect changes to the law stemming from the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which make it easier for veterans with a wide range of impairments to get needed reasonable accommodations to enable them to work successfully. Access the Guides and find out more at: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/2-28-12.cfm

Sheltered Workshops Offer Little Benefit According To Study:
Two new studies focusing on adults with autism and individuals with cognitive disabilities, show that, compared to supported competitive employment, sheltered workshops are more costly and no more effective at ensuring job prospects for individuals with disabilities. The research actually suggests that people with cognitive disabilities do better in employment if they do not participate in sheltered workshops before enrolling in supported employment. Read more here: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/02/21/sheltered-workshops-benefit/15035/   

DOJ Settles Disability Discrimination Housing Case Involving Veteran:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded $20,000 in relief to a combat veteran with a disability after the property manager of his Utah condominium allegedly violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to let the veteran keep an assistance dog he rented to help cope with effects of depression and anxiety disorder. The lawsuit, filed in November 2011, also alleges that the property management refused to waive their pet fees and insurance requirements and issued multiple fines that eventually led to the non-renewal of the veteran's lease. Read more at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/February/12-crt-258.html   

Latest News from the U.S. Access Board: 
The January/February edition of Access Currents, the Access Board's online news, is now available. It includes information on the Board's proposed standards for medical diagnostic equipment, the proposed rights-of-way guidelines, and an upcoming webinar on the ADA Standards. Read all the news at: http://www.access-board.gov/news/Access%20Currents/Jan-Feb12.htm  

ADA Regulations: How to Get Your Website in Compliance:
Federal officials recently announced plans to enforce new ADA regulations for website accessibility. In a BLR webinar titled "Is Your Website ADA-Compliant? How to Prepare for the Newest Enforcement Push", experts offer guidance on factors such as captioning, color contrast, screen reading, alternative text of images, etc. Find out more information on ADA requirements as they relate to websites here: http://hr.blr.com/HR-news/Discrimination/Disabilities-ADA/11zn-ADA-Regulations-How-to-Get-Website-Compliance/?source=RSA&effort=4   

Fact Sheet on Affordable Health Care: 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Disability released a fact sheet entitled "People with Disabilities and Serious Health Conditions: The Top 5 Things You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act." Get the English  fact sheet at: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/brochures/people-with-disabilities-top5.pdf and the Spanish at: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/brochures/people-with-disabilities-top5-spanish.pdf.   

EEOC Q&A about High School Diploma Requirements:
In November, 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an informal discussion letter regarding how the ADA applies to high school diploma qualification standards for jobs. The letter clarified points about the ADA's criteria surrounding employers requiring high school diplomas of its job applicants and its implications for businesses and persons with disabilities. Read more at:  http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk_high_school_ada.cfm   

Professional Media Corporation Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit: 
Your Health Magazine will pay $58,000 to settle an ADA discrimination lawsuit which arose because of the magazine's policy of having employees sign a "health warranty" verifying their health and that they were not taking prescription drugs. The settlement will be paid to an employee who was fired because he had ADHD and Auditory Processing Disorder. As part of the settlement the company agreed to end this health warranty. To learn more about the case, go to: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/2-7-12.cfm   

EEOC Settles Disability and Age Discrimination Suit against DXP Enterprises:
The EEOC settled a suit against DXP Enterprises in which the company fired a recently hired elderly worker after it was discovered that she had a prior back injury. The suit against the company was filed under both the ADA and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The worker was paid a settlement of $120,000 and under the consent decree, DXP is mandated to institute a number of policies to counteract age and disability discrimination, such as better training for managers and human resource personnel. To learn more about the case, go to: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/2-6-12.cfm   

Modesto Retailer Settles Disability Discrimination Suit with EEOC: 
EEOC settled a suit with a California store after alleging the retailer violated the ADA when it did not make any attempt to accommodate a stockroom worker with epilepsy and fired him after he experienced mild seizures at work.  Without any medical evidence, the store determined that the worker posed a threat to himself and could not perform his job. The case emphasized the dangers of making broad generalizations about the abilities of workers with certain disabilities. The store settled the case and the employee was awarded $50,000.  Read more about the case at: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/2-7-12a.cfm   

Increase in Telework as an Accommodation: 
The use of telework as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA has increased in recent years, experts say. Reasons for this include: Technological advances that make telework easier for the employer and employee; a mandate by the Obama administration that federal agencies implement telework plans by June 2011; and companies' drive to save money on energy and real estate. Read more at: http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/technology/Articles/Pages/TeleworkADA.aspx   

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


Opportunities for You!

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

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. The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center is sponsoring a webinar series "Accessibility and the ADA: Facility Standards Update" that will focus on the new 2010 Standards and what's been added, removed, revised, and reorganized! The webinars are March 27th, April 3rd, and April 10th from 2:00-3:30pm EDT and the cost is $50 for the full series. This series has been approved for 4.5 LU/HSW credits. Registration closes March 17th; register at: http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1061624

Additional Information on the new regulations:  

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

Two letters regarding accessible entry and exit for swimming pools and spas have been added to ADA.gov. The letter to the American Hotel and Lodging Association is available at: Letter to the American Hotel and Lodging Association (HTML) | (PDF) and the letter to the Asian American Hotel Owners Association is at: Letter to the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (HTML) | (PDF)