Newsletter: July 13, 2012

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin - July 13, 2012

What’s New in Our Region:

 

NY’s Lincoln Center Settles Disability Lawsuit

A lawsuit filed against New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts was finally settled. According to the lawsuit the facility’s Avery Fisher Hall did not comply with the physical accessibility requirements of the ADA. Lincoln Center agreed to make renovations to make the facility more accessible to people with disabilities. To read more about the settlement, visit: http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/NY-s-Lincoln-Center-settles-disability-lawsuit-3670221.php   

 

Appeals Court Rules NYC Can’t Mandate Accessible Taxi Fleet

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a ruling that would have mandated that vehicles be wheelchair accessible in order to obtain a taxi license in New York City. Currently, over 98% of cabs in the city are not accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs. The Appeals Court ruled that the ADA prevents discrimination against people with disabilities who apply for taxi licenses but does not require that taxis be accessible to customers with disabilities. To read more about the lawsuit, visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/appeals-court-rules-against-disability-advocates-says-nyc-cant-mandate-accessible-taxi-fleet/2012/06/28/gJQAWZmP9V_story.html?fb_ref=sm_btn_fb&fb_source=home_multiline  

 

What’s New in the Rest of the Country:

 

Disability Employment App Challenges: Educating Employers and Job Seekers with Disabilities

The Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has recently started the Disability Employment App Challenge,  which will reward developers of innovative apps that are designed to make job training and transportation resources more accessible to individuals with disabilities.  Additionally, the Disability Employment App Challenge’s goal is to provide employers with support for employing individuals with disabilities.  To read more, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/06/12/disability-employment-app-challenge-educating-employers-and-job-seekers-disabilities

 

Time Warner Hit with Disability Suit

The Disability Rights Legal Center has filed lawsuits against Time Warner Entertainment, Warner Brothers Entertainment, and Warner Brothers Television Distribution on behalf of a man with a physical disability. In the first lawsuit, the man alleged that he tried to order a ticket from a taping facility and was told that the facility was not wheelchair-accessible. In the other lawsuit, he tried to attend a taping but was forced to park in an outdoor lot since his wheelchair-accessible van would not fit at the parking location designated for all attendees. In addition, since the vehicles that transported audience members to the studio were inaccessible, he was forced to travel a long distance in order to get to his destination. To read more about the lawsuits filed against Time Warner, visit: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-06-12/entertainment/sns-rt-us-media-timewarner-disabilitybre85c016-20120612_1_muscular-dystrophy-disability-suit-wheelchair-accessible-seating

 

Goodwill Takes Heat for Paying Those with Disabilities Less

The National Federation for the Blind is encouraging a boycott of Goodwill because the organization pays some of its employees with disabilities below minimum wage. Although it is legal to pay those with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage according to provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act; nevertheless, the National Federation for the Blind believes that this is based on an outdated view of the capabilities of people with disabilities. To read more about Goodwill and wages for those with disabilities, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/06/12/goodwill-paying-less/15827/

  

Apple Lineup to Become More Disability Friendly

A new software update for the iPad and iPhone will make these devices more accessible for people with disabilities.  The updates include additional screen reader functions for those with vision impairments. Additionally, there will be features called guided access, which can help students with autism stay focused on a task. The software will be available for free this fall. To read more about Apple’s new updates, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/06/12/apple-disability-friendly/15835/

 

TBTL Announces New Corporate Sponsor

The mobile technology company, Qualcomm, is the latest company to think beyond the label. Beginning in July, Qualcomm, will become the current Featured Sponsor of the Think Beyond the Label (TBTL) website.  Qualcomm’s message, “Labels get in the way, disabilities rarely do” advertises their career benefits and job opportunities.  Check out their updated featured sponsor link here: http://www.thinkbeyondthelabel.com/Default.aspx  

 

Disabled Veterans National Foundation Alerts Employers about New Veteran Hiring Guidelines and Offers Resources to Help:

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), a non- profit organization that supports men and women with emotional and physical wounds after they return to America from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, is urging employers to utilize the resources rendered by agencies like DVNF when hiring disabled veterans. To read more about the resources provided by DVNF, go to: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/6/prweb9596353.htm  or http://www.dvnf.org     

 

Opportunities for You!

Webinar: Taxicabs and the ADA

On Tuesday, July 24th, the United Spinal Association will present the webinar entitled "Taxicabs and the ADA". This webinar will cover the state of accessible taxicabs in New York City and throughout the nation. To register visit: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/932015298

 

Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP):

The U.S. Department Education announced the Notice of Applications for New Awards: Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities--Technical Assistance Center To Support Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices.  Applications will be receive from July 2, 2012 to August 1, 2012. The award amount is $1,100,000. For further information about this award, please visit: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-07-02/pdf/2012-16173.pdf

 

Special Spotlight: Olmstead Anniversary

In 2009, the Civil Rights Division at DOJ implemented an aggressive effort to ensure adherence to the Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C., a ruling that mandates that states eradicate needless isolation of individuals with disabilities and to ensure that individuals with disabilities obtain services in the utmost integrated setting appropriate to their needs. Therefore, individuals with disabilities would have the opportunity to be integrated in their communities instead of institutions.  The Division has been assisting state and local government’s officials, disability rights groups and attorneys around the country, and representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services, in creating an effective, countrywide program to enforce the integration requirement of the Department's regulation enforcing title II of the ADA. For more information on the Olmstead v. L.C. decision, visit: http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/index.htm

 

Listed below is a list of letter of findings by the DOJ and articles pertaining to the enforcement of the Olmstead decision: 
 

Justice Department Commemorates Olmstead Anniversary with “Faces of Olmstead” Stories

The Supreme Court Decision Olmstead v. L.C. recognized that it is a violation of the rights of individuals with disabilities to unnecessarily separate them from the rest of society. For the thirteenth anniversary of the Olmstead decision, the Department of Justice launched a website called “Faces of Olmstead,” which features stories of people whose lives were affected by the Olmstead decision. To read more about “Faces of Olmstead,” visit: http://www.droregon.org/news/justice-department-commemorates-olmstead-anniversary-with-201cfaces-of-olmstead201d-stories

 

DOJ Intervenes in Lawsuit Involving New Hampshire’s Mental Health System

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has intervened in a lawsuit that claims that New Hampshire is violating the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide mental health services in community settings. As a result, individuals with mental illnesses are forced into segregated facilities like emergency rooms and state institutions in order to receive services. The DOJ engaged in talks with New Hampshire last year to try to resolve this problem, but an agreement was not reached. As a result, the DOJ agreed to intercede in the lawsuit. To read more about the lawsuit, visit: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/March/12-crt-384.html

 

T.H. et al. v. Dudek et al.

In T.H. et al. v. Dudek et al., plaintiffs allege that the State of Florida is in violation of the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (“EPSDT”) provisions of the Medicaid Act because the state institutionalizes children who are medically vulnerable rather than providing services in the community for them. The United States filed a Statement of Interest opposing State of Florida’s Motion to Dismiss. To read more, visit: http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/documents/th-dudek_soi.pdf

 

DOJ Findings Letter to Oregon

The DOJ investigated the State of Oregon’s system of providing employment and vocational services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and issued a letter of findings concluding that the system is in violation of the ADA. This is because services are usually offered at sheltered workshops rather than in the community. To read more, visit: http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/documents/lane_class_cert_soi.pdf