Newsletter: October 12, 2012

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin - October 12, 2012

What's New in Our Region:

Development of the Three-Year State Plan for Independent Living

The New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC) is seeking comments related to the development of the 2014-2016 State Plan for Independent Living. Written comments are due to the NYSILC before 5:00 PM on Wednesday, October 31, 2012.  For more details, visit: www.nysilc.org

Inspector General: Psych Center Director Made Staff Falsify Discharge Forms

The Inspector General (IG) found that officials at the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, in Brooklyn New York, did not create discharge plans for patients before releasing them, and the director at the facility ordered employees to falsify records to make it appear that the plans had been done. As a result of the findings at the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, the IG's office will conduct a system wide review of the Office of Mental Health (OMH). For more information, visit:  http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/158079/ig-psych-center-director-made-staff-falsify-discharge-forms/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Dura Automotive Systems to Pay $750,000 to Settle EEOC ADA Lawsuit

A Michigan-based automotive parts company, Dura Automotive Systems, made illegal medical inquiries and examinations of all its'plant workers that were not job-related or consistent with business needs. The company tested all of its plant workers for twelve substances, including legally prescribed drugs, in violation of the ADA. Dura Automotive Systems also suspended and fired workers, based on information of medical conditions that it obtained illegally. To read more on this case visit: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/9-5-12.cfm

More Breast Cancer Survivors Returning Successfully To Work After Short Term Disability Leave, Data Shows

More than twice as many individuals who have fought breast cancer are returning to their jobs after short-term disability leave, according to data from Unum. Unum is the principal provider of disability benefits through the workplace. The trend is not the same for individuals on long-term disability leave due to breast cancer. Through research and education, Unum offers guidance to companies around how they can support employees through cancer diagnosis and treatment, and assist those workers with returning successfully to work. To read more on this report visit: http://www.chattanoogan.com/2012/10/4/235724/More-Breast-Cancer-Survivors-Returning.aspx    

Seminar Shows Benefits of Hiring Individuals with Disabilities

The "Business Leadership Network Lunch and Learn" event, which took place at Mercy Hospital in the state of Kansas, reached out to companies who do not hire individuals with disabilities and encouraged them to do so. Information on programs that assist individuals with disabilities obtain employment in the state of Kansas was presented at the event. This initiative was sponsored by a $2 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Labor. Information on tax breaks offered to organizations that have to make reasonable accommodations in the workplace was also covered. The article gives examples of hard working and dedicated individuals with disabilities' approach to work.  To read more visit:  http://www.fstribune.com/story/1897740.html

Indiana Lands Grant to Help Adults with Disabilities

Indiana recently received a portion of the $20.7 million grant that will be shared with seven other states. This grant permits Indiana's WorkOne centers to employ staff with expertise in disability and workforce issues for the purpose of collaborating among several agencies to improve education, training, and employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. This program targets unemployed or underemployed adults with disabilities. WorkOne is enthusiastic that the grant will expand their services. For more information, please visit:  http://www.pal-item.com/article/20120925/NEWS01/309250011/Indiana-lands-grant-to-help-adults-with-disabilities?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Presidential Proclamation - National Disability Employment Awareness Month

President Obama has released his proclamation addressing National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The proclamation addresses President Obama's commitment to increasing the participation of people with disabilities in the workforce, as well as the initiatives that the federal government in taking in order to be a model employer.  These initiatives include President Obama's 2010 order to increase the participation of people with disabilities in the federal workforce. To read the proclamation, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/10/01/presidential-proclamation-national-disability-employment-awareness-month 

ODEP Studies Employment & the Aging Workforce

The key findings of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy's (ODEP) recent study, Employer Strategies for Responding to an Aging Workforce, are discussed in the article. This study looked into how employers are responding to the changing demographics of the aging workforce. It also provides advice to employers on how to avoid discrimination complaints based on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the ADA, addressing topics such as data collection policies and job evaluations. To read more, visit:  http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/32324/as-boomers-get-older-age-bias-claims-spike-avoid-trouble-by-heeding-new-dol-guidance 

A Template for Job Training Programs for People with Disabilities

This article presents a discussion of a successful job-training program for individuals with disabilities in Boston that leverages the strengths of foundations, private industry, and the public sector to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. It suggests that the partnership model of the Transition to Work program should serve as a guide for other job-training programs for people with disabilities.  To read more, visit: http://articles.boston.com/2012-09-26/opinion/34091993_1_disabilities-assistive-technology-unemployment-rate

Was Employee's Psychological Exam an Unreasonable Requirement?

A federal court recently held that an employer requiring an employee to undergo counseling as a condition of employment was prohibited under the ADA. The case stemmed from an ambulance operator who required an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), who had several emotional outbursts at work, to attend counseling in order to retain her employment.  A lower court must now determine the business necessity of the required counseling. The article addresses the implications of the case for human resource professionals, and provides advice for these professionals on handling similar cases. To read more, visit: http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=533350939

Opportunities for You!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Webinars

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) will be hosting four weekly webinars in celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month on Thursdays in October from 2:00-2:30 PM EDT. The next webinar is scheduled for October 18, 2012.  To register visit: http://www.askearn.org/webinar_registration_2012_October.cfm

Low Vision Technology Fair

The Low Vision Technology fair will feature new vision technologies designed to assist the visually impaired with reading and daily activities such as computer usage, working, shopping, and more. The fair will also feature representatives from companies demonstrating how to use their products. The event targets people with low vision, healthcare professionals, and family member.  The event will be held Wednesday, October 17th from 10 AM to 5 PM at the Beltrone Living Center, 6 Winners Circle, Albany, New York. For more information about Low Vision Technology Fair, contact Cheryl Lawyer at (518) 463-1211.

Rental Housing Search and Occupancy Experiences of Veterans with Military Associated Disabilities

*For participating in this study, you have the opportunity to enter into a drawing to win 1 of 4 money orders in the amount of $50.00!

Veterans with military associated disabilities who live in rental housing are invited to participate in a research study to bring awareness of their rental housing search and occupancy experiences. If you are interested in participating in this research study, please cut and paste the following link to your internet browser to access the electronic version of this study: https://vtsurveycenter.us2.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5BVhEcHNiAKnXqB

Participants have until Saturday, December 15, 2012 to complete the survey. If you have any questions regarding this research, contact Luz Semeah via phone or email at (561) 603-2350 or lmsemeah@vt.edu.

Special Spotlight: Diversity and Inclusion: "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"

According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), by promoting a culture of diversity - or the capability to appreciate and value people's differences - organizations benefit from different perspectives on how to confront business challenges and accomplish success. Although the word diversity often refers to differences such as ethnicity, gender, age, and religion, it essentially includes the infinite range of individuals distinctive characteristics and experiences. Therefore, disability is a natural part of diversity, and organizations can benefit by taking steps to guarantee that individuals with disabilities are represented in their labor force.  Read more below on the topic of diversity and inclusion as well as how it includes disability:

Implementing Inclusive Employment Policies and Practices

http://askearn.org/docs/research_summaries/EmploymentPolicies-ACC.pdf

Add Us In Initiative

http://www.dol.gov/odep/Addusin/

Communicating an Inclusive Workplace Culture

http://www.askearn.org/refdesk/Workplace_Culture/Inclusive_Culture

USBLN Workplace Disability Inclusion Assessment Tool

http://usbln.org/pdf-docs/2011_USBLN_Assessment_Tool.pdf

Diverse Perspectives: People with Disabilities Fulfilling Your Business Goals

http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/fact/diverse.htm

Leading Practices on Disability Inclusion

http://usbln.org/leading_practices_on_disability_inclusion.html 

Building an Inclusive Workforce

http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/20100727.pdf