Newsletter: September 18, 2013

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: September 18, 2013

What's New from the Northeast ADA Center:

Register for our Next Webinars: Accessibility Update: Difficult 2010 ADA Standards Technical Requirements

The Northeast ADA Center is teaming up with United Spinal Association's Accessibility Services program to host a free Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) training webinar on the "trickier" 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design technical requirements. Since both United Spinal Association and the Northeast ADA Center provide technical assistance to the public on these technical requirements, we are providing a webinar devoted exclusively to addressing your burning ADA accessibility questions. To make sure we address your questions in the webinar, please email your questions to jperry@accessibility-services.com by 8/24/13. In the subject line, please indicate "webinar question." The webinar will be held from September 19th from 2-3:30 PM EST. To register for the webinar, visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4415

Webinar: Intersections and Crossroads: ADA and territorial laws and policies in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

This webinar will provide an overview of ADA and how it specifically applies to the US territories of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Additionally, it will provide an overview of recent case law developments in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The information should be useful to practitioners as well as people with disabilities. The webinar will be held on September 26th from 1-1:45 PM.

To register for the webinar, visit: http://northeastada.org/register/webinar-registration-2013.cfm

What's New in Our Region:

New York State Lags on Firing Workers Who Abuse Patients with Disabilities

An investigation conducted by the New York Times has found that New York State does not do a good job of terminating employees who are found guilty of abusing workers with mental or developmental disabilities. After internal investigations to allegations of abuse by employees who cared for people with mental or developmental disabilities, the State makes a determination about whether a worker should be fired. However, before an employee can actually be fired, the matter is usually taken before an arbitrator by the public sector unions, which represent these state employees.   The investigation by the New York Times, found that the rates of termination of these employees who are found guilty through internal investigations, has remained unchanged, at about 25% since 2011. This comes after Governor Cuomo promised reforms on the issue. State officials explanation for the low rate of termination is the wide discretion that arbitrators are afforded in deciding whether to uphold or lessen punishments prescribed to employees. To read more, visit, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/09/nyregion/state-lagging-on-dismissals-in-abuse-cases.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&smid=tw-share&

Bronx KFC Turns Away Iraq War Vet over Service Dog: Lawsuit

A veteran who uses a service dog to assist him with his balance and the symptoms of his post-traumatic stress disorder was recently denied service from a KFC franchise in New York City. Upon being told that he could not bring the dog into the establishment, the veteran attempted to invoke his rights under the Americans with Disabilities, but that did not sway the KFC employee. The same veteran was also subjected to discriminatory treatment at a McDonald's in 2011, which he also filed a suit against. To read more, visit: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/kfc-turns-iraq-war-vet-service-dog-lawsuit-article-1.1432999

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

College Student with Disability Files Lawsuit against National Air and Space Museum

A college student with a disability has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the National Air and Space Museum for denying him access to the use of a flight simulator. When the student who has a vascular condition which led to one of his legs being amputated, attempted to use a flight simulator by having his brother lift him up the stairs into the machine, an employee of the museum told them that he could not use the machine unless he could walk up the stairs by himself.  The lawsuit seeks to change the policies of the museum to better accommodate individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the lawsuit seeks for staff of the museum to be provided with training on providing accommodations, as well as damages for emotional distress. To read more, visit:  http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-15/entertainment/41412212_1_max-s-space-museum-simulators

A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities - Interview with Gov. Jack Markell

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) recently conducted an interview with Jack Markell, the current Governor of Delaware, about his year long term as Chair of the National Governors Association and his chair initiative, "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities." The National Governor's Association also recently released a report, Blueprint for Governors, based on the findings of the initiative. The report outlines a variety of steps that states can take in their efforts to increase the employment of people with disabilities. In the interview, Governor Markell discusses why he feels that the initiative is important as well as discusses some of the key findings of the report.

To read more, visit: http://askearn.org/exchange/a-better-bottom-line-employing-people-with-disabilities-interview-with-gov-jack-markell/

DMEC and Cornell Study Shows Employer Concern about Aging Workforce

A recent study conducted by the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) and Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute, has found that the aging workforce is an area of mounting concern to employers. The report is based on the study, "Absence and Disability Management Practices for an Aging Workforce," and examines the aging workforce from the perspective of disability management professionals. The study included a survey that was completed by over 500 employers and over 250 disability management service suppliers, which was also followed by interviews with select respondents.  To read more, visit: http://www.airsetpublic.com/files/2013_AgingWorkforceWhPap.pdf?i=YjPnIFvBMFIQHrLUoHCIABLY

Invisible Casualties: The Struggle Against Military Suicides

The Huffington Post has launched a new series titled "Invisible Casualties" which focuses on suicide prevention efforts within the military. The series contain stories of veterans who have either attempted or contemplated suicide in the aftermath of their military service, hoping to raise awareness about this important issue. Additionally, there are stories about strategies and resources that can be utilized by veterans who are facing mental health issues. To read more, visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/09/vet-suicide_n_3859738.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

Opportunities for You!

The Section 503 Final Rule - Public DOL Teleconference

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will be hosting a webinar on the recently announced new rules for federal contractors regarding hiring people with disabilities under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The new rule changes the affirmative action obligations and responsibilities of federal contractors in several ways. A couple examples include, setting a 7% utilization goal for individuals with disabilities, and by requiring new data collection pertaining to applicants and hires, along with a number of other requirements.  This webinar should provide invaluable information to federal contractors about their new Section 503 requirements and the steps that can be taken to meet them. The webinar will be held on September 18th from 2-4pm EST.

To register, visit: http://www.leadcenter.org/calendar/section-503-final-rule-public-dol-teleconference-0

Emergency Management and Preparedness-Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities Webinar Series

This presentation will discuss the access and functional needs issues that must be considered by individuals, jurisdictions, emergency managers, and transportation planners in planning evacuation and transportation in emergencies. Gap analysis tools will be shared and a review of resources provided. The webinar will be held on September 26th from 2-3:30pm EST. Questions regarding the content of this program should be directed to Lewis Kraus at deputy@adapacific.org

Questions regarding the technology used for this program should be directed to info@adaconferences.org or by calling 877-232-1990 (V/TTY)

Registration for this free on-line webinar at http://www.adaconferences.org/Emergency

US Business Leadership Network's (USBLN) 16th Annual Conference & Expo: Lights, Camera, Access: Spotlight on Disability Inclusive Diversity

The USBLN Conference will bring together many business leaders and specialists on issues related to people with disabilities to discuss and learn about how people with disabilities can be better included in the workplace, supply chain and the marketplace. A few of the many issues which will be addressed in the conference will be how to accommodate employees with chemical sensitivities in the workplace as well as practical tools for accommodating mental health issues in the workplace. In addition to accommodation issues, the conference will provide business representatives with valuable information on how to tap into the community of people with disabilities such as businesses owned by people with disabilities to increase the diversity of their supply or expand the consumer base for their products. The conference will be held from September 30th to October 3rd in Los Angeles, California.

For more information and to register for the conference, visit: http://usblnannualconference.org

State Education Department Seeking Nominations for Membership

The State Education Department (SED) is seeking nominations for membership on the Adult Career and Continuing Education Services - Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES­VR) State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) established pursuant to the federal Rehabilitation Act (Title IV of the Workforce Investment Act). The SRC works in partnership with ACCES­VR to advance the quality of vocational rehabilitation and employment services for New Yorkers with disabilities.

SED is recruiting for highly qualified individuals with and without disabilities who are representatives of the following constituency groups:

  • Former recipient of ACCES-VR services
  • Representatives of disability advocacy groups
  • Representatives of community rehabilitation service providers
  • Representatives of business
  • Representatives of NYSED/Federal funded Parent Centers

Interested candidates should submit a resume by September 30, 2013 by email to Michael Peluso, SRC Liaison, mpeluso@mail.nysed.gov or via fax (518) 474-5190. Additional information on the Council may be obtained by visiting: http://www.acces.nysed.gov/vr/src/home.html, or you may contact ACCES-VR for more information.

EARN Announces National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Webinars

In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) will be hosting weekly webinars in October on a range of topics related to people with disabilities in the workplace. The 30-minute webinars will be held at 2 p.m. EST each Thursday in October. The topics and date of each webinar is listed below.

  • Oct. 3: Employers Can't Afford to Ignore Mental Health
  • Oct. 10: Disability Disclosure and Self-identification: Benefits, Barriers, and Implementable Solutions
  • Oct. 17: Proactive Compliance Strategies for Federal Contractors
  • Oct. 24: Home Again and Back to Work: The Employment of Veterans with Disabilities

To register, visit: http://askearn.org/ndeam_registration.cfm

Special Spotlight: Spotlight: New Section 503 Regulations for Federal Contractors

The U.S. Department of Labor has recently announced new rules for federal contractors regarding the hiring of people with disabilities. The recently announced rules will require that federal contractors set a goal of either having 7% of their job groups be composed of people with disabilities or having 7% of their workforce be composed of people with disabilities, if they have less than 100 employees. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs hosting webinars, listed above in Opportunities for You! to familiarize stakeholders about the new requirements and the steps that they need to take to comply with them. The following links will provide more information and background on the new rule and its implications for federal contractors as well as for people with disabilities.

US Labor Department announces final rules to improve employment of veterans, people with disabilities

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20131578.htm  

Labor Rules to Boost Employment for Vets, People with Disabilities

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/labor-rules-boost-employment-vets-disabled-20087267  

Harkin: Labor Department Rule Sets Critical Goal for Disability Employment

http://www.help.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=7401e16e-5b0f-4676-b754-9ee4f7dc78a9&groups=Chair

Statement on Dept. of Labor Rule Change for Federal Contractors to Hire People with Disabilities

http://www.nod.org/news/nod_s_statement_on_dept._of_labor_rule_change_for_federal_contractors_to_hi/