Newsletter: January 15, 2014

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: January 15, 2014

What's New in Our Region:

New York City (NYC) Agrees to Remove Mold in Public Housing More Quickly

NYC's public housing authority has agreed to settle a lawsuit related to mold within its public housing projects, which house 400,000 residents. The suit was brought by residents who had asthmatic conditions and claimed the city was violating the ADA by not properly dealing with mold, thus negatively impacting residents with respiratory conditions. The settlement will require that the city implement a number of initiatives to address the problem such as taking quicker steps to resolve mold issues and work to relocate tenants with asthma affected by mold. Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/nyregion/facing-suit-new-york-city-agrees-to-remove-mold-in-public-housing-more-quickly.html?_r=1&

New Publication from NYS Justice Center on Reporting Abuse

The New York State Justice Center has published a new guide, "Partnering to Protect People with Special Needs", which details how to report alleged abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities. Download it at: http://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/resources/brochures/partnering-to-protect-people-with-special-needs?utm_source=Justice+Center+E-+News&utm_campaign=5b7d6a200e-E_News_Vol_1_Number_411_1_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_47acbbc21e-5b7d6a200e-135884654  

NJ County recognizes Disability Advocates Awards winners

The Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services in New Jersey recently recognized the winner of the 2013 Disability Advocates Awards. The awards recognize people and organizations that help contribute positively to lives of people with disabilities within the county. One organization recognized was the the Midland School, which serves students throughout northern and central New Jersey. The school was honored because of its comprehensive approach to serving students with disabilities or special needs. This approach includes focusing on the individual, social, emotional, academic and career of the students which it serves. To read more, visit:http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/index.ssf/2013/12/county_recognizes_disability_advocates_awards_winners.html

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

OPM Issues Disability Employment Report for Federal Executive Branch

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued the 2012 Employment of People with Disabilities in the Federal Executive Branch report. It relays that 2012 saw the highest percentage of individuals with disabilities being hired in federal service in the past 32 years. To read the full report, go to: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/diversity-and-inclusion/reports/#url=Employment-Statistical-Reports

New Technology Connecting Consumers to Accessible Venues

AbleRoad is a new tool of technology that can help people find accessible places in their communities and around the world. Additionally, it is a customer review website/mobile app that allows individuals to post online reviews of a business's level of accessibility to consumers with disabilities, primarily mobility, hearing, visual, and cognitive. AbleRoad's goal is to provide a place where consumers with disabilities, and their families and friends, can find out which businesses are accessible, and therefore they might wish to give their business to.

EEOC Wins Suit for Sight-Impaired Employee of Beverage Distributors

A beverage distributor in Colorado is required to pay $200K and hire an employee with a visual impairment after the court found the employer in violation of the ADA. The employer had withdrawn a job offer, in the interest of safety, after a pre-employment medical exam revealed the employee's poor eyesight. It was found that the employee could perform the essential functions of the job safely. To read the press release, visit: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-12-13a.cfm

Bank to Pay $95,000 to Settle EEOC Age and Disability Discrimination Suit

A bank in Tennessee has settled a suit alleging it failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee's disability and discharged her because of her age. The consent decree states the bank will pay the former employee, who was a manager and had been with the company for over 30 years, $95,000, provide age and disability discrimination training to senior management and human resource staff, and post a notice to the branch about the lawsuit. Read the press release at: http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-20-13.cfm

DOJ Issues Publication on ADA Mediation Program

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued two new publications explaining its ADA Mediation Program, a program which allows DOJ to resolve many ADA complaints quickly and effectively at no cost to the parties involved. The publications are, "Resolving Complaints Through Mediation: An Overview" and "The ADA Mediation Program: Questions and Answers". They can be accessed at: http://www.ada.gov/mediate.htm.

DOJ Issues Letter of Findings in Alabama for Public School ADA Violations

The DOJ has issued a letter of findings to the State of Alabama, including specific school districts within, addressing alleged violations of the ADA regarding public school students with diabetes. The DOJ concluded that methods by which the State administers its nursing practice standards, public school nursing programs, and related policies, deny many students with diabetes an equal right to attend and participate in local schools. DOJ concluded that the school districts unnecessarily transferred students with diabetes to schools with onsite nurses, even if the students' doctors and families agreed the diabetes could be managed by non-nursing professionals. Read the letter at: http://www.ada.gov/alabama-LOF.htm.

D.C. Newseum Settles with DOJ Over Disability Regulation Violations

The Newseum museum located in Washington D.C. has reached a settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) over numerous violations of the ADA.  The settlement agreement comes after two years of investigation by the DOJ into the museum's compliance. Some of the ADA violations cited include gift shop merchandise being placed too high off of the ground, thus inaccessible to wheelchair users, and entry ways to museum exhibits being too short. In addition to paying a $15,000 fine and working to correct the ADA violations, the museum will also be implementing a variety of technologies such as closed captioning and assistive listening systems. To read more, visit: http://freebeacon.com/newseum-settles-with-doj-over-disability-regulation-violations/

Policy Brief: Health Care Transition for Youth With I/DD

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has recently released a policy brief entitled "The Transition to Adulthood for Youth with ID/DD: A review of research, policy and next steps". The document highlights some of the health care challenges faced by young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), such as the transition from the pediatric to the adult health care system as well as  in obtaining specialized health care. The document calls attention to the need for youth with I/DD to be better taught about how to manage their health care needs, in order to facilitate a smooth transition from youth to adulthood. This is especially important given that more than a third of young people with special healthcare needs are those who have developmental disabilities. The brief offers recommendations about how research and public policy can work to address this important challenge. Read more at: http://autisticadvocacy.org/2013/12/policy-brief-healthcare-transition-for-youth-with-idd/

U.S. Access Board November/December 2013 Newsletter

The latest news from the Access Board features the Department of Transportation rules on airline websites, kiosks, and wheelchair stowage; FCC complaint procedures for access to advanced communications technologies; a list of upcoming webinars provided by Access Board; and much other news. Read the newsletter at: http://www.access-board.gov/news/access-currents-november-december-2013

Special Spotlight:  Upcoming Webinars!

With winter being upon half of our region, it becomes increasingly difficult to attend trainings or presentations in person. Technology has advanced so much in the last decade that online training opportunities are all around us, offering us numerous chances to learn more about the ADA and related issues and regulations- and many of those opportunities come at no cost!  2014 is bringing about many such opportunities - read below to learn about upcoming webinars you may be interested in engaging in!

Northeast ADA Center 2014 Webinars:

On the second Wednesday of each month, the Northeast ADA Center will offer a free webinar. Topics covered will include effective communication, integrating veterans with disabilities into workplaces, accessible healthcare, and many more. To see all upcoming webinars, and register for them, go to: http://www.northeastada.org/pages/events/

Free United Spinal Webinars:

The United Spinal Association will provide webinars in 2014 on a variety of topics, including motion therapy technology, options after rehab, resources for parents of children with disabilities, durable medical equipment and healthcare, service animals, home modifications, and many others. To see the full list, and to register, go to: http://www.spinalcord.org/webinar-archive/  

OFCCP Webinars on Section 503 and VEVRAA

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will offer a series of webinars to federal contractors and subcontractors on the new regulations of the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. Webinars will be held 2:00-3:30pm ET and will focus on data collection, affirmative action program development, and outreach and recruitment requirements. To see the webinar dates, and to register, go to: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/final_rules_webinars.htm

Webinar: 2014 T&T: Results of the Third Annual Leave Management Survey

This webinar will review the results of an annual survey on the leave management practices of American employers, administered in part by the Disability Management Employer Coalition. The survey included a wide variety of leave types such as those provided under the FMLA and State Family and Medical Leaves. The webinar will also reveal the strategies and tools used by employers across different industries in order to successfully manage their leave obligations and the challenges associated with various categories of leave. This webinar will be held on January 23rd from 12:00-1:00pm EST. To register, visit: http://dmec.force.com/MN4__publiceventregistration?id=a0Sd0000003ykobEAA