Newsletter: July 17, 2014

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: July 17th, 2014

 

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

 

Free Webinar July 18th on Accessible Event Planning

Whether you are hosting a small, indoor meeting for a group of employees or a large outdoor event open to the public, it is important to create an experience that allows everyone, including those with disabilities, the opportunity to fully engage and participate. This webinar will address how to plan an accessible event from beginning to end, and will be useful for anyone engaged in planning meetings or events of any kind. The webinar will be July 18th from 2:00-3:30 PM EST. Register at:   http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4509

 

What's New in Our Region:

 

U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) 24th ADA Anniversary Commemorative Celebration

The USVI will be hosting the 24th ADA Anniversary Commemorative Celebration from 10am - 2pm on July 23rd at UVI-St. Thomas campus' Administration Conference Center (UVI-ACC); and July 25th at UVI-St. Croix campus' Great House (UVI-GH).  Lunch will be provided while motivational speaker and self-advocate, Mario Arnauz Bonds presents.  Mario has been featured on NBC Universal's "Glee Project," is author to "Without Sight but Full of Vision," and has won the Prestigious Imagination Award for Performing Arts and Motivational Speaking.  Registration is free, but required by July 16th by contacting Evernie Ramos at either 340-772-1000 or evernie.ramos@go.vi.gov, or text "ADA" to 340-626-3330.   Learn more at: http://www.vidol.gov/list_events.php?id=347

Service Animal DOJ Settlement with New Jersey School District

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced a settlement in an ongoing investigation into inappropriate restrictions imposed on service animal use by Delran Township School District in New Jersey. The settlement under Title II of the ADA concerns a student with autism and encephalopathy whose service animal the School District refused to effectively accommodate. Additionally, the School District subjected the family to burdensome information and documentation requests. In one instance, the school prohibited the student from bringing his dog onto a school bus for the end of the year field trip, and instead the student's mother drove the service dog to the field trip. The DOJ concluded that the School District's practices did not comply with their ADA obligations to modify their policies to allow for the use of service animals by students with disabilities. The settlement requires that the School District adopt an ADA compliant service animal policy. Additionally, the School District must provide related training on Title II of the ADA to employees as well as provide compensation to the family. To read more, visit: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/June/14-crt-665.html

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

 

FCC Adds American Sign Language Consumer Support Line for Video Phone

Individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing will now be able to use their primary language, American Sign Language (ASL), to communicate with a consumer specialist at the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). This exciting form of communication, the first of its kind provided by a federal government agency, may revolutionize the way individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing interact with government agencies. This is a much improved change from the existing relay services and online complaint forms. The video phone service will be available from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday through a ten-digit phone number. This service, provided by an ASL Consumer Specialist, will be great for customer who would like to file an informal complaint or have broad questions on disability-related and telecommunication based matters. To read more, visit: http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adds-american-sign-language-consumer-support-line-videophone

 

New Section 503, VEVRAA FAQS Now Available

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs published Final Rules that made changes to the regulations implementing both Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). The changes to Section 503 are meant to increase the power of the affirmative action provision to aid contractors in recruiting and hiring individuals with disability. Similarly, the changes to VEERAA boost the affirmative action provisions to help aid contractors to hire and improve job opportunities for protected veterans. All of these changes and more can be viewed on the newly update FAQS of these policies. To access the FAQS or to read more, read more, visit: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/vevraa.htm or  http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/section503.htm 

 

Social Security Administration Publishes Disability Awareness Initiative

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has newly published their disability education and awareness initiative, "The Faces and Facts of Disability." This program integrates videos, factsheets, and quizzes to teach the public regarding what the Social Security Disability insurance is, while dispelling any fallacies about the program or what disability is about. The videos demonstrate how individuals with disabilities are able to live happy lives, fully integrated into the world of employment. Additionally, there are outreach materials, including social media content and web widgets, for groups and organizations to become more informed. To read more, visit:  http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityfacts/  

 

Why ADA Compliance Matters For Small Businesses

Business 2 Community, an online business community, has disseminated an online friendly reminder to small businesses serving the public to ensure that their facilities meet physical requirements outlined in the ADA. Business 2 Community provides business professionals an online platform to disseminate information about leadership, increase exposure of their business/organization, and affords the opportunity to network.  This reminder, written on their website informs small businesses that there is not a grandfathering system that protects small businesses from keeping their building up to date with physical access requirements. The reminder caution these establishment that while placing emphasis on allocating capital towards product development or service delivery is essential, they should also properly invest in the physical alterations to their facilities to be ADA compliant. To read more, visit: http://www.business2community.com/small-business/ada-compliance-matters-small-businesses-0913910#!4Q7Hf

 

California District Court Holds that Redbox is Not Required Caption Videos

In Jancik v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, a case filed by a man who is deaf, the court held that Redbox was not required to offer captioned videos.  This decision came after the individual argued that Redbox was in violation of Title III of the ADA by not providing captioned videos at the company's DVD rental Kiosks, after he requested that they do so. He also argued that Redbox's failure to provide captioning for all of its online streaming videos also violated Title III. However, the California court held that Title III of the ADA does not apply to Redbox's DVD services because requiring the company to provide captioned videos would force Redbox to change its inventory to include the accessible videos, which is not required by the ADA regulations. Additionally the court held that captioning was not required on Redbox's video streaming service because its website was not a place of public accommodation under Title III of the ADA. To read more, visit: http://www.adatitleiii.com/2014/06/california-district-court-holds-that-redbox-does-not-have-to-offer-captioned-videos-at-its-rental-kiosks-or-on-its-streaming-video-website/

 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Roundup: Are Intellectual Disabilities the Next Big Issue Under the ADAAA?

In light of a recent article published by Bloomberg BNA that reviews the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) since its passing in 2008, Bloomberg BNA hosted a roundtable discussion of experts on what the next big issue will be under the ADAAA. The amendments have been widely perceived to have largely enhanced workers' rights and increased liability for employers. A range of possible issues were discussed, including intellectual disability and pregnancy-related impairments, which both deal with expanded definition of disability introduced by the ADAAA. The other possible issues deal with lack of clarity in language, particularly the distinction between reasonable accommodation and undue hardship as well as the responsibility of employers to accommodate individuals when the employee has not communicated he/she has a disability.  To read more, visit:

http://www.bna.com/eeo-roundup-intellectual-b17179891329/

 

Military Families Push for Increased Autistic Behavioral Analysis Coverage

Tricare, the military insurance provider that military families rely on, currently only covers $36,000 annually for Autistic Behavioral Analysis (ABA). This capped benefit finances 12-13 hours a week for therapy; therefore, the families must make up the cost gap and sometime forgo the fully recommended 25 hours a week for ABA therapy. The decision to forgo treatment is often the choice since a military salary is not sufficient to cover the remaining of the therapy sessions. Several legislators have partnered with military families to advocate for the increased coverage of ABA therapy as well as the extension of coverage to others like individuals with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome. The provision in the authorization bill has received bi-partisan support. To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/06/11/military-aba-coverage/19434/

 

EBay Announces Partnership with the National Federation of the Blind

EBay has partnered with The National Federation of the Blind in a "Web 2.0 Sustainable Accessibility Partnership Agreement" that will improve the accessibility of EBay's website and mobile applications. Specifically targeted to individuals who are visually impaired, some features improve access to text-to-speech screen readers, and improving braille displays. EBay released the following statement, "This is about reinforcing and enhancing our commitment to accessibility, and making eBay's global marketplace available to everyone." Read more at: http://www.adatitleiii.com/2014/06/ebay-announces-web-accessibility-partnership-with-the-national-federation-of-the-blind/?utm_source=Seyfarth+Shaw+-+ADA+Title+III+News+%26+insights&utm_campaign=07c7151852-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_decb46f1f5-07c7151852-70397889

 

Opportunities for You!

 

Think Beyond the Label Online Career Fair

Think Beyond the Label will be holding a virtual employment fair on July 30th.  This fair will provide a cost effective avenue for employers to connect with a number of qualified individuals with disabilities. Events such as this can assist businesses in meeting their obligations under various regulations related to the employment of individuals with disabilities. The online event will take place from 1pm to 4pm ET. For more information, visit: http://www.thinkbeyondthelabel.com/Start-Hiring/CareerFair.aspx

 

Special Spotlight: Celebrating 24th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

This month, the Northeast ADA Center commemorates the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed by President George H. Bush on July 26th, 1990. The ADA, along with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 serves as an important foundation for protecting the rights of Americans with Disabilities in a range of areas from employment to recreation. Events celebrating this anniversary will be taking place all across the country and we encourage you to find out what's occurring in your local community, or consider hosting an event yourself.  The following links will provide information on these events as well as more information related to the anniversary of this historic civil rights law.

 

Celebrate the ADA

http://www.adaanniversary.org/home

 

ADA Anniversary Events

http://www.adaanniversary.org/events  

 

Celebrating ADA 24 Through Artistic Expression

http://www.newenglandada.org/blog/celebrating-ada-24-through-artistic-expression

 

Mission Possible podcast

https://soundcloud.com/#ticnetwork/mission-possible-oc

 

BREAKING NEWS: It is also worth noting that the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) is steadily moving through legislative channels. On June 25th, the Senate passed it, followed by the House of Representatives on July 9th, both by an overwhelming majority. The bill is now on President Obama's desk and he has indicated his intent to sign it into law. The WIOA is a bipartisan legislation intended to improve the country's workforce development system and the competitive, integrated employment of individuals with disabilities. Read the following articles for more information and continue watching the status of this critical bill!

 

From National Council on Disability: http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/07102104

 

Statement from Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky: http://schakowsky.house.gov/press-releases/statement-on-the-passage-of-the-workforce-innovation-and-opportunity-act/