Newsletter: November 19, 2014

Northeast ADA Center New Bulletin: November 19, 2014

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center

Northeast ADA Center Closed November 27th and 28th

The NEADA Center and technical assistance services will be closed between 5:00 PM on Wednesday, November 26th and 8:30 AM on Monday, December 1st for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will reopen at 8:30am ET on Monday, December 1st.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and we hope you have a good holiday!

12-10-14 Free Webinar! The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Back to Basics from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST.

Even though it's been nearly 25 years since the passing of the ADA, many of us are still often unsure or unclear about what the ADA covers, and who and what it applies to.  This webinar will feature the Northeast ADA Center Technical Assistance Team sharing, and answering, some of the ADA related questions that are still most often asked by our constituents in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, New York and New Jersey.  We will primarily focus on the ADA's definition of disability, the basic requirements related to accessibility and accommodations within employment, public, and private business settings, and how you can file a disability discrimination or ADA violation complaint.  This webinar would likely be of interest to anyone looking to learn and understand more about the basic components of the ADA! To register, visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5051

What's New in Our Region

Upcoming Events in Puerto Rico:

  • 12-3-14 - 8 AM - 12 PM, The Humacao City's International Day of Persons with Disabilities Celebration, Theatre of the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao Campus. This year theme is "There's No Barriers to Humor, Laughs Unlimited". For more information, contact the City at: 787-852-9914 or oapi@humacao.gov.pr
  • 12-11-14 - 8 AM - 3 PM, Puerto Rico Senate to Host a Forum for People with Disabilities in West Region, Convention Center at Hormigueros, PR The Forum will be a dialogue in which people with disabilities, their families, friends and service providers, will discuss the difficulties they face and offer possible solutions. Participants will discuss the following topics: education, employment, housing, transportation, health, assistive technology, physical accessibility, communication for people who are deaf, recreation, and emergency management. For more information, contact the Senate of PR administrative office at: gesterrich@senado.pr.gov or (787) 724-2030 Ext. 2093/2094.
  • 12-12-14 - 8 AM - 1 PM, Event of Blind People Association of Isabela, PR, University of Turabo, Isabela Campus: In commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, this event will include two motivational speeches for people with disabilities, breakfast and lunch. For more information you may contact: (787) 830-7086 or centrodeciegos@yahoo.com

NYC Plans to Revamp Disaster and Crises Accommodations for People with Disabilities

New York City recently announced their plans to improve procedures that help shelter, evacuate and transport residents with disabilities during times of disaster and crises as a way of resolving a 2011 lawsuit filed after Tropical Storm Irene, which accused the city of failing to provide adequate relief services for persons with disabilities. The need for such measures was further highlighted during the devastation of Hurricane Sandy that left many residents trapped in high-rise buildings with no means of exit. The presiding judge of the lawsuit found the city to be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), leading NYC to make sweeping changes to their emergency plans. As a result of the suit, the city has agreed to establish a task force to address high-rise evacuations as well as create a minimum of 60 shelters across the boroughs deemed capable and accessible of sheltering approximately 120,000 persons with disabilities. In the short-term, the city has stated its intention to have somewhere between 8 and 14 of the shelters up and running by mid-October which will be able to hold 10,000-17,000 individuals. For more information on the coming changes, please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/nyregion/city-to-alter-preparations-for-disabled-in-disasters-.html?_r=1

Sheraton Atlantic City New Jersey Convention Center Hotel Reaches Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Justice Department under Title III of the ADA

The Justice Department announced on October 31st that it has reached a settlement agreement under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Under the settlement, the hotel agreed to take steps to come into compliance with title III of the ADA, including improving accessibility related to parking areas, bars and dining areas, toilet rooms, designated accessible guest rooms, and the spa at the hotel. You can read the settlement agreement here: http://www.ada.gov/sheraton_ac_sa.htm

What's New in the Rest of the Country

US Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy Announces the Launch of a Web Portal Focusing on Accessible Workplace Technology

During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy announced its collaboration with ODEP's Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) to launch a comprehensive web portal to aid in the adoption of accessible technology by employers and the technology industry. PEAT will be funded by the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America and will provide action guides for employers as well as a plethora of informational articles and interactive tools in order to build a foundation for policy development and innovations in the field of accessible technology. Read more at: http://www.PEATworks.org

U.S. Labor Department Announces Delay in Enforcement of New Home Care Workers Minimum Wage and Overtime Rules

The U.S. Labor Department announced in October that they will delay their enforcement of the new minimum wage and overtime protections for home care workers, though the protections will go into effect as planned on January 1, 2015. The new rule requires that most home care workers be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and qualify for time-and-a-half for working more than 40 hours per week. The Department of Labor, however, will not enforce these new rules for the first 6 months after the January 1 effective date. In the past, these caregivers were classified as "companions" in federal regulations and were not granted the same rights as other types of employees. Some disability rights groups have raised concerns that the reforms raise the cost of home care without increasing funding for it. Fifteen states already grant minimum wage and overtime protections to direct care workers and an additional six states and the District of Columbia require such workers to be paid the state minimum, according to the Labor Department. The new rule will extend such protections to in-home care workers nationwide. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/10/10/feds-delay-pay-rule/19748/

U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance for Schools Re: Bullying of Students with Disabilities

Stating that it has received more than 2,000 complaints regarding the bullying of students with disabilities in the nation's public elementary and secondary schools since 2009, The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released a guidance letter in October, in conjunction with National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, reminding schools and educators that bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated, including against America's 6.5 million students with disabilities. This latest guidance material makes it clear that the protections for students with disabilities who are bullied on any basis extend to the roughly three quarters of a million students who are not eligible for IDEA services but are entitled to services under the broader Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. You can read the full text of the Guidance Letter here in English: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-bullying-201410.pdf and here in Spanish: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-bullying-201410-sp.pdf

Information for People with HIV Considering Employment

Mark Misrok, President of the National Working Positive Coalition board of directors, was recently interviewed for TheBody.com about the realities and resources for people with HIV considering the worlds of work and benefits. Regarding the intersection of the ADA and people living with HIV, Misrok stated "Many people living with HIV may not need accommodations in order to pursue and obtain employment, but some of us would be able to be employed if we could get accommodations that we need." Read more at: http://www.thebody.com/content/75157/resources-for-people-with-hiv-considering-employme.html?ic=wnhp

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar! 11-20-14 - Veterans Disability Compensation Appeals - Sponsored by VetsFirst, a program of United Spinal Association

For many veterans, filing a claim for disability compensation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the beginning of a long process that may take years to complete. If a claim for benefits is denied, veterans have the option of appealing that denial at different stages. This webinar will provide information on the criteria that must be met in order to have a claim approved, the process for appealing a denial of benefits, and the reasons why you should keep pursing your claim if you believe that you have a good case. To register, please visit:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/100000000064973142;jsessionid=abculXjrXhHgvd2nUm_Ku

Free Webinar! 12-4-14 -Accessible Emergency Transportable Housing

On May 7, 2014, the Access Board issued guidelines that address access to temporary housing provided by the government in emergencies and natural disasters. The new requirements supplement the Board's accessibility guidelines for facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) by adding provisions and exceptions specific to emergency transportable housing units. The supplemental rule covers access for people who use mobility aids as well as communication access for people with hearing loss. This session will provide an in-depth review of these new guidelines. A presenter from FEMA has been invited. To register, please visit: http://www.accessibilityonline.org/Schedule/

Free Webinar! 12-16-14 - Accommodating Persons with Environmental Sensitivities:  Challenges and Solutions

This session will focus on people with chemical, electrical, and/or environmental sensitivities or intolerance's.  The presenters will address the nature of these disabilities and examine federal recognition and policy development.  They will discuss how to accommodate people with environmental illnesses by reducing or eliminating environmental barriers in the public and private sector including housing, employment, healthcare, and in other areas. To learn more and to register, please visit http://adagreat.powweb.com/ProgramInformation/

Special Spotlight: Honoring America's Veterans with Disabilities

As we honor our nation's veterans this month, we wanted to share with our readers some information about the first national memorial honoring veterans with disabilities that was dedicated on October 5th, 2014 in Washington D.C. The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial (AVDLM), located within sight of the U.S. Capitol, serves as a constant reminder of the cost of human conflict and pays tribute to the more than 4 million veterans with disabilities in the U.S. The AVDLM honors veterans with both physical disabilities and "invisible" ones, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. It pays tribute to heroes with disabilities from all conflicts and each branch of the military, the first of the Washington monuments to honor such a broad and diverse group of Americans.  The Memorial covers more than two centuries of heroism and struggle, and also includes the untold stories of the caregivers, family and friends of our country's veterans with disabilities. A star-shaped fountain and reflecting pool, surrounded by glass walls with embedded words and images depicting personal journeys of courage and sacrifice, serves as its focal point, mirroring the flickering light of a ceremonial flame. To learn more about the AVDLM, please visit the Memorials website at: http://www.avdlm.org/

If you are a veteran with a disability, there are a number of veteran's service organizations (VSO's) that may be of assistance to you. Below is a link to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Directory of VSO's with contact information for each organization: http://www.va.gov/vso/VSO-Directory_2013-2014.pdf.

The Northeast ADA Center also has a number of employment related resources available for veterans, service providers, and employers, at our website, www.northeastada.org, or http://makingworkhappen.org/