Newsletter: May 20, 2015

Northeast ADA Center New Bulletin: May 20, 2015

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Help Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA by Signing the ADA Pledge Today!

Celebrate the progress of the ADA and the 25th ADA Anniversary - July 26, 2015 - with the ADA National Network and its ten regional ADA Centers, including the Northeast ADA Center. Signing this pledge is part of a nationwide observance and recommitment to the ADA, with the goal of receiving 2,500 signatures from both individuals and organizations. By signing the Pledge, stakeholders are recognizing the progress that has been made, by reaffirming the principles of equality and inclusion and recommitting their efforts to reach full ADA compliance. You can learn more about the Pledge at: http://adaanniversary.org/pledgeon

The Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Are you ready for your close up?

We want to hear your story! July 26th marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Northeast ADA Center invites you to help us celebrate! Tell us about how the ADA has changed your work life, your social life and your ability to be involved in your community. Realizing that there is still progress to be made, we'd like to highlight how far we've come in the last 25 years. We are looking to create an ADA anniversary video, and your story could be selected!  In order to be considered for our video and free ADA National Network training registration, you must currently live in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Your story must be submitted no later than June 1, 2015. To learn more and to submit your story, please visit: http://www.northeastada.org/pages/anniversary/index.cfm

Free Webinar! The State of Employment for People with Disabilities: Opportunities and Challenges

5-27-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

It is more and more common that employers recruit, screen, and conduct much of the hiring process online. While this has given employers new ways of finding workers, it has also presented challenges for employers and for people with disabilities. Joe Bontke of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will detail some of the pitfalls that employers may face regarding on line tools and processes under the ADA. He will also look ahead to potential emerging issues in online employment practices and the rights of people with disabilities. To learn more and to register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5061

Free Webinar! Access to Community Recreation Areas

6-10-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

This webinar will provide an overview of the recreation areas required to be accessible under the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, including: amusement rides, boating facilities, fishing piers and platforms, golf courses, miniature golf, and swimming pools and spas. We will also discuss the ADA Title II and Title III obligations to comply with the recreation accessibility requirements for existing recreation areas and those that are newly constructed or altered. To learn more and register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5062

Free Webinar! Access to Sports Facilities

6-24-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

This webinar will provide an overview of the 2010 ADA Standards requirements for access to Sports Facilities. Topics covered are areas of indoor and outdoor sports activity and viewing areas, including facility access requirements for stadiums, as well as court sports. Dressing, fitting, and locker rooms, team or player seating areas and access to exercise equipment and machines will also be reviewed. To learn more and register, please visit:  http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5064

What's New in Our Region:

Accessibility Changes Coming to Madison County, New York

An agreement with Madison County, New York was announced on April 22nd by the U.S. Department of Justice. The County will take important steps to improve access for people with disabilities, such as: physically modifying facilities, routes into buildings, entrances, service areas and counters, restrooms, public telephones, and drinking fountains in addition to posting, modifying its webpage to be accessible publishing and distributing notices to inform members of the public of the provisions of the ADA and their applicability to the County's programs, services and activities. Additionally, they will officially recognize New York telephone relay service as a key means of communicating with individuals who are deaf, are hard-of-hearing, or have speech impairments and train staff in its use. For more information or for a copy of the settlement agreement, please visit the DOJ ADA website at www. ada.gov. Those interested in finding out more about the ADA may also call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

ADA and GINA Wellness Incentive Clarifications in Progress

Republican Senators and Representatives have recently introduced the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act. This Act was introduced after a court denial of an injunction in litigation proceedings where the Employment Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sought to enjoin an employer for their attempt to implement an employee incentive program that the EEOC claimed was too large and therefore prevented the program from being voluntary. The Act seeks to mediate the disparities between the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Additionally, the EEOC has sent a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in an attempt to gain clearance for new programs aimed at improving clarity on what types of financial and other employment incentives managers are allowed to promote. Following an approval of the EEOC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the OMB, the rule will be published in the Federal Register for 60 days in which time a public notice and comment period will commence. For more information on the EEOC's rule or its litigation please visit: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/4-16-15.cfm

Fourth Circuit Court Establishes Positive Precedent in Disability Rights Cases

In response to the court case Jacobs v. NC Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in which a woman claimed that she was unfairly fired by the AOC for her request for accommodation due to her anxiety disorder, the Fourth Circuit court has decided to overturn the district court's dismissal of the suit after reviewing the case under Jacobs' appeal. The Fourth Circuit court concluded that the District Court relied predominantly on the AOC's account of events without due consideration the plaintiffs, and that their summary dismissal of the case under their conclusion that Jacobs did not meet the criteria of the ADA definition of disability was a discriminatory act that did not take into account broader definitions of disability under the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). This decision suggests broader progress in disability rights by reaffirming the need to determine if disability discrimination has occurred and rectifying such discrimination, as opposed to solely focusing on the definition of "disability". For more information on the court case and the Fourth Circuit's decision, please visit: http://www.law360.com/articles/637082/4th-circ-sets-stage-for-disability-litigation-under-ada

Opportunities for You!

 May 28th, 2015 - Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day (DD Day) Conference, Niagara Falls, NY

The 27th Annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day (DD Day) Conference, Niagara Falls, NY will be held on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at the Niagara Falls Event and Convention Center, Niagara Falls, New York. The convention brings together local and regional agencies, industry connected vendors and suppliers, direct support professionals and the individuals that all of these groups support.  The conference is the largest one of its kind in the United States and will offer 13 one-hour workshops. Tickets are available at three levels, with more than 200 free scholarship tickets available for people who qualify.  Luncheon ($20.00) and workshop only tickets ($12.00) are also available. To learn more and register, please visit http://www.ddday.org/.

Webinar Series Focuses on Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace

This June, the NorthWest ADA Center will present a new webinar series titled Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace. Speakers from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) will be leading the series in a two part session geared towards employers, rehabilitation professionals, medical professionals, employment specialists, and individuals with disabilities who are currently employed or seeking employment. The first part of the session will take place on June 2nd and will be led by JAN speakers Kelsey Lewis and Melanie Whetzel. Part One, Accommodating Employees with Mental Health Impairments in the Workplace, will go over accommodation options for specific and more general mental impairments and how to address them in the workplace in compliance with the ADA. Part two will take place on June 23rd and will be led by JAN speakers Traci Jordan and Elisabeth Simpson. Part two, Reasonable Accommodation and the Interactive Process under the Americans with Disabilities Act, will further review the interaction between the ADA and workplace accommodations. The seminar will detail what the ADA requires in terms of asking for and providing accommodations in the workplace, as well as discuss some key terms and definitions pertaining to reasonable accommodations under the ADA. Both seminars will provide real world examples of accommodation problem areas and go over specific solutions for addressing them. Each seminar will be from 10:00-11:30 am PT and registration will close twenty four hours before the first session. Additionally, participants will have the option of obtaining 1.5 CRCC credits or a Letter of Attendance for each session. The cost of registration is $45 per person per site. For more information on the seminar please visit: http://www.northwestada.org/pages/webinars/

Upcoming ADA Conference in Pennsylvania

On June 3rd, the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center will be holding a one-day conference on the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey. Prior to the conference, on June 2nd, there will also be a pre-conference session that will provide an overview of the ADA from 1-4:30 pm at no additional charge. The June 3rd conference will have a panel of speakers from a wide range of state departments including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Access Board and the Federal Transportation Administration. The keynote address will be given by C. Scott Wyatt, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, followed by Wednesday afternoon breakout sessions on topics pertaining to accessibility and design, ADA and employment, general ADA topics and Title II. The registration fee is $149. Mid-Atlantic ADA Network members can also save an additional $25.

For more information on the conference please visit http://www.adainfo.org/  or call: 1-800-949-4232 V/TTY (DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, WV) 301-217-0124 V/TTY

Special Spotlight:  JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ENFORCES WEB SITE ACCESSIBILITY

Website accessibility is not only where your site can be viewed, but how the content is presented to a user. When a user with a hearing or vision disability visits your site, are they going to be able to access and understand the content the same as any other user? While website accessibility primarily focuses on users with disabilities, it can benefit all your users, such as those using mobile devices as well as search engine crawlers.

The Justice Department announced today that it reached settlement agreements under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the City of Parowan, Utah; the City of Española, New Mexico; and the Village of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Under the settlement agreements, each public entity agrees not to conduct any medical examinations or make disability-related inquiries of job applicants before a conditional offer of employment is made. Two of the entities must make their online employment opportunities website and job applications conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, which are industry guidelines for making web content accessible.

To find out more about the ADA or these settlement agreements, call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA.gov website.