Newsletter: June 17, 2015

Northeast ADA Center New Bulletin: June 17, 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

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. 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

Free Webinar! 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Where have we been and where do we still need to go in New York and New Jersey? 7-8-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

July 26th marks the 25th anniversary of the ADA being signed into law. This webinar discussion will engage Joe Amoroso, Director of New Jersey's Division of Disability Services and Jim Weisman, General Counsel for United Spinal Association, as they share their personal and professional perspectives on what have been the greatest successes of the implementation of the ADA, as well as what accessibility and enforcement challenges still remain within NY and NJ. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from the presenters, as well as to ask questions of their own! To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5065 

Free Webinar! 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Where have we been and where do we still need to go in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands?

7-22-15 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

July 26th marks the 25th anniversary of the ADA being signed into law. This webinar discussion will engage William Sanchez, Director of Puerto Rico's EEOC office, and Noah Sacks, Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of the Virgin Islands, as they share their personal and professional perspectives on what have been the greatest successes of the implementation of the ADA, as well as what accessibility and enforcement challenges still remain throughout Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from the presenters, as well as to ask questions of their own!   To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=5066 

What's New in Our Region:

Rockland Center Works to Improve Unemployment for Veterans and People with Disabilities

The Rockland Independent Living Center recently launched a subsidiary in Chestnut Ridge, NY. The Connections Contact Center is designed to put people with disabilities and veterans back to work while providing valuable call center and other related services to businesses throughout Rockland County. "It is a proven model," said George Hoehmann, CEO and Executive Director of the Independent Living Center. "Call centers are run by not-for-profits all over, and we thought this was an opportunity that we could start up and be scalable, ultimately to employ up to 300 call center agents."

Read more at: http://westfaironline.com/71588/rockland-center-takes-on-veteran-disabled-unemployment/

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Federal Lawsuit Challenging Uber X's Exclusion of Service Animals Moves into Discovery

 National Federation of the Blind of California filed an ADA lawsuit alleging that Uber X drivers committed various forms of discrimination, including refusal to transport blind riders with service animals.  The plaintiffs alleged that Uber is subject to the ADA as either a place of "public accommodation" or, alternatively, as a "specified public transportation service" that also has nondiscrimination obligations. In its motion to dismiss, Uber contended that it is not a place of "public accommodation" covered by the ADA. Ultimately, the Court determined that Uber may be a place of "public accommodation" under Title III of the ADA for purposes of surviving a motion to dismiss, because Title III of the ADA lists twelve "places of public accommodation," one of which is a "travel service". Since the Court denied Uber's motion to dismiss on all grounds, Uber has recently answered the plaintiffs' complaint and will now have to defend against these claims. Read more at: Federal Lawsuit Challenging UberX's Exclusion of Service Animals

Justice Department Issues Letter of Findings regarding Augusta County, VA Polling Place Accessibility

On May 13, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a letter, finding that Augusta County, VA is in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by denying voters with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in the County's voting programs, services, and activities because over 80% of the County's polling places are not physically accessible to persons with mobility and vision disabilities. DOJ identified a number of barriers at polling locations to be removed in order to meet the requirements of Title II. You can read the Letter of Findings here: http://www.ada.gov/briefs/augusta_lof.html

Researchers Help People with Disabilities Raise Employment Expectations

The Family Employment Awareness Training, also known as FEAT, has helped individuals and families in Kansas improve their expectations about employment since 2010. Rhode Island contracted with the program, housed in the University of Kansas Beach Center on Disability, late last year, following a Department of Justice consent decree that the state was not providing equitable employment opportunities for all residents. Roughly 10 other states have shown interest as well. The program was born from a Medicaid Infrastructure Grant. Part one of FEAT focuses on increasing expectations for employment by sharing examples of individuals who are successfully competitively employed in their communities and talking about expectations for the transition from school to adulthood, while part two looks at the resources available to assist families in achieving their goals.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-05-people-disabilities-employment.html#jCp

Celebrating 25 years of the ADA: Ensuring Access to Jobs and Electronic Court Documents for People with Disabilities

As part of its celebration of the ADA's 25th Anniversary, this month's Justice Blog spotlights recent successes in access to employment and access to the courts. In the employment arena, the Department of Justice reached settlements with nine public employers to require them to remove illegal questions asking applicants about their disabilities from their job applications. In addition, several agreements required employers to ensure that their online job application websites are accessible in compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA. For more information on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Department of Justice's enforcement activity, please visit www.ADA.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY). 

Father of Boy with Down Syndrome Fired After Asking Co-Workers Not To Use Offensive Language

Christa Miller says on her Facebook page that her boyfriend was allegedly called a "retard" by two female employees at the Chili's in the Pittsburgh Mills Mall.  

Bruce Casper, was fired from his job after complaining to management about employees using offensive language when he made it clear that his son has Down syndrome and he wouldn't tolerate the word, the manager said, "You can leave then," and he did.  This article highlights a campaign started by Nancy Murray, the president of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh, to end the use of words that denigrate individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities, noting that word the word "retard" is derogatory and it's "simply not acceptable."

Read More at: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2015/06/01/father-of-boy-with-down-syndrome-fired-after-asking-co-workers-not-to-use-offensive-language/

The biggest hurdle for lawyers with disabilities: preconceptions

Over the past couple of decades, technological and medical advances have made it much easier (or in some instances, possible) for lawyers with disabilities to perform ordinary tasks in legal work. But at the same time, old attitudes and perceptions have been slow to lose their grasp. "We're still often looked at as a delicate flower or damaged, and that makes it hard to be part of the diverse fabric of the workforce," says Stuart Pixley, a senior attorney at Microsoft Corp. Attitudes and perceptions have long been the fly in most ointments. And a fundamental shift is underway as some law firms, such as Schiff Hardin, take the lead in considering lawyers with disabilities as a minority group-not as people deserving pity or charity.

Read more at: http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/the_biggest_hurdle_for_lawyers_with_disabilities_preconceptions

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar! 7-2-15 - Accessible Swimming Pools and Spas - Question and Answer Session

2:30 PM - 4:00 PM EST

Accessibility On-Line will provide an overview of the scoping and technical requirements for accessible swimming pools and spas and to respond to your burning questions. Session participants are encouraged to submit your questions in advance regarding swimming pool lifts, sloped entries, requirements for multiple pools and spaces on the same site, or on any of the other provisions. Participants are also encouraged to view a previous archived session on the basic provisions for swimming pools and spas. To register, please visit:

http://www.accessibilityonline.org/RegistrationInformation/

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Webinar! 7-14-15 - ADA Update

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

Join the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and JAN as representatives provide participants with the latest developments in the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the workplace, some practical tips for compliance, and answers to tough ADA questions. To register, please visit: http://prod.askjan.org/webcast/registration.cfm

Special Spotlight:  

Justice Department Green Lights New Access Symbol to Represent People with Disabilities

A top official with the Department of Justice recently said that a proposed, more robust disability access sign carries the same legal standing and meaning as the "stick-figure" sign now in use in parking lots across the nation.  That comes as big news to supporters of the new sign who for years have been working in stiff opposition to convince state and local governments, as well as the private sector, to adopt the more active, engaged disability symbol.  Read more at: United Spinal New Access Symbol   

You can learn more about the new Access Icon here: http://www.accessibleicon.org/