Newsletter: January 22, 2010

Northeast ADA January 22, 2010 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

New York City's Saks Fifth Avenue Settles Disability Discrimination Suit:
Saks Fifth Avenue, a major retailer based in NYC, decided to settle a disability discrimination suit brought against them by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of an employee with a disability who was allegedly fired from a Saks in New Orleans due to her disability.  Saks has agreed to pay the employee $170,000 and train staff on disability discrimination. For the full article, go to:  http://www.infozine.com/new/storiesView/sid/39402/

Settlement Agreements Regarding the Use of Electronic Book Readers:
The Department of Justice has entered separate agreements under the ADA with three different universities, including Pace University in New York City, regarding the use of the electronic book reader Kindle DX in a classroom setting. Kindle is a hand-held technological device that simulates the experience of reading a book. In general, the universities have agreed not to purchase, recommend, or promote use of the Kindle DX, or any other electronic book reader, unless the devices are fully accessible to students who are blind and have low vision. To read each settlement agreement, go to: http://www.ada.gov/settlemt.htm

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

SHRM Renews Agreement with Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP):
Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of ODEP, and Laurence O'Neil, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), signed a two year alliance agreement. The rationale for the renewal is that the need for more job opportunities for people with disabilities is still a crucial issue, despite the passage of the ADA. O'Neil said SHRM is "delighted to renew its agreement with ODEP. We believe that this...partnership can help the ADA fulfill its promise and achieve...full inclusion in the American workplace." To read more, go to: http://www.shrm.org/about/news/Pages/ODEPRenewed.aspx

Rejected Job Applicant with a Disability Wins $55,000 Settlement:
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a job applicant who is blind won a suit against Sentry Credit Inc. for employment discrimination during the application/interview process. The applicant claimed that when she met with Sentry's manager in person, the manager, upon realizing her disability, reportedly said, "This isn't going to work out". In addition to compensation, Sentry has agreed to post a notice in its workplace explaining its commitment to the ADA and conduct discrimination training.  For the full article, go to: http://seattle.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2010/01/04/daily23.html

New OPM Deputy Director Griffin Emphasizes Workplace Diversity:
Christine Griffin, the new Deputy Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), is now the point person to improve the federal government's record on hiring and diversity. According to EEOC data, the percentage of people with disabilities in the federal workforce has dropped since 1994. The OPM is preparing to overhaul the federal government's defective hiring processes. Griffin says it is essential for agencies to look for and be aware of unintended barriers to hiring and advancement.  To read more, go to: http://www/washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/11/AR2010011103665.html

Kathy Martinez to Appear At Enable America Disability Employment Forum:
Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, will be the keynote speaker at Enable America's annual Disability Employment Forum in February. Enable America is a non-profit organization that is working to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. This forum brings together employers, community organizations, and service providers to hear experts discuss the latest issues surrounding disability employment. To read more, go to: http://prusa.net/index.php?option=com&task=view&id=314586&Itemid=30

ODEP and Federal Partners Launch Listening Series:
From January until March, ODEP and its Federal partners will hold a series of six disability employment Listening Sessions. They seek input from individuals with disabilities, employers, advocacy organizations, and service providers regarding issues critical to increasing employment and labor market opportunities for people with disabilities. To learn more, go to: http://disabilitylisteningtour.com/

National Council on Disability (NCD) Releases Two Timely Reports:
The NCD has released two reports, "The State of Housing in America in the 21st Century: A Disability Perspective" and "Workforce Infrastructure in Support of People with Disabilities: Matching Human Resources to Service Needs". In the Housing report, the research was conducted to evaluate public laws, policies, and programs affecting housing options available to those with disabilities, analyze supports available through public and private sectors, and make recommendations for improving housing opportunities. In the Workforce report, research is aimed at better positioning the human resources sector, providing data that organizations can use to understand and address the supply-demand gaps in the disability-related workforce, and building industry capability to manage a sustainable, skilled disability workforce. Access both reports at: http://www.ncd.gov/

 

Opportunities for You!

FREE "Women with Disabilities" Webinar on January 27th:
The DBTAC-Northeast ADA Center is conducting a webinar, "Women with Disabilities: Effects of Gender, Race, and Disability on Employment", on January 27th from 1:00-2:30pm EST free of charge! The presenter, DBTAC-Northeast Research Associate, Larry Featherston, Ph.D., C.R.C., C.V.E., will discuss the latest research on discrimination against women with disabilities in the workplace, focusing on wage discrimination. You can register online at: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/dbtac-Women_w_Disabilities.cfm

Webinar on Employment of Veterans with TBI and PTSD January 28th:
One More Way and the U.S. Department of Labor are hosting a webinar, "Demystifying Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the Workplace" on January 28th from 1:00-2:00pm EST. Experts from the America's Heroes at Work initiative will share ways that employers and rehabilitation professionals can create a welcoming and productive work- environment for Veterans. Fee is $29.95 and 1 CEU credit will be given. For more details and to register, go to:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/885234354

Free Four-Part Series on Paratransit Operations in February:
As part of Easter Seals Project ACTION Promising Practices and Solutions in Accessible Transportation Series and in conjunction with the National Network of ADA Centers, a free four-part series on Paratransit Operations will be delivered each Wednesday in February from 2:00-3:00pm EST. Sessions will be presented via webinar and teleconference and topics include Origin to Destination, PCAs, Companions and Visitors, Scheduling and the Appeals Process. Registration deadline is January 29th. For more information, go to: http://projectaction.easterseals.com/site/Calendar?view=Detail&id=30481

Free DBTAC Webinar with U.S. Access Board February 7th:
On February 7th from 2:30-4:00pm EST, the National Network of ADA Centers will hold the next session in their Accessibility Online Webinar series. The U.S. Access Board will provide a look at their rulemaking efforts, enforcement of the Architectural Barriers Act, research and training programs, and helpful resources and guidance on accessibility.  Register at www.accessibilityonline.org. Questions can be directed to 877-232-1990 (V/TTY) or adacourses@adagreatlakes.org.

Web Course on Career Development March 3-16th:
The Training Resource Network (TRN) has opened registration for the popular Web Course: Career Development for Youth and Adults with Disabilities to be held March 3rd-16th. This is a two-week, 20-hour web training on developing career goals through innovative vocational assessment, career development skills, and vocational profiling for youth and adults with disabilities. Topics will include principles of self-determination, the discovery process, and situational assessment. Self-employment, career exploration, and self-presentation will also be addressed. The course will be facilitated by Rob Hoffman, a well-known consultant regarding employment of people with disabilities and registration is $149. To learn more and to register, go to: https://trn-store.com/drupal/node/918

26th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities in April:
The 26th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities, "Synergy: Together We Act", will be held April 12-13th at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Early bird registration ends January 22nd.  For conference details and registration information, go to: http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/

Don't Forget These FREE Online Opportunities Provided by DBTAC:

•§        DBTAC-Northeast Web Accessibility Webinar Series- http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/dbtac-webinar.cfm

•§        Employer Webinar Series on the inclusion of employees with disabilities- http://sedbtac.org/webinars/index.php#content

•§        Accessible Technology Online Seminar Series for businesses- http://www.ada-audio.org/Webinar/AccessibleTechnology/Schedule/

 

Special Spotlight:  The Rise in EEOC Disability Discrimination Complaints:

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that 93,277 workplace discrimination charges were filed with EEOC during fiscal year 2009. This was the second highest level ever. Monetary relief obtained for victims totaled more than $378 million. Their data also showed that private sector job bias charges, which include those filed against state and local governments, alleging discrimination based on disability, religion, and/or national origin hit record highs, with disability complaints increasing ten percent representing the largest increase of any category. Of the 21,451 disability discrimination complaints filed, 4,244 cases were found to be legitimate.  In addition to the passage of the ADA Amendments Act, the EEOC credits the high levels of discrimination filings to a number of factors such as greater public accessibility to the EEOC, economic conditions, increased diversity in the labor force, employees' greater awareness of their legal rights, and changes to the EEOC's intake practices that have reduced the number of steps needed to file a charge. To read more, see the below articles.

EEOC January 6th Press Release:  http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/1-6-10.cfm

Law.com article "EEOC: 2009 Discrimination Complaints Neared Record High":  http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202437752762

Abcnews.go.com article "Job Bias Claims Based on Disability, Religion Rise":  http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wirestory?id=9490631&page=1

Disability Scoop article "Record Numbers Allege Disability Discrimination on the Job":  http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2010/01/07/eeoc-complaints-2009/6595/

 

See you in a few weeks!