Newsletter: November 23, 2010

Northeast ADA Center November 23, 2010 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

¿Quieres terminar el año con un 5K?
La agencia de la Administración de Rehabilitación Vocacional (ARV) en Puerto Rico auspicia un 5K para caminantes y corredores denominado "La Carrera de la Esperanza", a beneficio del Instituto Internacional para Personas con Impedimentos en PR un miembro del YAI Network.  El lema de la actividad es "Creando esperanza y oportunidades para personas con impedimentos".  La ruta será plana y estará marcada en Kilómetros y en Millas.  La actividad se llevará a cabo el 5 de diciembre de 2010 y dará inicio a las 7:30 am en el Frente Marítimo en Cataño.  El costo de inscripción antes del día del evento es de $15.00 y el día de la actividad $20.00.  Para inscribirse u obtener más información puede comunicarse al (787) 261 - 7390 o allsportcentral.com.  También puede visitar yaipuertorico.org o en Facebook Yai Iipipr.

NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission Sued for Contracting with Van Services that Discriminate Against People Who Use Wheelchairs:
A lawsuit filed on November 9th by the United Spinal Association charges the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) for allegedly violating the ADA by contracting with a van service that provides public transportation only for able-bodied passengers.  TLC claims that the recent elimination of bus routes is what prompted them to contract with private van companies to operate "group ride" services along former bus routes.  United Spinal states that TLC still has to comply with ADA by making sure any public transportation service they contract with is also accessible to people with disabilities.  To read more, go to: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/157298.

United Spinal Association Sues MTA for Inaccessible Subway Stations:
On October 13th a lawsuit was filed alleging that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) discriminate against the elderly and people who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments by failing to make accessibility improvements during subway station renovations.  The ADA states that whenever alterations are made to an existing transit facility, up to 20% of the budget for those alterations must be spent on improving accessibility for people with disabilities.  The complaint alleges that the MTA has failed to allocate any funding toward accessibility improvements, such as installing ramps or elevators. Read more at: http://www.unitedspinal.org/2010/10/13/united-spinal-association-sues-mta-for-inaccessible-subway-stations/  

NYS Defends Highest Cost in Nation for Caring for People with Disabilities:
The federal government asked New York State (NYS) to justify its Medicaid reimbursement for people with mental disabilities, set at $4,556 per-person daily at nine state institutions. The rate, paid half each by the state and federal governments, is four times higher than any other nationwide and about four times the actual cost of care. NYS provided the federal government documents to make their case, showing costs and rates and contending that the money helped pioneer and pay for a successful system of community care, beyond institutional care. Read more at: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20101101/NEWS01/11010327/State-defends-highest-cost-in-nation-for-mentally-disabled  

Complete an Online New York State (NYS) Voter Survey:
The Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities and the NYS Independent Living Council are conducting an online survey of constituents of NYS Independent Living Centers (ILCs) to get feedback from voters with disabilities regarding their voting experience. The survey covers accessibility and usability of polling sites, voting machines and ballot marking devices; voting privacy; and the helpfulness of poll workers. The results will be compiled into a "Voter Experience Rating Guide" and given to state and local Boards of Elections to promote awareness of voters with disabilities. Complete the short survey at: https://www.cqcapd.state.ny.us/secure/voting.htm
 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Latest Issue of Job Accommodation Network (JAN) E-News:
Topics in this issue of JAN's E-News include disability awareness and effective communication, communication in the workplace, steps for young people with disabilities looking for employment, and small business development as key to economic recovery and job creation. Read all the news at: http://askjan.org/ENews/2010/Enews-V8-I4.htm

Final Regulations Issued on the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA):
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final regulations implementing the employment provisions of GINA, which prohibits use of genetic information to make decisions about health insurance and employment, and restricts the acquisition and disclosure of genetic information.  These final regulations reflect the concerted effort by all Commissioners to ensure that workers, job applicants and employers will have clear guidance on the implementation of this new law. Genetic information includes, among other things, information about individuals' genetic tests and the tests of their family members and family medical history.  Read more at: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2010/11/eeoc-finalizes-law-prohibiting-genetic-discrimination-.html

Amputee wins Discrimination Lawsuit Against Taxi Company:
A one-armed man who was rejected as an applicant for a taxi driving job won a $30,000 settlement from Vegas Western Cab Co.  The applicant met all the job requirements, was experienced as a driver and had a clean driving record. However, the taxi company refused to hire this individual because of his disability resulting in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) suing Vegas Western for violating the ADA. For more information on the requirements of the consent order, go to: http://www.lvrj.com/business/amputee-wins-discrimination-lawsuit-against-taxi-company-104517284.html?ref=284.   

People with Disabilities Included in Federal Emergency Management:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published new guidelines, "Functional Needs Support Services Guidance", to help non-profits, and state governments and planners, provide emergency sheltering services and ensure people with access and functional needs receive lawful and equitable assistance after disasters. Read more at: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2010/11/fema-issues-new-accessible-emergency-sheltering-guidelines.html

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design Now Available:
The Department of Justice has assembled an online version of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design as well as compiled guidance on the Standards from the revised regulations for Titles II and III. To access the Standards and the Guidance, go to: http://www.ada.gov/2010ADAstandards_index.htm.

Resources, Not Cure, Focus of New Developmental Disability Center:
A group of disability advocacy organizations were awarded $1.87 million from the federal government in September to start the new initiative known as Autism NOW: The National Autism Resource and Information Center. Though the name emphasizes autism, those behind the center say it will offer resources for people with all types of developmental disabilities. The goal is to bring proven and effective, community-based solutions to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.  Project organizers claim the center is not about a cure, but about what works now in the communities where people live. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2010/11/05/national-center-open-2011/11075/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=November+5%2C+2010%3A+News+from+Disability+Scoop&utm_source=YMLP&utm_term

October Disability Employment Statistics:
In October the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 14.8 percent, compared to 8.8 percent for people without disabilities.  Access all the statistics at: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t06.htm

 

Opportunities for You!

"Flying with Wheelchairs" Webinar December 7th:
The Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) and the National Network of  ADA Centers is hosting an webinar on the Air Carrier Access Act, specifically as it relates to air travel with wheelchairs, scooters, and service animals, on Tuesday December 7th from 2:00-3:30pm EST.  AAPR members can participate for free and registration for non-members is $35.00 (although non-members can join AAPR for only $10 and thereby participate for free, too).  For more information and to register go to:  http://www.flyfriendlyskies.com/events.html.

 

Special Spotlight: DOJ Sets Precedent with Hilton Hotels Worldwide:

On November 9th, the Department of Justice and Hilton Worldwide Inc. announced a comprehensive settlement agreement under the ADA that will make state-of-the-art accessibility changes to approximately 900 hotels throughout the country. This is the resolution to a lawsuit filed by DOJ alleging that Hilton hotels constructed after the ADA was passed did not comply with the ADA standards and regulations as they should have. Specific complaints included failure to provide the required number of accessible rooms and failure to provide individuals with disabilities the ability to reserve accessible rooms and accommodations. This settlement is the first time the DOJ has required a franchisor to require all franchised or managed hotels to conduct an ADA compliance survey of all of its facilities. Hilton operates a system of hotels throughout the U.S. including such properties as Hilton Garden Inn, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, and many others.  Stipulations of this agreement included, among other things, that all Hilton hotels be surveyed and brought into compliance with Title III of the ADA, the reservation system will be made more accessible to people with disabilities, and the accessibility of Hilton Websites be improved.  According to Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, "The ADA protects the right of people with disabilities to stay in accessible hotel rooms, and to reserve those hotel rooms through the same convenient systems as everyone else...Persons with disabilities who travel for pleasure or business must be able to count on getting the accessible room they reserved, and the hotel must provide the choice of amenities that everyone comes to expect from a major national hotel chain like Hilton." To learn more, see below:

Press Release: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/November/10-crt-1268.html

Consent Decree: http://www.ada.gov/hilton/hilton.htm

Fact Sheet: http://www.ada.gov/hilton/hilton_factsht.htm

  

See you in a few weeks!