Newsletter: February 14, 2011

February 14, 2011 Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

Free Business Continuity Awareness Webinar February 24th:
Staff from the Northeast ADA Center and the Progressive Center for Independent Living, Inc. will present a webinar, "Business Continuity Awareness for Human Service Providers", on February 24th from 1:00-2:30pm EST. Business Continuity is planning to ensure an organization's continuous operation and product/service delivery in the midst of a local, regional, or national emergency. This webinar will address different kinds of emergencies and the challenges and the impacts they can have on individuals with disabilities and provider agencies, conditions under which a business continuity plan might be implemented, and the initial steps needed to develop a business continuity plan. To learn more and to register, go to: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/DBTAC-NextSteps-Feb2011.cfm

Employee in Puerto Rico Loses ADA Discrimination Case:  
An accounts receivable officer who has rheumatoid arthritis failed to demonstrate that she was a qualified individual with a disability under the ADA given that she was unable to perform an essential function of the job- attend work. The court noted that the employee had severe attendance problems and failed to return from an extended disability leave or inform her employer of her plans. Read more at: http://hr.cch.com/netnews/Employment_NetNews/empN122010.asp#LN4

Lack of Wheelchair Accessible Taxis in New York City (NYC):
On January 13th, a group of disability rights advocates filed a lawsuit against the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) asserting that the lack of wheelchair accessible taxicabs in NYC violates the ADA. With only 231 of more than 13,000 NYC taxicabs accessible, the complaint argues that the TLC ignores the needs of individuals with disabilities.  The lawsuit seeks no money, only that the TLC implement rules requiring that all current taxis be replaced with ones that are wheelchair accessible.  Read more at: http://www.examiner.com/government-in-new-york/disabled-sue-city-over-lack-of-wheelchair-accessible-taxis. Meanwhile, NYC is currently involved in a "Taxi of Tomorrow" competition and will be selecting a new design for the 13,000 taxicab fleet. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), a longtime champion of disability rights, has urged NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to select a wheelchair accessible taxi in this competition. Through this process, NY could set the standard for accessibility for taxis across the nation. Read more at:  http://www.iowapolitics.com/index.iml?Article=225768

Acuerdo Colaborativo en Puerto Rico:
El Consejo Estatal de Rehabilitación de Puerto Rico firmó un acuerdo colaborativo con la empresa Janssen Ortho. A través de este acuerdo se establecerán proyectos comunitarios y se trabajarán áreas que mejoren la calidad de vida de las personas con discapacidades.  El acuerdo incluye una serie de intervenciones con los gerentes y supervisores de la empresa, para reforzar su sensibilidad y entendimiento hacia las personas con discapacidad que se incorporen a la organización. Además, se establecerá un grupo de apoyo para los empleados que tienen hijos con discapacidades, en el que se les brindarán herramientas para el manejo de los retos que enfrentan en la vida diaria. Puede comunicarse con el Consejo al: (787) 750-5288.

New York (NY) Health Insurance and Prescription Saver Plans:
The NY Bridge Plan is a temporary program aimed at providing affordable health insurance to people with pre-existing medical conditions who are currently uninsured. An overview of the program, along with coverage, benefits, rates, enrollment information and more can be found at: http://www.nybridgeplan.com. Also, for eligible individuals between the ages of 50 to 64, or who have disabilities, prescription drug discounts can be obtained by using NY Prescription Saver. It is a free pharmacy discount card that can be used to lower the cost of drugs by an average of 24% for brands and 67% for generics. To learn more and to apply, go to:
http://nyprescriptionsaver.fhsc.com.

Curso de Leguaje de Señas Ahora Requisito para la Licencia de Técnico de Emergencias Médicas en PR
La Ley Núm. 184 del 7 de diciembre de 2010 en Puerto Rico, enmendó la Ley de la Junta Examinadora de Técnicos de Emergencias Médicas.  Esta enmienda incorpora como requisito para esta licencia, tomar un curso de lenguaje de señas en una institución certificada.  Si usted tiene actualmente licencia para ejercer esta profesión en PR, debe tomar el curso de lenguaje de señas para renovar su licencia. Esta Ley entrará en vigor 180 días después de su aprobación. Para más detalles puede contactar esta Junta Examinadora en el: (787) 753-4099.

U.S. and Metropolitan Opera Settle Lawsuit About Wheelchair Access:
The U.S. government and New York's Metropolitan Opera (Met) settled a lawsuit on wheelchair access less than an hour after it was filed when the opera house agreed to comply with the ADA. The Met agreed to install additional wheelchair and companion seating, renovate its restrooms, install Braille signs and add more wheelchair-accessible drinking fountains. The settlement requires the Met to eliminate remaining obstacles to movement for individuals with disabilities and ensure seats are reserved for those who use wheelchairs. Read more at:  http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110113/stage_nm/us_opera_wheelchairs_1

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Department of Justice's (DOJ) ADA Settlement with H&R Block:
On January 31st, the DOJ announced a comprehensive settlement agreement with H&R Block Tax Services to ensure effective communication when providing individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing income tax preparation services and courses at more than 11,000 offices nationwide. This agreement resolves an ADA complaint filed by an individual who is deaf. The agreement requires that H&R Block, among other things, provide auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreters, to clients who are hearing impaired and pay $5,000 in damages to the individual who filed the complaint and a $20,000 civil penalty. Read the press release at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/January/11-ag-131.html and the full settlement agreement at: http://www.ada.gov/h&r_block.htm

White House Disability Advisor Speaks to Disability Advocates:
Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, spoke about seven accomplishments of the disability community in 2010 at the Annual Meeting of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). Over 150 representatives from CCD's 112 member organizations were present.  Dale also mentioned several priorities of the Administration for 2011, including the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities by the U.S. Senate and the reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act.  Read full article at: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2011/01/disability-advisor-at-white-house-speaks-to-advocates.html

Fact Sheet on Serving People with Psychiatric Disabilities in ILCs:
The Temple University Collaborative, in conjunction with Independent Living Center (ILC) staff and mental health consumers from around the country, has created a 20-page publication to help ILCs better respond to the needs of people with mental illnesses. This fact sheet can be downloaded free of charge at: http://www.tucollaborative.org/pdfs/Toolkits_Monographs_Guidebooks/community_inclusion/CIL_Fact_Sheet.pdf 

National Disability Rights Network Calls for Eliminating Sub-Minimum Wage:
The National Disability Rights Network has released a report calling for an end to segregated work, sheltered employment, and sub-minimum wage. The report indicates that segregated work results in people with disabilities being isolated and paid only a fraction of the minimum wage, thereby reinforcing a life of poverty. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/01/19/sheltered-workshops-report/11974/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=January+21,+2011:+News+from+Disability+Scoop&utm_source=YMLP&utm_term=. 

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Seeks New CEO:
The AAPD, our country's largest cross-disability membership organization, seeks a Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  AAPD aims to organize individuals with disabilities to be a powerful force for political, social, and economic change and the CEO will provide the direction, vision, and leadership for developing and fulfilling AAPD's goals. Candidates must have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree, extensive executive leadership experience, outstanding interpersonal skills, and be someone with whom the disability community will identify with as a powerful representative. Learn more about the search and application process at: http://www.aapd.com/site/c.pvI1IkNWJqE/b.6543659/k.EB34/AAPD_President__CEO_Position_Description.htm

Latest Disability Rights Online News:
The latest bi-monthly update about the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights Division's activities in the area of disability rights is now available. Some of the topics covered include the major settlement agreement with Hilton hotels, two large movie theaters' agreement to improve accessibility, recent Project Civic Access settlements, and recent activities to enforce the Olmstead decision. Access all of the news at: http://www.ada.gov/disabilitynews.htm

Latest Job Accommodation Network (JAN) E-News:
The latest edition of JAN's E-News is now available and includes information on multimedia accessibility and the changing workplace; going green in the workplace; phobias in the workplace; and the job accommodation process for individuals with speech and language impairments. Read all the news at: http://AskJAN.org/enews/2011/Enews-V9-I1.htm

 

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar Series for Businesses:
The Southeast ADA Center, part of the National Network of ADA Centers, has announced its 2011 four-part Webinar Series for Business which focuses on leading practices that advance disability inclusion within business. Leaders in the field will share their experience, success, and practical methods for promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. Webinars are free and will take place 1:30-3:00pm EST on February 17th, April 21st, June 16th, and September 15th. Topics are flexible workplaces, the corporate business case for including disability-owned businesses, access and accommodations, and online applications and website accessibility.  Register at: http://sedbtac.org/webinars/myportal.php

Employment Teleconference & Webinar Series for Independent Living Centers:
The CIL-NET, a national training and technical assistance project that works to strengthen the independent living movement, presents a four-part teleconference and webinar series, "The Strategic Management Series: Sound Employment Practices for Centers for Independent Living" which will run every two weeks beginning March 2nd until April 13th from 3:00-4:30pm EST. The cost for the entire series is $150 and topics are effective hiring practices, supervision and evaluation, discipline and departure, and managing workplace risks. The presenter is Melanie Lockwood Herman, Executive Director, Nonprofit Risk Management Center. Register at: https://secure.xo.com/ncil.org/store/index.php

Scholarship Competition for Students with Disabilities Ends March 4th:
disABLEDperson, Inc.'s Spring 2011 nationally based scholarship competition for college students with disabilities will end March 4th. The award is $1,000 and applicants must be a U.S. citizen, a full time student enrolled in a 2 or 4 year college or university, and a registered member of disABLEDperson.com. To register and/or apply, go to www.disABLEDperson.com.  

 

Special Spotlight-  Federal Government Strives to Improve the  Employment of People with Disabilities:

On the 20th Anniversary of the ADA, President Obama issued Executive Order 13548 directing Executive departments and agencies to improve their efforts to recruit, hire, and retain federal workers with disabilities. The Administration wants the Federal government to be a model in the recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities. Agencies have until March 8th to submit their plans for increasing employment of people with disabilities.  Read below for more information on this Executive Order and examples of some agencies' positive work in this area:

Memorandum from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to the heads of Executive departments and agencies about submitting their plans: http://www.chcoc.gov/transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=3228

America Has Talent, a project by Monster Government Solutions, found and highlighted a group of federal agencies that are making headway on key challenges related to recruiting and hiring for hard-to-fill positions and to attracting special groups. Download this publication at: http://www.ourpublicservice.org/OPS/publications/viewcontentdetails.php?id=153

  

See you in a few weeks!