Newsletter: September 30, 2011

Northeast ADA Center September 30, 2011 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

Disability Inclusive Diversity Conference in New Jersey (NJ) November 3rd:
The Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD) 12th annual National Conference, "Exploring Disability-Inclusive Diversity", will be November 3rd at Hyatt Morristown in Morristown, NJ. Presentation topics will include veterans with disabilities, employment challenges for students with disabilities and an employer panel discussion on the conference's theme. Learn more and register at: http://www.cosdonline.org/registration-information

Top Eateries in New York (NY) Face Disability Review:
NY's top restaurants are now under review to ensure that they are accessible to people with disabilities. Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that his office is leading the investigation to verify that these restaurants are complying with the ADA. Owners of these popular eateries will have the opportunity to assess their establishments' accessibility, which will be followed by official investigators to verify these reports. Read more at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904194604576581224071565118.html

El Departamento de Justicia de PR firmó una Estipulación con el DJEU
El 29 de agosto de 2011 el Departamento de Justicia de Puerto Rico (DJPR) firmó un Estipulación con el Departamento de Justicia de E.U. (DJEU) en relación a una demanda presentada el 14 de abril de 2011 bajo el Título I de la Ley de Americanos con Discapacidades (ADA por sus siglas en inglés).  Las alegaciones fueron presentadas por una empleada que usa silla de ruedas, quien fue transferida a un edificio inaccesible y negada de los acomodos razonables.  El caso fue referido al DJEU, luego de que fallaran los intentos de conciliación de la Comisión de Igualdad de Oportunidades en el Empleo (EEOC por sus siglas en inglés).  Como parte de la Estipulación, el DJPR no sólo no incurrirá en prácticas discriminatorias basadas en discapacidades contra empleados y solicitantes, sino que también proveerá adiestramiento sobre todos los aspectos del Título I de la ADA a todos los supervisores actuales y nuevos.  Además, el DJPR pagará $45,000 a la empleada.  El DJEU puede corroborar el cumplimiento de esta Estipulación en cualquier momento, durante los 2 años en que estará vigente.  

Federal Judge Rules Jersey City PATH Station Must Be Accessible:
In Jersey City, a federal judge has found that the new entranceway built in the Grove Street PATH Station has violated the ADA. This decision is the end of a six year battle with the Port Authority, which started in 2005 with the completion of the new entrance that was inaccessible. The ADA requires all new transportation entities, and those undergoing renovations, to provide accessibility. The Port Authority now has to provide United Spinal Association and others in depth plans for making the station completely accessible. See the full story at: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/09/federal_judge_rules_grove_stre.html

Deaf-Accessible Street Alarms to Stay in New York City (NYC) Despite Abuse:
In NYC, deaf-accessible street alarms will remain regardless of their abuse in terms of drawing false alarms. The city has tried to get rid of them for more than a decade due to their high expense and inefficiency but, under the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA, it is the city's responsibility to provide and maintain emergency services to people with disabilities to enable proper reporting of emergencies. Read more at: http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/08/16/39031.htm

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

HELP Committee has Hearing on Future of Disability Employment:
On September 15th, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing on the future of employment for people with disabilities. Discussions ensued about the reasons why people with disabilities had such high unemployment rates. Some leaders stated that everyone has the right to work in an integrated employment setting. There was also a consensus that people with disabilities are entitled to and need more opportunities in the work place. To read more, go to: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2011/09/help-committee-holds-hearing-on-the-future-of-employment-for-people-with-disabilities.html

"Price is Right" Game Show to Become More Accessible:
A comprehensive settlement agreement has been reached under the ADA with Freemantle Productions, Inc., and CBS Broadcasting Inc. to ensure equal access for individuals with disabilities to The Price Is Right television game show. Read the agreement at: http://www.ada.gov/price-is-right.htm

New Rule Strengthens Disability Protection at Rail Stations:
A new regulation has been put in place by the U.S. Department of Transit to require passenger railroads to install new station platforms that are accessible for any person with disabilities to enter and exit any train entrance. The new alterations could possibly include car-borne lifts, station-based lifts, or mini-high platforms. Learn more at: http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2011/dot12311.html   

Federal Workplace Mentoring Primer Released:
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) developed the Federal Workplace Mentoring Primer for any federal employee interested in learning the basics of workplace mentoring and how they can be applied within the federal government. Access the primer at: http://askearn.org/fed-fwm.cfm    

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Releases Accommodations Publication:
Since 2004, JAN has been interviewing employers about the costs and benefits of reasonable accommodations.  JAN shares the findings in the "Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact" report. Read the updated version of Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact

Federal Communications Commission Innovation and Accessibility Presentation:
On September 16th, Dr. Alan Gregerman gave a very well received presentation at the FCC on Innovation and Accessibility, as part of the FCC's Accessibility and Innovation Initiative.  His presentation has been posted and can be seen with open captions on FCC's website at: http://www.fcc.gov/events/accessibility-and-innovation-brown-bag-lunch and on the FCC YouTube Channel at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5399tdcJOq8   

ODEP Releases HIV/AIDS Roundtable Proceedings Report:
All of the policies and practices that the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) develops and influences to increase the employment of people with disabilities include people living with HIV/AIDS. On April 8th, ODEP convened a roundtable to explore ideas about improving employment opportunities and outcomes and reducing stigma and discrimination for people living with HIV/AIDS. Read the report at: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/HIVAIDS.htm

Inclusive Employment Model Gains Steam:   
Inspired by Walgreens' efforts to employ people with disabilities, another Fortune 500 company is engaging in inclusive employment. Proctor & Gamble opened a packaging facility in Maine where at least 30 percent of those hired will be people with physical or developmental disabilities.  Read more at: http://bit.ly/nzGkxb

Whirlpool Adds New Freestanding Range to ADA-Compliant Collection:
The Whirlpool Brand has extended its ADA-Compliant Collection, which is intended for all. Now available is a variety of more than 150 accessible appliances that are ADA approved with handles, buttons, and graphics placed on the front, and positioned closer to the user. There are also appliances with larger labeling for easier visibility, ovens with large windows, and drawer dishwashers. For full story, go to http://www.marketwatch.com/story/suite-news-whirlpool-brand-adds-new-freestanding-range-to-ada-compliant-collection-2011-09-07

 

Opportunities for You!

Take Survey on Employment Issues for People with Disabilities:
Share your unique perspective on emerging employment issues such as disability disclosure in the workplace, leave as a reasonable accommodation, and job applicant screening. The survey is co-sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities and Cornell University and the results will provide a foundation for guiding policy change around these issues. Take the brief survey at: https://sri.cornell.edu/AAPD/AAPD_N/survey.cfm?page=_main&firstLogin=true&CFID=153825230&CFTOKEN=73789187

Comment on Rights-of-Way Guidelines by November 23rd:
The U.S. Access Board has issued proposed guidelines for accessible public rights-of-way that are available for public comment until November 23rd. The guidelines address access to newly built or altered streets and sidewalks and provide design criteria for pedestrian access routes, street crossings, curb ramps and blended transitions, on-street parking, street furniture, and other elements. Read more at: http://www.access-board.gov/news/row-nprm.htm.

 

Special Spotlight-  October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month:

October has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This year's theme is "Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities," which promotes the valuable contributions people with disabilities make to America's workplaces and economy. Learn more about NDEAM and order posters, available in English, Spanish, and other languages, at: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/NDEAM.htm. Read on to learn more about local, state/territory, and national efforts to celebrate this month!   

September Edition of Business Sense Spotlights National Disability Employment Awareness Month: http://www.dol.gov/odep/BusinessSense/2011/bsense0911.htm

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network will be hosting four weekly webinars in celebration of NDEAM.  The brief webinars will take place every Thursday in October from 2:00-2:30pm ET. Dates and topics will include:
October 6: Beyond Yellow Ribbons: Research on Employer Preparedness to Include Veterans with Disabilities in the Workplace; October 13: The Value of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit: An Employer Perspective; October 20: EEOC Charge Data: What We Can Learn About the Employment of Persons with Disabilities; and October 27: The Workforce Recruitment Program: Tapping the Talent of Students and Graduates with Disabilities. Learn more at: http://www.askearn.org/m-events.cfm?Show=month&CURRENTDATE=10/15/11

Free Webcast October 12th 12:00-1:00pm ET with Kathleen Martinez:
Cornell University's Industrial & Labor Relations School welcomes Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, Kathleen Martinez, during NDEAM for a timely discussion on the current state of employment for people with disabilities. Ms. Martinez will address the importance of providing access for people with disabilities to U.S. business and the economy; President Obama's initiative to increase employment of people with disabilities in the federal sector; and insight and advice on what organizations can do to advance efforts to support and employ people with disabilities. In order to participate in the webcast, you will need computer access with high speed Internet connection. The required browser is Internet Explorer. ILR Windows users need to install Windows Media.  Macintosh users need to install the Silverlight plug in.  Access the system requirements at: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/techServices/services/multimedia/SystemRequirements.html   

Resources for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities:
For many Americans with disabilities, self-employment can offer empowerment, control and the flexibility to succeed. Home-based businesses in particular can accommodate an individual's unique needs in a way that a more traditional corporate workplace may not. Starting and managing a business as an individual with a disability can be a significant undertaking - not only for one's finances, but for maintaining one's agility, stamina and determination. Access resources that will aid the small business owner at:  http://blog.govdelivery.com/usodep/2011/07/by-penny-pickett-associate-administrator-for-entrepreneurial-development-us-small-business-administration-more-and-more.html

Disability Employment Initiative Awards More Funds:
The Department of Labor has awarded more than $21 million in disability employment initiative funding to seven more states, for a total of sixteen, to improve education, training, and employment opportunities and outcomes for individuals who are unemployed, underemployed, and/or receiving Social Security Disability benefits: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/odep/odep20111421.htm

Bills in Congress Could Impact Recruitment and Hiring:
Two bills introduced in Congress would prohibit employers from considering an applicant's status as unemployed in filling job openings. If some version of this legislation passes, employers will need to rethink how they recruit and interview job candidates. Read more at: http://www.shrm.org/LegalIssues/EmploymentLawAreas/Pages/LegislationWouldBarHiring.aspx

Interfaith Statement of Solidarity:
The Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition has put forth a statement of solidarity to draw support from various religious groups who recognize that the high unemployment rates of people with disabilities in this country needs to be improved. By signing this statement, these organizations take a pledge to help decrease these unemployment rates and create more work opportunities. Read more at: http://www.aapd.com/site/c.pvI1IkNWJqE/b.6240861/k.D594/IDAC_Statement_of_Solidarity.htm

 

See you in a few weeks!