April 15, 2014
We post our bi-weekly bulletin to keep you up to date on disability-related resources, news, and other items of interest. Make sure to also check our "News" section to find significant updates from previous bulletins that are still relevant. This information is being provided solely for non-commercial, nonprofit educational purposes, including news reporting and research. It is not intended for commercial purposes. Further, we understand that our readers generally read the articles and information online, at the Web sites provided in the hypertext links, rather than relying solely on our synopses or copies. We are not responsible for the accessibility or the content of other Web sites. Please be aware that some links provided are time sensitive, and may become inactive at any time.
We include links to articles, editorials and opinion pieces, press releases, and other materials that represent diverse perspectives. Inclusion does not imply endorsement of any products, services, sources, information, or opinions expressed in these materials.
The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center is currently recruiting for three positions, Office Administrator, Training Coordinator, and Project Specialist.
The unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities is up slightly as more people seek work, the U.S. Department of Labor shared recently. The jobless rate for those with disabilities rose to 14.5 percent in March, up from 14.3 percent the month prior.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives employers more flexibility than some may realize, according to the staff of the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). Employers can for example, require employees who receive long-term disability (LTD) insurance benefits to give up their jobs, JAN officials say. When workers work fewer hours because of a disability, an employer can end or reduce their health benefits, as long as the employer is not discriminating on the basis of disability, the officials say. When an employer downsizes, it can lay off employees with disabilities for the same reasons it lays off other employees, the officials add.
Articles from three NIDRR-funded projects appeared in the April issue of Disability and Health Journal. The Health and Health Care Disparities Among Individuals with Disabilities project published Health. The recently-completed field-initiated project on Development published Validity. The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with a Physical Disability: Reducing Secondary Conditions and Enhancing Health and Participation, Including Employment published Social support, depression, and physical disability: Age and diagnostic group effects. Abstracts of these articles are available free of charge. Full text may be ordered through NARIC's document delivery service.
Governor Martin O’Malley recently announced that Catherine A. Raggio, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) will retire at the end of April. Appointed by Governor O’Malley in February 2007, Raggio came to the State of Maryland with more than 30 years of experience in the disability community. Prior to her appointment, Raggio was the founder of Independence Now, a center for independent living (CIL) serving Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and served as its executive director for 12 years. Governor O’Malley also announced that MDOD Deputy Secretary George P. Failla, Jr., with 19 years experience in State government, would assume the post as Acting Secretary. Failla joined MDOD in 2008. As Deputy Secretary, he directed the development, implementation and communication of MDOD’s policy initiatives across state government through the State Disabilities Plan; supervised the Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MD TAP) and the Access Maryland Capital Program; and coordinated the Department’s legislative agenda before the Maryland General Assembly.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched a web library, called “AccessInfo E-mail List Announcements” of its archived AccessInfo notifications. AccessInfo is an email service by which the FCC’s Disability Rights Office sends periodic updates on disability-related matters happening at the FCC. With a free subscription to AccessInfo, consumers are kept informed about FCC proposed rulemakings, orders, public notices, news releases and events pertaining to disabilities issues. To join the thousands of people who are on the AccessInfo subscribers list, send an email toAccessInfo@fcc.gov, and write “subscribe” in either the subject line or the main body. It’s your easy way to keep informed about what’s happening at the FCC on disability issues!
More U.S. employers are finding a use for disabled workers in jobs requiring significant attention to detail, such as software and customer-service jobs. Software maker SAP told The Wall Street Journal they're actively recruiting people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to fill such positions. And among other shining examples, Freddie Mac has joined with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network to provide paid internships to students and graduates in fields such as information technology and finance.
On April 3, mothers of sixteen children and young adults with developmental disabilities filed a lawsuit against Walt Disney theme parks for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. They allege that the new accommodations under the Disability Access Service program, which was implemented in October 2013, does not adequately serve individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities who are unable to wait in long lines for an extended period of time.
Department of Justice Reaches Landmark Americans with Disabilities Act Settlement Agreement with Rhode Island
The Justice Department recently announced that it has entered into a statewide settlement agreement that will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for approximately 3,250 Rhode Islanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The landmark ten year agreement is the nation’s first statewide settlement to address the rights of people with disabilities to receive state funded employment and daytime services in the broader community, rather than in segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs. Approximately 450,000 people with I/DD across the country spend their days in segregated sheltered workshops or in segregated day programs. The agreement significantly advances the department's work to enforce the Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C, which requires persons with I/DD be served in the most integrated setting appropriate.
Vallejo-based Pace Solano has settled charges it violated the ADA when it withdrew an employment offer after discovering the applicant’s disability. Pace Solano provides services for Solano County, CA citizens with developmental disabilities. A pre-employment examination revealed partial paralysis in the applicant’s left arm. Even though she had successfully completed all employment tests and the company’s occupational health provider cleared her to work, the company still refused to hire her. The woman filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging that Pace Solano violated the ADA. The organization agreed to a five-year consent decree under which it will pay the applicant $130,000 and train all of its personnel concerning the ADA.
An employee injured his back while working in the kitchen of the Movie Tavern restaurant in Philadelphia. His doctors initially said he shouldn’t lift more than 10 pounds. He received workers’ compensation benefits until he was cleared for work without restrictions. Then he hurt his back again. Shortly after his benefits were reinstated, the restaurant fired him, allegedly for discriminating against His¬¬¬panic workers. The employee sued, alleging ADA violations. He claimed that the discrimination charges were just an excuse to discriminate against him, either for being disabled or in retaliation for receiving workers’ comp or both.
Trainings and other Opportunities
This is a virtual career fair developed in partnership with the DC Metro Business Leadership Network, the National Youth Transitions Center and the Youth Transitions Collaborative.
May 8, 2014 2:00 – 3:30 PM EDT
The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center sponsors this employment panel with three companies representing the Mid-Atlantic Business Leadership Networks who share their journeys to successful disability diversity inclusion as a best business practice. Lockheed Martin, Hershey and The Eagle Group have all taken steps to maximize workforce productivity and employee engagement by hiring and retaining Individuals with Disabilities (IWDs).
May 1, 2014 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Join The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center for an engaging session as representatives from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Corrections discuss their strategies to provide an inclusive communication environment for deaf and hard of hearing offenders. Learn the methods they used to provide these services within the corrections environment to comply with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Webinar: Web Accessibility Analytics and Open Source Tools for Inspecting and Auditing Web Resources for Accessibility
The NIDRR-funded Great Lakes and Pacific ADA Centers will host a webinar, Web Accessibility Analytics and Open Source Tools for Inspecting and Auditing Web Resources for Accessibility, May 22nd, 2-3:30pm EST. Jon Gunderson, PhD, from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, will demonstrate the open-source tools A Inspector Sidebar and FAE 2.0. This webinar is part of the Accessible Technology Webinar series.