March 24, 2015
We post our bi-weekly bulletin to keep you up to date on disability-related resources, news, and other items of interest. 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 hyperlinks, 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 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has revised its rules to specify that transportation providers must make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures to ensure that their programs are accessible to individuals with disabilities. The new rule will fill an “unintended gap” in DOT’s ADA regulations.
The Department provides an example of the application of the new requirement:
For example, an individual using a wheelchair who needs to access the bus will be able to board the bus even though sidewalk construction or snow prevents the individual from boarding the bus from the bus stop; the operator of the bus will need to slightly adjust the boarding location so that the individual using a wheelchair may board from an accessible location.
This article outlines the background of the recently introduced "Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act," which seeks to shield employers from liability under the ADA and/or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) for making medical inquiries about employees or their family members in the process of implementing wellness programs, or for imposing penalties on employees who decline to participate is such programs.
The blog post highlights the “Curb Cuts to the Middle Class” initiative, including activities planned for the coming “Year of Action to Expand Equal Employment Opportunities and Economic Mobility for Individuals with Disabilities.”
Disability.gov — the Federal government's central source for disability-related information — recently developed a series of 14 "Guides to Information and Resources" addressing a range of topics such as assistive technology, emergency preparedness, employment, financial assistance, housing, transportation, and more.
This article reports on an initiative launched by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to survey the level of structural accessibility at popular Philadelphia restaurants.
This article outlines federal and state laws that address employment issues and alcohol, drugs (legal and illegal), tobacco, and e-cigarettes.
This story explores the challenges often faced by people with “hidden” disabilities.
This article examines the debate surrounding a lawsuit filed against a restaurant which charges a fee for gluten-free menu items, and discusses Department of Justice (DOJ) regulations and enforcement activity. The Department’s regulations don’t require a business to offer “special goods,” including “special foods to meet particular dietary needs,” but DOJ distinguishes a situation where an individual is required to participate in something like a college meal plan.
This collection of videos, fact sheets, and other resources addresses issues of depression for people who have experienced traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
This 8-part series, available on demand, provides tips on caregiving, obtaining benefits, managing family dynamics, and more.
An increasing number of students with disabilities are graduating high school, federal officials say, though they still receive diplomas at far lower rates than other students.
“Video-on-Demand Children’s TV Programming Now Accessible
for Thousands of Students with Visual or Hearing Disabilities”
The U.S. Department of Education announced the availability of free, video-on-demand children’s television programming. Dozens of children’s and family TV episodes may now be viewed online featuring closed captioning and descriptions.
The Accessible NCAA Tournament Bracket is a prototype for making March Madness more accessible to the full spectrum of college hoops fans, including those using non-visual interfaces such as screen readers and those who are physically unable to use a mouse.
The deadline for submitting a claim for the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) nationwide compensation fund has passed; however, the parties have jointly filed a request with the Court to extend the deadline until April 15, 2015. The deadline will not be extended unless the Court grants the stipulation.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) entered a settlement agreement with Pennsylvania-based Dentax Dental Mobile, Inc. An individual complained that the clinic refused to treat him because of his HIV status. The clinic will establish policies and procedures to ensure non-discriminatory treatment.
The Lash Group, a consulting company, will pay $75,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the employer failed to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee who worked at the company’s facility in Rockville, Maryland. The worker had been on a medical leave, and when she was ready to return to work her position had been filled. The company could have transferred her to a vacant position for which she was qualified, but instead fired her because of her disability, the EEOC charged.
This article reports on a recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (covering Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina). The decision reversed a lower court ruling in the case of Jacobs v North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts and revived the plaintiff’s claims that her employer discriminated against her based on her anxiety disorder.
The appeals court criticized the lower court for ignoring the plaintiff’s “competent evidence,” failing to follow “well-settled” precedents, giving unfair advantage to the defendant, and resolving factual issues that should have been left to a jury.
The decision also supported the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s ADA Amendments Act regulations, agreeing that “interacting with others” is a major life activity (“Few activities are more central to the human condition than interacting with others”), and pointing out that a “person need not live like a hermit” to be considered substantially limited in that major life activity.
Trainings, Events, and Participation Opportunities
Two World of Possibilities Expos, featuring disability-related exhibits, demonstrations, product vendors, service providers, and resources, will be offered in Maryland this spring:
Hilton Washington, DC / Rockville
Saturday, April 11, 2015
11:00 am. – 4:00 p.m.
Radisson Hotel North Baltimore
Saturday, May 2, 2015
11:00 am. – 4:00 p.m.
June 2 – 3, 2015
Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey
This event will feature speakers from the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Access Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and U.S. Department of Transportation.
How can you help in designing safe, affordable, energy efficient homes that allow for people to “age in place” in Virginia? The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has announced a competition to design a home that meets affordability, energy and accessibility criteria as part of the 2015 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference (VAGHC).
The competition is open to Virginia residents or businesses, full-time students enrolled in a Virginia high school or institution of higher learning, amateurs or professionals, licensed or unlicensed, individuals or teams! The winning design will be constructed by Habitat for Humanity.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which regulates the employment provisions of Title I of the ADA, is inviting the public to provide input on its ongoing review of significant existing EEOC regulations. The EEOC would like feedback on whether regulations and/or reporting requirements should be considered for review, modification, streamlining, expansion or elimination. Comments must be submitted by April 20, 2015.
This blog post from John Kemp urges us all to think of “ADA25” – the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA – as an opportunity to draw attention to the “outrageously low” labor force participation rate of people with disabilities.
Enter your photos of people with disabilities working, playing, and participating; send us your snapshots of accessible products and facilities!
We are sponsoring the contest to celebrate 25 years of the ADA! Our contest is organized in five categories, just like the five titles of the ADA (employment, state and local government programs, public accommodations, telecommunications, and miscellaneous).
Prizes will be awarded for 1st place ($50.00 Visa gift card), 2nd place ($25.00 Visa gift card), and 3rd place (an ADA 25th anniversary tee shirt) in each of the five categories.
It’s easy! Upload your digital photos and enter on our “ADA in Action” Photo Contest page!
We Want to Hear from You for “ADA25”!
Next summer, July 26 will mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act! There will be ceremonies and celebrations, and we can’t wait to get started!
We are asking you to share your memories, experiences, and perspectives on the ADA.
What has the ADA meant to you? Did you work for the passage of the ADA? What positive experiences have you had implementing the ADA in your workplace, school, or community? How do you plan to celebrate?
So share a sentence or a story, a snippet or a sonnet! We would like to post a few selections on our ADA Anniversary webpage and feature them in our materials as we mark this momentous milestone!
Send your contributions to Celebrate ADA; we will select several contributions to be posted.
Remember to pledge your support for the ADA as we prepare for the 25th anniversary of the signing of one of the world’s most historic civil rights laws. Celebrate progress and commit to the principles of the ADA!