December 17, 2013
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.
In October 2013, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 26.9% for persons with disabilities compared with 70.7% for persons without a disability. The gap between the employment rate of persons of 16-64 years of age with and without disabilities was 43.8%, not seasonally adjusted.
Observing the 50th Anniversary of Developmental Disability Act and National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Recently, the White House hosted a celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act), originally signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963 as the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act of 1963. The event marked a unique opportunity for the intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) community to celebrate the accomplishments of the past, examine current challenges, and look ahead to the future of disability policy. Speakers from the Obama Administration and representatives from several disability organizations were featured.
November 13, in honor of October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the White House hosted 20 juniors and seniors with disabilities from five Washington, DC area high schools – the Chelsea School (Hyattsville, MD), Cardozo Education Campus (Washington, DC), Eleanor Roosevelt High School (Prince George’s County, MD), Falls Church High School (Fairfax County, VA), and the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (Washington, DC). The day-long event in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building included panel discussions on career choices and soft skills necessary for workplace success, along with an opportunity to tour the White House and partake in a mentoring lunch session with visiting panelists.
Thursday, November 21, 2013, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held the second of two hearings on the Disability Treaty. Advocates representing the broad and diverse coalition in favor of the treaty were present at the hearing to show their support. A highlight of the event was the delivery to the committee of a petition with over 67,000 signatures from across the country calling for ratification. This number continues to grow. If you are interested in adding your name, please follow this link: www.disabilitytreaty.org.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Issues Video Programming Rule Requiring Device Accessibility
The Federal Communications Commission recently issued a rule requiring video equipment manufacturers and producers of connect software to ensure that video programming navigation devices are more easily accessed by individuals who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing. The regulations include devices used for over-the-top streaming to televisions, including game consoles and set-top boxes, as well as tablets and other mobile devices.
As an employer or potential employee, you may have some questions about the hiring process for workers with disabilities. Sometimes it’s not clear what questions are all right to ask or what policies are important to understand. Some common questions are answered here by Barbara Otto, CEO of Health & Disability Advocates, the Chicago-based policy and advocacy organization that operates Think Beyond the Label. Think Beyond the Label is a public-private partnership that delivers information, outreach and resources to businesses, job seekers and the public workforce system to ensure greater recruiting and hiring opportunities for job candidates with disabilities.
In partnership with current and former service members, the National Council on Disability (NCD),an independent federal agency that advises the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy, recently released “Clearing the Backlog and Facilitating Benefits for America’s Veterans.” The 80-page report includes opinions and evaluations by key stakeholders, buoyed by the insights of experts, in addressing the current state of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims backlog. In partnership with current and former service members, the National Council on Disability (NCD) adds its voice to call for long-term effective solutions to the disability claims backlog.
The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that recommends disability policy to the President, Congress and other federal agencies, today releases its yearly report on the nation’s progress in achieving equality of opportunity, independent living, full participation and economic self-sufficiency for an estimated 57 million Americans with disabilities. In keeping with the maxim “Nothing About Us Without Us” widely adopted by U.S. disability advocates two decades ago, NCD consulted with the broad disability community in determining its findings, and the expertise of advocates, stakeholders and service providers provided the foundation for NCD's policy recommendations.
CDC Releases Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Centers
The CDC recently released the Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Centers. The Voluntary Guidelines provide practical information and planning steps for parents, district administrators, school administrators and staff, and ECE program administrators and staff to develop or strengthen plans for food allergy management and prevention. It also includes information about the ADA, ADAAA, Section 504 and IDEA.
Like all youth, youth with disabilities should grow up expecting to work and succeed. That’s the simple but significant message behind the "Because" public service announcement (PSA) distributed by the ODEP-funded Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) earlier this year. Now, a discussion guide that can be used to facilitate a conversation about the PSA among adults or youth is available. Free of charge, the guide includes a DVD containing the PSA and is available in both English and Spanish.
Justice Department Seeks to Intervene in Lawsuit Alleging H&R Block’s Tax Preparation Website Is Inaccessible to Individuals with Disabilities
The Justice Department announced that it will intervene in a private lawsuit filed against national tax preparation firm H&R Block, saying its website does not allow sufficient access for people with disabilities. The department's motion, filed against Block subsidiaries HRB Digital and HRB Tax Group, says the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which the Justice Department has ruled applies to websites. The Justice Department, in making its motion to intervene in the case, says the website "prevents some people with disabilities from completing even the most basic activities on the site."
Providence Hospital, a full-service hospital in Washington, D.C., unlawfully refused to accommodate a disabled employee and subsequently discharged her because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a recently filed lawsuit. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the employee worked for Providence Hospital as a medical assistant in the hospital's Center for Life. The employee returned to work following a disability-related injury. According to the EEOC, she was cleared to work full-time but was told that she had to use a cane to ambulate. Providence Hospital, however, would not allow the employee to return to work in any capacity until she received medical clearance to return to work without the use of a cane.
According to the EEOC's suit, an employee had worked as an office associate for Children's Hospital and Research Center for two years when she received her diagnosis of breast cancer in December 2011. The EEOC says Children's Hospital refused her request for additional medical leave and unlawfully discharged her on July 10, 2012. The EEOC determined that accommodating the employees request would not have posed an undue hardship for the medical center.
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Failure to Accommodate Claim Proceeds Despite Plaintiff’s Failure to Follow Employer’s Request Procedures
A plaintiff’s failure to accommodate claim under the ADA may proceed even though the plaintiff did not follow the employer’s accommodation request procedures, according to a Virginia federal district court. The plaintiff, a diabetic, alleged that his requests for time off for doctors’ appointments and when he was ill were denied. The employer denied that the plaintiff ever requested an accommodation, noting that the employee handbook requires anyone requesting an accommodation to go to Human Resources and the plaintiff admitted he did not go to Human Resources.
Trainings and Webinars
Join one of the most popular sessions in the ADA Audio Conference Series. Listen to an update on EEOC Enforcement and Guidance Activities and pose your questions to our speaker. This is an interactive session and you are encouraged to bring your tough issues and concerns forward. Learn from what others may be experiencing and the questions and issues that they may have as well.
Speaker: Sharon Rennert Senior Attorney Advisor ADA/Gina Division Office of Legal Counsel
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST
The Department of Justice has investigated hundreds of complaints about the failure to provide effective communication. Historically, they have received more complaints about failure to provide effective communication than any other issues they have dealt with. Join this episode to learn about the obligations of medical providers, lawyers, tax preparers, local and state government agencies, employers and social service providers, etc. to ensure that their customers are able to communicate effectively with them.
Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 2:30 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. EST
Provisions in both the 2010 ADA Standard and the ABA Accessibility Standard apply to buildings and facilities when an "alteration" is undertaken. The session will provide an overview for applying the technical and scoping provisions when altering and more specifically address "alterations affecting primary function areas" and other special scoping and technical provisions applicable when altering.
Presenters: Jim Pecht, Accessibility Specialist/Librarian, US Access Board
Dave Yanchulis, Office of Technical and Information Services, US Access Board.
The Computer Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) at the Department of Defense released “Providing Reasonable Accommodations for People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, a free, online training module addressing solutions for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. An archive of other trainings is also available.