April 22, 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.
Complaints against entities covered under Title II (state or local government agencies) or Title III (restaurants, stores, hotels, etc.) may now be filed directly online at the Department of Justice (DOJ) website.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) describing how Title I of the ADA applies to employer wellness programs that are part of group health plans.
The EEOC's proposed rule explains that under the ADA, companies may offer incentives of up to 30 percent of the total cost of employee-only coverage in connection with wellness programs. These programs can include medical examinations or questions about employees' health (such as questions on a health risk assessment). The rule also makes clear however, that the ADA provides important safeguards to employees to protect against discrimination based on disability.
The EEOC also issued two publications that outline the proposed rule:
- Fact Sheet for Small Business: The EEOC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Americans with Disabilities Act and Employee Wellness Programs
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) issued this brief, outlining policies states can use to encourage and support the hiring, retention and promotion of people with disabilities.
This article explores efforts to deepen disability inclusion in the workplace. Diversity expert Deb Dagit discusses the importance of Business Resource Groups (BRGs) for employees with disabilities, and offers tips on how BRGs can make employees with disabilities feel more welcome and included.
This research-to-practice brief from the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) discusses key workforce trends and common workplace barriers, and provides recommendations for fully incorporating employees with disabilities into career development and advancement programs.
This article reminds employers that medical or other documentation may not always be necessary to address a request for accommodation.
The ADA National Network has updated and reissued a guide originally published in 1998 by the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University. The new guide offers guidance and tips for planning street festivals, craft fairs, music events, and other community activities.
Tips for Healthy Aging with a Disability
The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Healthy Aging shares research results and tips in two new publications:
• Falling Occurs All Too Often for People Aging with MD, MS, PPS, and SCI
• The Benefits of Happiness and Finding your Sense of Purpose
Developing Welcoming Faith Communities: Inspiring Examples of Faith-Based Initiatives to Help Individuals with Mental Health Conditions Participate Fully in the Life of Religious Congregations
This new publication is from the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of People with Psychiatric Disabilities.
ReWalk, a robotic exoskeleton, was developed by the Assisting Recovery from Stroke and Spinal Cord Injury for Reintegration into Society (MARS3) project. Sergeant RJ Anderson, Jr., an Army veteran with a spinal cord injury, is among the first people to take the technology out of the lab and into his own home.
Check out these media articles:
- “Exoskeleton helps paralyzed Chicago veteran walk again”
- “Walking Again”
- “Exoskeleton helps veteran make history”
Pennsylvania Court: Plaintiff Doesn’t Have a Disability
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently ruled in the case of Sampson v Methacton School District. The plaintiff alleged multiple instances of discrimination and retaliation, many of which the court found baseless, but the most fundamental issue the court addressed was whether the plaintiff had a disability.
The case arose after the ADA Amendments Act became effective, and the court acknowledged that an impairment need not “prevent, or significantly or severely restrict” an individual from performing a major life activity in order to rise to the level of disability.
Nevertheless, the court found that the plaintiff’s knee injury and related surgery, which resulted in varying levels of limitation in walking, standing, bending, and working for a period of about two years, with significant limitations for several months, but without “long-term or permanent effect,” was not enough to meet the threshold.
DOJ Letter of Findings: School Personnel Should Assist Child with Handling Service Animal
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a Letter of Findings, following an investigation of a New York public school district which refused to allow a child to have her service animal in school unless accompanied by a full-time handler.
The letter outlines DOJ’s view on the distinction between “care and supervision” of a service animal (which covered entities like the school are not required to provide) and “handling.” Covered entities are not generally required to provide assistance with handling service animals, either, but DOJ maintains that in this case, the minimal level of assistance school personnel would have to provide to enable the child to handle her service animal was akin to the type of assistance generally provided to young children in the school environment.
This article reports on the split shaping up between federal courts that have addressed the application of Title III of the ADA to companies that conduct online businesses.
This opinion piece also outlines the conflicting court decisions that have addressed the question of whether a website can be considered a “place of public accommodation” for purposes of applying Title III of the ADA.
A bipartisan plan to reshape the nation’s primary education law would maintain strict limits on the number of students with disabilities who could be considered “proficient” by taking alternate assessments instead of standard tests.
This article reports on the Social Security Disability Insurance program, and how the Ticket-to-Work program has failed to address disincentives for people to return to work once they have qualified for benefits. “How Do We Get Those Able to Work Off of Disability?” also examines this issue.
Trainings, Events, and Participation Opportunities
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.
Obama Administration Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rules to Implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is designed to improve the coordination of employment and training services across federal agencies, strengthen collaboration with state and local partners, and provide Americans with increased access to training, education and other support to succeed in the job market and in their careers. The departments of Labor and Education seek public comment on five Notices of Proposed Rulemaking to implement WIOA.
The Southwest ADA Center is asking people who have personal or professional experience on disability issues to complete a brief survey o help:
• Understand what aspects of society have become more accessible due to the ADA;
• Understand what areas of society still require further investigation and proposed solutions; and
• To develop and improve the information, support, and guidance needed to help further the goals of the ADA.
The HSC Foundation, in partnership with the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), is now accepting applications for a paid fellowship position with the organizations’ disability youth transition and collaboration work. This fellowship is ideal for a person with a disability who has an interest in youth career transitions and employment solutions. The fellowship starts in June 2015, and continues for 15 months. Applications are due May 15, 2015.
New York University’s ABILITY Lab and AT&T announced the Connect Ability Challenge, a global software development competition leveraging mobile and wireless technologies to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Cash prizes of $10,000 will be awarded in several categories, as well as a $25,000 grand prize. Submission deadline is June 24, 2015.
This article, featuring our own Director, Marian Vessels, considers the progress fostered by the ADA, as well as some of the challenges that still limit full participation for people with disabilities.
This story and accompanying video takes a look at the background of the ADA and 25 years of implementation in Delaware.
The ADA National Network’s “ADA Anniversary Toolkit” has been updated and expanded! The “Pledge On!” campaign now includes a proclamation for faith communities, developed by the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC).
The “Media Kit” offers tips on writing news releases, sample social media posts and proclamations (available in web-based or printable formats), Powerpoint slides for webinars and trainings, and much more!
The US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®) announced the launch of America's Disability Rights Museum on Wheels, the country's first disability rights mobile museum.
This special issue of Impact, from the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota, marks the 25th anniversary of the ADA with articles by individuals with disabilities, families, advocates, service providers, and researchers, and others. Stories and interviews focus on how the ADA has made positive differences in individuals’ lives and in our nation, as well as ways in which the ADA hasn't fully addressed barriers to equal opportunity and inclusion.
Complementing this issue are over 40 short video clips on the Institute's Web site, Self-Advocacy Online, in which individuals with disabilities talk about the ADA.
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 by June 5, 2015.
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!