Newsletter: January 17, 2018

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: January 17th, 2018

Update from the Northeast ADA Center:

Free Webinar! "Is That a Service Animal: What Rights Apply Where?"

January 24, 2018
1:00pm to 2:00pm

One of the most popular topics that the Northeast ADA is asked about is service animals. It can be confusing for individuals with disabilities, businesses, transit providers, and landlords to know what rights a person with a disability has under which law, in which places, and what's required. This webinar will discuss what is a service animal, an assistance animal, and where these animals can or cannot go. To register, go to: http://www.yti.cornell.edu/events/6557


What's New in Our Region:

New York Passes Law Against Service Animal Fraud, Joining Other States

New York recently joined an increasing number of states that have passed laws aimed at curbing abuse of laws and regulations designed to ensure that individuals with disabilities can be accompanied by their service animals in places of public accommodation and other settings. According to the Department of Justice, service animal registrations, vests, and any other means, which identify service animals, do not have any legal significance and therefore it is important for places of public accommodation to be aware of and train their employees to comply with service animal requirements of the ADA, as well as any applicable state and local laws. Authority to enforce the new law is vested with each municipality's dog control officer. Violators will face a fine of up to $100, up to 15 days of jail time, or both.

To read more about this go to: https://www.adatitleiii.com/2018/01/new-york-passes-law-against-service-animal-fraud-joining-other-states/?utm_source=Seyfarth+Shaw+-+ADA+Title+III+News+%26+Insights&utm_campaign=a1ad99862f-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_decb46f1f5-a1ad99862f-70397889


Guidance from the New York City's Mayor's Office on Winter Snow Removal

The NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) began planning and preparing for the winter snow removal season well in advance. Snow laborers are recruited in early fall to be on call. This year there will be 100 compact loaders (Bobcats) to assist with snow removal, which will be dispersed throughout the city. DSNY has also acquired additional small salt spreaders (with plows to ad¬dress the tighter residential streets, and will continue to utilize pickup trucks with plows to assist with snow removal in bike lanes and other small locations. To read the full policy go to: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/mopd/downloads/pdf/snow_removal_2018.pdf

 

Settlement Agreement Reached Between the United States of America and The Beachcomber Resort Motel Condominium Association

 

This settlement agreement resulted from an individual complaint that portions of the Beachcomber Resort in New Jersey were not accessible to people with disabilities. The Department of Justice reviewed architectural plans and other information provided by the Beachcomber Association, and conducted a site visit of the Resort. The results of the site visit, which were shared with the Beachcomber Association, revealed a number of architectural barriers to access in and around the Resort. In the agreement, the Resort agrees to provide accessible parking to all patrons with disabilities and improve accessibility in the lobby area. Other areas covered in the agreement are pool areas, unisex bathrooms, and adherence to accessibility requirements for any new construction or alterations at the Resort. To read the full agreement go to: https://www.ada.gov/beachcomber_sa.html

 

Toms River, NJ Seeks Members for ADA Committee

The committee that advises Toms River, NJ officials on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is seeking new members for 2018. The ADA committee is generally responsible for advising and making recommendations to the mayor and Township Council on ordinances and policies related to persons with disabilities, concerns of people with disabilities, accessible facilities and employment matters affecting individuals with disabilities To learn more about this, go to: https://patch.com/new-jersey/tomsriver/toms-river-seeks-members-ada-committee

 

NJ School District to Pay $35K to Worker Fired After Gallbladder Surgery

A former North Plainfield School District employee who was fired after emergency gallbladder surgery will be paid $35,000 by the district, according to New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino. The employee was released due to "job abandonment" after missing three weeks of work after having gall bladder surgery. The lawsuit claimed that the employee was discharged because of her disability or as retaliation for taking extended time off. To resolve disability-based discrimination allegations, the district is also required to update policies regarding medical leave and provide training for all supervisors, managers and employees. To read more about this, go to: http://www.nj.com/somerset/index.ssf/2017/12/north_plainfield_former_employee_35k_disability_di.html


Uncertainty in the Cases of Special Education in Puerto Rico

The restructuring of Puerto Rico's debt has cast a shadow of uncertainty over hundreds, if not, thousands of cases that are currently being argued in court as part of claims so that children and youngsters registered in the Special Education program receive the services they need. Last May, when the Oversight Board (JSF, by its Spanish acronym) filed a petition before the court to restructure the debt under the protection of Title III of the Promesa Federal Law, all cases already filed against the government, which involved a monetary claim, were paralyzed. Since then, several courts have issued contradictory ruling for service claims to Special Education students.

Although the Deputy Secretary of Special Education, Eliezer Ramos Pares, acknowledges the lack of uniformity in handling the cases, he guarantees that student services have not been affected. He confirmed that regardless of the positions assumed by the Department of Justice in the judicial forums, the Department of Education has tried to resolve the cases.

The discussion has even reached the Supreme Court, where a resolution issued in early December to confirm the cessation of the damage phase of the class action of Special Education students, turned into an opportunity for the members of the highest judicial body to clarify their positions on the impact of Promesa on these students. The presiding judge, Maite Oronoz, made it clear that only the federal court handling the case of Title III can redirect this claim which, in her opinion, "has little or no effects on the bankrupt process, the historical and pressing matter of this lawsuit, and that its cessation only delays the concession of the legal remedy that the affected parties have sought for many years."

For more information, read:
www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/incertidumbreenloscasosdeeducacionespecial-2385336

 

The 64th Convention of the APPR is Dedicated to Disability Psychology

The 64th Convention of the Psychology Association of Puerto Rico (APPR, by its Spanish acronym), titled: Psychology for the People, will focus on the psychological aspects of functional diversity. This includes: the psychology of deaf persons, intimate relationships, and the psychological benefits of labor and community inclusion. This event will take place from January 25th to January 27th, 2018; at the Ponce Hilton Hotel. For more information, go to:
http://www.asppr.net/convencionappr2017

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Dependable Health Services to Pay $38,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Dependable Health Services Inc., a health care staffing agency, will pay $38,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The case involved a woman who worked as a phlebotomist at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. After seeking a reasonable accommodation due to a disability related issue, the health care facility terminated her. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability. The ADA also requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations unless the employer can prove it would be an undue hardship to do so. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Dependable Health Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 8:17-cv-02316) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. To read more about this, go to: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/dependable-health-services-to-pay-38000-to-settle-eeoc-disability-discrimination


Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Denver to Improve Accessibility

The Department of Justice announced on January 8, 2018 that it has reached an agreement with Denver, Colorado, to improve access to civic life for people with disabilities. The agreement was reached under Project Civic Access (PCA), the Department's initiative to ensure that cities, towns, and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the agreement, Denver will ensure that its services, programs, and activities are accessible to people with disabilities. Based on surveys conducted by the United States as part of its investigation, the agreement requires Denver to remedy inaccessible features at courthouses, emergency shelters, libraries, parking lots, polling places, and parks to make these facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. In addition, to improve communication with people with hearing disabilities, Denver will contract with sign language interpreters and use Relay Colorado and text-to-911 on calls. Denver has also agreed to ensure that its emergency operations plan is accessible, to provide training to its employees on the ADA, and to survey certain facilities that were not already surveyed by the Department. "Denver has committed to ensuring all of its residents, including persons with disabilities, have access to county and city services and programs," said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. "We applaud Denver for taking this step." For more information about the agreement, please visit:
https://www.ada.gov/denver_pca/denver_sa.html

 

What Was The EEOC Up To This Year? Takeaways From 2017

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's fiscal year ended on Sept. 30, 2017 and it has released its yearly "Performance and Accountability Report." Although this is a look back, it provides insight on what is important to the commission. Some of the highlights looked at combating employment discrimination through strategic law enforcement, prevent discrimination through education and outreach, as well as deliver excellent and consistent service through a skilled and diverse workforce and effective systems.
To read more about this including a link to the full report go to: https://www.law360.com/articles/993989/what-was-the-eeoc-up-to-this-year-takeaways-from-2017

 

Opportunities for You!

Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST Design & Construction-Free Training

May 8th, 2018, 8:00AM - 4:15PM EST
Museum of disABILITY History, Main Training Room - 2nd Floor
3826 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14226

This training will highlight the importance of design and construction requirements outlined under the Fair Housing Act. This is a full day training that is free and open to the public. To register for this event go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/buffalo-ny-fha-first-design-construction-training-tickets-41438850718

 

Special Spotlight:

Justice Department Scraps ADA Guidance

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he is rescinding more than two dozen guidance documents including several clarifying the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Guidance documents are tools that educate stakeholders about the requirements of the law. Advocates worry that the move could send mixed signals to public entities about their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Taking away the guidance does not change any of the ADA's mandates, disability advocates noted. Nonetheless, withdrawing the guidance, which serves as an interpretation of the law, can create uncertainty, they said. To read more about this go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2018/01/04/justice-scraps-ada-guidance/24546/


Withdrawn Technical Assistance and Guidance Documents

As part of the ongoing government-wide effort to reduce regulatory burdens and improve the quality of guidance documents offered to the public, the Department has been reviewing its catalogue of technical assistance and guidance documents, including those related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Department has identified documents that are appropriate for withdrawal and, where applicable, removal from ADA.gov. Withdrawing out-of-date, duplicative, or otherwise ineffective materials will make it easier for individuals with disabilities, covered entities, and the public to understand their rights and responsibilities under the ADA. To see the list, visit: https://www.ada.gov/ta_withdrawn.html