Newsletter: July 18, 2018

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: July 18, 2018

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Free Webinar for Small Employers

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm EST.

How much do small businesses know about disability, the ADA, and their responsibilities related to reasonable accommodation? Here at the Northeast ADA Center, we are conducting a study to better understand how the ADA is currently implemented in small businesses, where many do not have a dedicated HR professional. Further, we seek to understand what gets in the way of ADA implementation, and how can our ADA Center better support these businesses. During this webinar, we will share findings from a qualitative study of Small Businesses and ADA Implementation. To register go to: http://register.yangtaninstitute.org/register/index.cfm?event=6716

What's New in Our Region:

Formulation/Development of New York's 3-Year State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) 2020-2022

Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, provides the authority for the New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC) and the network of Federally-Funded Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to seek public input on priority needs related to disability issues to guide the development of the next three-year State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) in New York. The New York State Independent Living Council is committed to providing full access for people with disabilities. Public hearings are open to the entire community. All hearings will be held in locations accessible to people with disabilities. Materials will be provided in alternative formats. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting, and Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) and Assistive Listening Devices will be provided. Other accommodations will be available upon request. For dates and locations and information on how to make an accommodation request visit: https://www.nysilc.org/news/news-archives/119-formulation-development-of-new-york-s-3-year-state-plan-for-independent-living-spil-2020-2022

A Look into the Accessibility Problem Within the New York City Mass Transit System

The MTA New York City Transit is one of the largest public transportation agencies in the world with 472 operating subway stations. According to MTA, the subway system has a daily ridership of an average of 5.6 million people. But there is a population that finds the subway system one of the least accessible -- those who face a mobility challenge or have a physical disability that requires stair free access. Collin Wright is an advocacy associate for the TransitCenter, a research based organization that works with transit agencies nationwide on how to improve public transportation services. In his 2017 report "Access Denied", Wright found that there were currently 110 subway stations out of 472 -- about 23% -- that are accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. To read more about this go to: http://news.jrn.msu.edu/2018/06/q-and-a-a-look-into-the-accessibility-problem-within-new-york-city-mass-transit/

Attn: NYC Residents -- Project Open House Applications Available Online

Project Open House (POH), is administered by the NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), and removes architectural barriers in the homes of people with permanent disabilities. This program is designed to increase independence in the activities of daily living, thus helping people with disabilities remain a part of their communities. POH provides an opportunity for many individuals to modify their living environments. The application for Project Open House is available online. You can read more here: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/mopd/initiatives/project-open-house.page

New Jersey Launches NJ Able Accounts to Help Individuals with Disabilities Save for Expenses

New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson announced on June 24th the launch of a major new program to help individuals with disabilities become more independent and better thrive in their communities. With the newly launched NJ Able program, individuals with disabilities can save tax-free for eligible expenses such as education, housing, and transportation without losing eligibility for Medicaid and other benefits. ABLE stands for "Achieving a Better Life Experience." "This is an exciting new program for New Jersey that gives individuals with disabilities and their families the opportunity to improve their financial security," Johnson said. "They deserve the peace of mind that comes with being able to save for vital day-to-day expenses. Individuals with disabilities can do anything-and NJ ABLE is now a tool to help those live full and independent lives." You can read more here: https://savewithable.com/nj/home.html

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

For Travelers With Disabilities, Technology Helps Smooth the Way. But Not All of It

Technology is fast changing how people with disabilities get to and then navigate airports and train and bus stations. However, technology can go only so far: its advantages usually stop at the door of the plane, train, or bus. While the development of Apps has enriched the experience of a traveler with a disability, such as a blind traveler who can use apps to secure a boarding pass or get an Uber, when maneuvering around a frenzied airport they may have to find someone to ask how to get to the security line. Innovations have begun to emerge such as the free Be My Eyes App, or AIRA, which provide live video streams that lets volunteers and airport agents guide a person to a place in the airport they need to be. David Wilson, the director of innovation at the Sea-Tac Airport, says blind travelers no longer have to rely on wheelchair attendants. "With Aira, they can get up and go to a restroom, go to a concession," he said. "It's independence." To read the full article go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/25/business/for-disabled-travelers-technology-helps-smooth-the-way-but-not-all-of-it.html

Nevada Employer Pays $3.5 Million to Settle "100-Percent Healed" Claim

Slots chain employer Dotty's recently agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle litigation alleging its "100-percent-healed" policy discriminates against workers with disabilities. The June 5th settlement and consent decree entered in the federal court case of EEOC v. Nevada Restaurant Services Inc. is just the most recent victory in the EEOC's campaign to target employer "maximum-leave" and "100-percent-healed" policies. Under the 100-percent healed policy, employees returning from a medical, sick, or disability leave needed to be fully recovered before being permitted to return to work. The EEOC alleged that Dotty's "100-percent-healed" policy was discriminatory because it established "an unlawful qualification standard that does not allow for reasonable accommodation of qualified individuals with disabilities." To read more about this go to: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=b82a27f7-8f61-4aa5-b430-e3284e5b61db

Hamden Connecticut Restaurant Settles ADA Complaint

U.S. State Attorney for Connecticut, John H. Durham, announced June 28th that his office has reached settlement agreements with Ibiza Restaurant and Mangos, LLC in Hamden, to resolve allegations that Ibiza was not operating in compliance with the ADA. Ibiza leases its premises from Mangos. The Restaurant was accused of not meeting the ADA's requirements for accessibility. In reaching this agreement, Ibiza and Mangos will make changes to the physical premises by increasing accessible parking, adding a ramp into the building and other changes to assure that people with disabilities have full access to the business. To read more about this go to: https://patch.com/connecticut/hamden/hamden-restaurant-settles-ada-complaint

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar-Open Q&A on the U.S. Access Board's Activities

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT

This is a regular session in the Board's webinar series providing an opportunity to ask questions on any topic related to the Board's activities. Session participants are requested to submit questions in advance on the ADA Accessibility Standards, the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards, new Board standards for medical diagnostic equipment or other Board rulemakings or activities. Accessibility specialists will answer questions submitted in advance during the first half of the session, leaving time in the second half to answer questions in the live session. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110662

Special Spotlight:

28th Anniversary of the ADA!

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. This legislation established a comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. If you would like to review an Overview of the ADA fact sheet, that provides information about when and where the ADA applies, you can do so here: https://adata.org/sites/adata.org/files/files/ADA_Overview_final2017.pdf.

Throughout the year, you can celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Anniversary in your workplaces, schools and communities. While much progress has been made, much remains to be done. You can visit the ADA Anniversary Toolkit to find out how you can celebrate the ADA here: https://www.adaanniversary.org/

The ADA Anniversary Tool Kit is a project of the ADA National Network and its ten regional ADA Centers across the United States that provide information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Northeast ADA Center is available to answer any questions you might have about the ADA and you can reach us at 800.949.4232 or via email at northeastada@cornell.edu. You can also visit our website at http://www.northeastada.org/.