Newsletter: October 17, 2018

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: October 17, 2018

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Please complete this important survey!
Small Organizations and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Survey

Survey Link: http://bit.ly/CornellSmallBusinessNewsletter

WHO should complete this survey? Representatives of organizations that have fewer than 500 employees, specifically leaders or those with human resources roles. We welcome those with experience with the employment provisions of the ADA, but the perspective of those without direct experience with disability or accommodation in their organization will also help us understand information needs.

WHAT is asked in this survey? Participants will be asked review some introductory information about the ADA and disability and to anonymously provide some information about their organization related to the following:

  • Organizational policy and practice
  • Information needs around the ADA and disability
  • Information sources used for ADA or HR-related questions,
  • Characteristics of the organization

This information will be compiled into an aggregated report, and organization names or individual information will NOT be shared.

WHEN does this survey take place? The survey will be open Oct 5th, 2018. It should take approximately 10 minutes or less to complete the survey.

WHY should I participate? The results will inform the design of tools, resources, and other assistance to support small employers around implementing Title I of the ADA and creating a disability inclusive workplace.

PARTICIPANTS WILL RECEIVE ACCESS TO THE FOLLOWING:

  1. ENTRY INTO A DRAWING for a $50 gift card
  2. FINAL REPORT on study findings.
  3. EARLY ACCESS TO RESOURCES DEVELOPED
  4. OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN FUTURE RESEARCH

To complete the survey, visit http://bit.ly/CornellSmallBusinessNewsletter

Free Webinar-Shopping Season is Upon Us! Best Practices for Serving Customers with Disabilities

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Join us to review both ADA requirements, and best practices, for retail establishments that help to enhance the shopping experience for customers with disabilities. This refresher course will review ADA requirements for physical access that are often problematic for shoppers with disabilities, as well as store policies and procedures to consider that impact shoppers with disabilities. To register go to: http://register.yangtaninstitute.org/register/index.cfm?event=6738

What's New in Our Region:

NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Launches the abilITy Cisco Academy Powered by NYC: ATWORK- the First Cyber Security Training for People with Disabilities

The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities has launched the abilITy Cisco Academy powered by NYC: ATWORK at the Institute for Career Development (ICD), proudly funded by the UJA-Federation of New York and J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation, with corporate sponsorship by BNP Paribas and Standard Chartered Bank. This program uses a train-to-place model that will prepare individuals with disabilities to secure employment in the cyber security industry. It delivers an industry-recognized Cisco certification program through a curriculum adapted to suit various learning styles. The abilITy Cisco Academy will provide employment opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities while also meeting the need for more cyber security professionals. To read more go to: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/mopd/downloads/pdf/mayors_office_of_people_with_disabilities_launches_the_ability_cisco_academy_powered_by_nyc_atwork.pdf

Boy's Allergy Service Dog Wasn't Allowed at School. Now His Parents Are Suing

A Bedminster, NJ family is suing the township school district because they contend the district won't allow their son to go to school with a service dog that they say sniffs out nuts that could kill him. In recent years, several New Jersey schools have faced flack for having outdated, restrictive service dog policies that contradict state and federal laws. Those laws say a service animal, narrowly defined as a dog and individually trained to do work or a task for a person with a disability, must be allowed anywhere the public goes, and a service dog vest or documentation cannot be required. But there is some debate about whether a school meets that definition, since members of the public cannot generally walk into a public school. The parents filed the lawsuit in Somerset County Superior Court earlier this year, using their initials to protect their children's' identities, and the case was moved to federal court in June. To read more about this go to: https://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2018/10/service_dog_that_sniffs_out_nuts_should_be_allowed.html

Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services to Pay $60,000 to Settle Retaliation Suit

Jewish Board of Family and Children Services, a social service agency in New York, agreed to pay a former employee $60,000 and furnish other relief to resolve a retaliation suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced on September 19, 2018.. According to the EEOC's complaint, when the employee tried to get confidential information about her disability removed from a duty log that other employees at the facility had access to, the company failed to remove it. After she filed a charge with the EEOC alleging that this dissemination of her confidential medical information was a violation of the Americans with Disability Act ("ADA"), she was fired. To read more about this go to: https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/jewish-board-of-family-and-children-s-15393/

Queens College Settles Federal Lawsuit Over ADA Violations

Queens College has agreed to spend at least $1 million to renovate its campus following a lawsuit from a student with a disability. In July 2015, Kathleen Ross, a Glendale resident and student with cerebral palsy who is unable to walk, stand, or use her legs without assistance, filed a federal lawsuit against the college for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. According to the lawsuit, upon starting classes at Queens College in 2014, Ross had great difficulty accessing numerous buildings and services around campus, including the library, restrooms, and the dining hall. Ross alleged that the "physical barriers to access" on the campus include, ramps lacking proper handrails, restrooms with narrow doorways that lack proper grab bars, and campus shuttle buses without lifts for the disabled, among 400 mobility-related violations of the ADA by Queens College cited by Ross and her counsel. According to attorney's, Ross had extreme difficulty getting on stage for her graduation ceremony, which caused her great embarrassment. In in the winter, the maintenance crew would regularly plow snow so that excess snow was deposited on accessible ramps, impeding her access to classes. "These violations of the ADA by Queens College amounted to discrimination against Ms. Ross and other students with disabilities wishing to attend or visit the school," To read more about this go to: https://www.timesledger.com/stories/2018/40/qclawsuit_2018_10_05_q.html

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Film Tells Story of Disabilities in Hollywood

A new documentary featuring a who's who of Hollywood A-listers is delving into the history of how disabilities are portrayed on screen. The film "CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion" analyzes how disability has been represented in movies and on television over the last 120 years, examining everything from silent films to modern-day blockbusters. Weighing in on the evolution are Ben Affleck, William H. Macy, Marlee Matlin, RJ Mitte, Jamie Foxx, Geena Davis and Helen Hunt, among others. To read more about this go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2018/09/27/film-disabilities-hollywood/25555/

Special Ed, Disability Programs Spared In Government Budget Deal

The federal government will increase funding for special education and allocate money to address the needs of caregivers as part of a spending bill that's expected to be signed by President Donald Trump. Under the spending plan, $12.4 billion will go to special education, an increase of $87 million over this year. In addition, an extra $69 million will head to state grants for vocational rehabilitation, $15 million more will go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, $3 million will be added for independent living programs and there is a $1.5 million boost for the Health Resources & Services Administration's Autism and Other Developmental Disorders program. To read more about this go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2018/09/28/special-spared-budget-deal/25576/

"Stories For Us and By Us": Disability Rights Activists Showcase Their Writing

Four years ago, disability rights activist and writer, Alice Wong, like many of her peers, was gearing up for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990. "I wasn't sure what I could do to contribute and mark the occasion," she says. Then, inspiration struck and she decided to create what she thought would be a one-year oral history project to give ADA beneficiaries a way to weigh in on the landmark legislation. She called it the Disability Visibility Project. The Disability Visibility Project's latest effort, an e-book edited by Wong and called Resistance and Hope, includes sixteen essays, many of them by writers of color, among them Mari Kurisato, Noemi Martinez, Talila A, Lewis, Mia Mingus, Maysoon Zayid, Aleksei Valentin, and Naomi Ortiz. Diverse in theme as well as writing style, the anthology tackles topics including self-care, movement building, intersectionality, the ups-and-downs of coalition work, the uses of anger, and maintaining optimism.. To read more about this go to: https://progressive.org/dispatches/stories-for-us-and-by-us-disability-rights-activists-181002/

Federal Proposal Would Limit Immigrants with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that it will officially propose a regulation to "ensure that those seeking to enter and remain in the United States either temporarily or permanently can support themselves financially and will not be reliant on public benefits." Under the plan, receiving certain public benefits - including Supplemental Security Income and most Medicaid benefits - above particular thresholds now or in the past would be a "heavily weighed negative factor," the agency said. "Under long-standing federal law, those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially," said Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. "This proposed rule will implement a law passed by Congress intended to promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers." To read more about this go to: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2018/09/25/federal-limit-immigrants/25540/

Technical Assistance Guidance from the Department of Justice

A selection of technical assistance documents that provide an overview of the rights and responsibilities under the ADA and the Department's implementing regulations have a new look and layout at ADA.gov. You can see the new layout here: https://www.ada.gov/ta-pubs-pg2.htm

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar-Accessible Exterior Routes and Surfaces

Thursday, November 1, 2018
2:30 PM ET

This webinar will focus on scoping and technical requirements for exterior routes and surfaces. Presenters will review the differences between sidewalks in the public right-of-way, accessible routes, shared use paths, and pedestrian trails. Additionally, the latest information on accessible surfaces will be discussed. Participants will have a clear understanding of the important differences, overlapping provisions, and vocabularies of one of the most important fundamentals of accessible design. Continuing Education Recognition Available. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110692

Webinar - Best Practices in Inclusive Employment Practices

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
2:00 PM ET

Employers are seeking qualified individuals to fill positions within their companies. There is a vast pool of untapped talent that have been historically unemployed and underemployed. That talented pool consists of persons with disabilities. Join us as speakers from the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) address strategies for employers to recruit/hire and retain/promote persons with disabilities. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and get helpful insights from the presenters. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ADA-Audio/session/?id=110693

Special Spotlight:

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2018

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for 2018 is "America's Workforce: Empowering All" NDEAM's roots go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month." Upon its establishment in 2001, ODEP assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since. For a list of resources go to: https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/resources.htm