Newsletter: November 14, 2018

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: November 14, 2018

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Northeast ADA Center Closed November 22nd and 23rd

The Northeast ADA Center and technical assistance services will be closed between 4:00 PM on Wednesday, November 21st and 8:30 AM on Monday, November 26th for the Thanksgiving holiday. Thank you in advance for your understanding and we hope you have a good holiday!

What's New in Our Region:

Upstate New York Health Facilities to Pay $465,000 for Alleged Discrimination Against Employees

A family of nursing and health care facilities in upstate New York has agreed to pay $465,000 to settle claims by the U.S. Equal employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of discriminating against pregnant employees and those with disabilities. According to the EEOC, Absolut Facilities Management LLC, doing business as Absolut Care, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The EEOC alleges the company failed to accommodate workers with disabilities by refusing them to return to work with medical restrictions and subjecting employees to impermissible disability-related questions and medical exams. To read more about this go to: https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511614749-upstate-new-york-health-facilities-to-pay-465-000-for-alleged-discrimination-against-employees

Settlement Agreement Reached Between the United States of America and The Stop and Shop Supermarket Company, LLC

In a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Stop and Shop Supermarkets agreed to address accessibility issues at check-out aisles at all of its 400 stores and bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Stop and Shop also agreed to pay $6,500 to the Complainant and a $25,000 civil penalty to resolve the issue. The agreement follows an investigation and findings by the U.S. Attorney's Office under Title III of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination based on disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation. To read the full agreement go to: https://www.ada.gov/stop_shop_sa.html

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Settlement Agreement Between The United States of America and The Place of Antiques

A settlement agreement between the United States of America and The Place of Antiques in St. Regis, Montana has been reached. The complainant is a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD"), anxiety, several traumatic brain injuries, and a mobility disability that causes him to lose sensation in his legs and affects his ability to stand at times. The complainant uses a service animal. On July 8, 2017, the complainant was in the St. Regis area attending a veterans' workshop and mentoring other veterans with PTSD. During a break, the complainant stopped at The Place of Antiques because he had seen antique tractor seats displayed outside of the store, which he thought might work for a bench project that he was building. His service dog accompanied the complainant. As he entered the store, a sales person behind the counter shook his head side to side indicating, "no", and then said that the dog could not come into the store. When the complainant attempted to explain that his dog is a service dog for a disability, the sales person continued to demand that the dog be left outside. Another customer tried to intercede on the complainant's behalf, but the sales person refused to listen. The complainant and customer were both upset by the salesperson's behavior and both immediately left the store. The Place of Antiques admits that it discriminated against the complainant when it refused to permit the complainant to use his service dog in The Place of Antiques. In this settlement, the antique store will develop and post a service animal policy for its store and will summarily train its staff regarding ADA requirements around service animals. To read the full settlement go to: https://www.ada.gov/place_of_antiques_sa.html

2018 Best Online Schools for Students with Disabilities

According to the Guide to Online Schools, these 55 colleges represent the most disability-friendly online schools for providing the highest level of support, the widest breadth of accommodations, and the most comprehensive resources for students with disabilities. All schools on this list received a Disability-Friendly score greater than 55, receiving high marks in most, if not all, of the following categories: thoroughness of resources, Universal Design for Learning training, availability of distance learning accommodations, and variety of services provided. In addition to this list, it features the best 15 online schools and the 25 most affordable online schools for students with disabilities. To see the list go to: https://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/online-schools/students-with-disabilities?utm_source=Quality+Matters+Digital+Communications&utm_campaign=89b97c16a4-EMAIL_HE_October_2018_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_355a0627da-89b97c16a4-33652937&goal=0_355a0627da-89b97c16a4-33652937#featured-schools

Annual Report on Federal Disability Policy Highlights Gaps in Enforcement

The National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency, today released its annual progress report on national disability policy, titled, Has the Promise Been Kept?" Federal Enforcement of Disability Rights Laws. In this report, the council revisits the NCD report, Promises to Keep: A Decade of Federal Enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act, released in 2000, to assess the progress made by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Access Board, to address NCD's recommendations in the 2000 report. In this year's report, NCD also uses the framework developed in Promises to Keep to consider the efforts of the U.S. Department of Labors (DOL) Employment and Training Administration, Office of Disability Employment Policy, Office of Contract Compliance Programs, Office of the Solicitor, and the Wage and Hour Division to protect and advance the employment of people with disabilities. The report examines and offers recommendations on these agencies' implementation and enforcement activities related to the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal disability rights laws and programs. To read more about this go to: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/annual-report-on-federal-disability-policy-highlights-gaps-in-enforcement-300741375.html

Settlement Agreement Reached in Discrimination Complaint against Northern Michigan University

A settlement was reached with Northern Michigan University and the U.S. Department of Justice over a complaint that the university discriminated against a student with a disability in violation of Title II. The student alleges that the university threatened to dis-enroll her and required her to submit to a psychological assessment and sign a behavioral agreement after she sent a chat message to a friend and fellow student in which she told her friend that she has Major Depressive Disorder and her doctors are concerned she is at risk for suicide. She alleges the behavioral agreement prohibited her from engaging in any discussion of suicidal thoughts or actions with residents of her dorm, friends or other students. The United States identified three other university students who alleged that the university discriminated against them based on disability in violation of Title II. These individuals alleged that the university threatened them with disciplinary action for sharing suicidal or self-destructive thoughts with other students undergo mandatory psychological assessments to maintain enrollment, or involuntarily withdraw from the university. To read more about this go to: https://www.uppermichiganssource.com/content/news/Settlement-reached-in-mental-health-case-against-Northern-Michigan-University--499049511.html

Opportunities for You!

Free Audio Conference-Access to Cultural Programs and the Arts: Serving Patrons with Disabilities

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018
2:00 PM EST - 3:30 PM EST

Join representatives from Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium (CCAC) as they discuss efforts to ensure that patrons with disabilities have the opportunity to access the rich and diverse cultural programs and arts available in the Chicago area. Speakers will address how cultural organizations can best include and welcome all visitors, including visitors who are blind or have low vision, visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing, visitors with mobility disabilities, visitors with cognitive disabilities, and visitors with sensory differences. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ADA-Audio/session/?id=110695

Free 508 Webinar: Making the Business Case for Accessibility

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
01:00 PM EST - 02:30 PM EST

Why is accessibility important to your agency? How does a vigorous accessibility program support the agency's mission? Join John Sullivan, Government-wide Section 508 Program Director, General Services Administration and, Kathy Lawler, Section 508 Manager and Web Updates Manager, Health and Human Services Administration, as they speak of the importance of accessibility in the successful conduct of agency business. The speakers will review materials to help ensure that agency staff understand their responsibilities and have the tools they need to produce accessible electronic content. These materials, such as "Build Organizational Support for Accessible Electronic Content," developed by the intra-agency 508 Transition Team, are part of the Revised 508 Standards Refresh Toolkit. Hear examples of how agencies can make use of their internet and intranet sites to raise Section 508 awareness. Additionally, they will explain how agencies can make information, tools, and other resources available to the wide array of stakeholders involved in Section 508 implementation. The information provided in this webinar will allow managers, team leaders and everyone involved with Section 508 to procure accessible ICT and ensure that agency personnel and members of the public understand the importance of accessibility in agency processes and communications. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/cioc-508/session/?id=110676

Special Spotlight:

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 to 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 was open Oct 5th, 2018 and will remain open until sufficient data is gathered. 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