Newsletter: December 12, 2018

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: December 12, 2018

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Northeast ADA Center Holiday Closing

Season's Greetings from the Northeast ADA Center! Please note that our Cornell offices will be closed from 4:30pm ET Friday, December 21, 2018 until 8:30am ET Tuesday, January 2, 2019. The Cornell based Northeast ADA Center staff will be unavailable; however, our Technical Assistance Call Center (1.800.949.4232 for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) and our Technical Assistance email (northeastada@cornell.edu) will operate and be staffed on a limited basis during this time. When we are open, we will be happy to return any phone messages or online TA requests you may have submitted during our closing. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience regarding any potential delays in our response time to technical assistance, training, or materials requests. The Northeast ADA Center wishes all of you a most enjoyable holiday season, and a very happy and healthy New Year!

What's New in Our Region:

NYS Ride-Sharing Sessions Look to Improve Services for Customers with Disabilities

Public listening sessions are being held over the next few weeks to study accessible ride sharing services for customers with disabilities. The New York State Transportation Company Accessibility Task Force was created as part of the legislation that made ride-sharing legal in Upstate New York. After one listening session problems were identified such as issues with voice over technology on apps, poor training around drivers communicating to customers, and poor training of drivers in helping customers with disabilities. However, there is a bigger looming problem for customers with disabilities who live in rural areas when it comes to not just ride-sharing, but transportation in general. There are a lack of options. The task force behind these listening sessions is made up of representatives from organizations that serve people with disabilities as well as companies like Uber and Lyft. Their final report should appear in front of the state legislature in early 2019. To read more about this go to: http://www.wxxinews.org/post/nys-ride-sharing-sessions-look-improve-services-disabled-customers

NJ Human Services Announces New One-Stop, Online Application for Older New Jerseyans to Access Benefits

The Department of Human Services' (DHS) Division of Aging Services has launched NJSave, a new online application to help older residents with low-incomes and individuals with disabilities save money on Medicare premiums, prescription costs, and other living expenses. "NJSave will help older New Jerseyans and their families with a simpler way to check out the programs and services available to them. We are delighted to provide this new tool to help connect individuals to benefits and services," said Carole Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Human Services. To qualify for the programs, the applicant has to be a resident of the State of New Jersey, meet certain income requirements and either be 65 years of age or older or between the ages of 18 and 64 and receiving Social Security disability benefits. To read more about this go to: https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/nj-human-services-announces-new-one-stop-online-application-older-new-jerseyans-access-benefits

NYS Disabilities Association and Network Community Survey -

The NYS Disabilities Association and Network (NYS DAAN) is conducting a community-wide needs and gaps survey as part of the comprehensive research study being funded by the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC). The study will be used to develop a statewide strategic plan for the DDPC on the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect of People with Developmental Disabilities.

  • All survey respondents are expected to be over 21 and live in NYS.
  • All surveys are anonymous, and responses are encrypted for additional safety.
  • The online survey can be completed partially or in phases over time and submitted when completed. A special identification code is provided for each respondent.
  • The survey is designed to be broad based and inclusive to all segments of our statewide community. There are many opportunities for respondents to contribute additional information or ideas in addition to what is covered in the questions.
  • Accommodations are available upon request (e.g. responses taken by phone, paper surveys)
  • The same computer can be used for more than one survey to allow agencies an opportunity to offer their constituents a way to participate at their sites or in community-based sites and libraries.
  • The survey will remain open until they receive the target number of responses from each of the respondent groups or December 28, 2018, whichever comes first.

The survey can be accessed by clicking the link: Survey: Prevention of Abuse of People with Developmental Disabilities In NYS or https://app.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?CBEF839BC28B9C91CC

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Supreme Court Declines To Hear Seventh Circuit Ministerial Exception Appeal

In a disability discrimination case involving a teacher at a Jewish school in Milwaukee, the Seventh Circuit has for the first time addressed the ministerial exception in light of the Supreme Court's 2012 Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & Sch. v. EEOC decision. In Grussgott v. Milwaukee Jewish Day School, the court found a teacher who taught both Hebrew and Jewish studies demonstrated that her role furthered the school's religious mission and that her position therefore fell under the ministerial exception, barring her disability discrimination claims. The court found that under the totality of the circumstances here, the school expected her to play an important role in "transmitting the Jewish faith to the next generation" which outweighed other considerations. The Supreme Court in (Case No. 18-125), declined to take up the case, without comment. To read more about this go to: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=bd6592db-0101-48e7-b9f3-2bc5d9bd0182

Merritt Hospitality to Pay $125,000 to Settle EEOC Lawsuit

Merritt Hospitality and HEI Hotels and Resorts agreed to pay $125,000 to settle a federal lawsuit regarding a San Diego hotel employee's working conditions. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, an employee at the Embassy Suites hotel in San Diego was assigned to a workspace that did not have ventilation or windows. Those working conditions exacerbated the employee's unspecified disability, causing significant breathing issues, according to the lawsuit. The employee immediately informed the company that she needed an accommodation for her disability, but the company failed to provide her with an effective accommodation. Instead of engaging in the interactive process with the employee, the company fired her. To read more about this go to: https://patch.com/california/san-diego/merritt-hospitality-pay-125-000-settle-eeoc-lawsuit

Accessible Parking Coalition Website

Established by the International Parking and Mobility Institute (formerly the International Parking Institute), the mission of the Accessible Parking Coalition (APC) is to eliminate disabled placard and plate abuse and improve access to parking for people with disabilities. The website contains a number of resources for individuals interested in accessible parking initiatives. You can visit https://accessibleparkingcoalition.org/ to learn more.

Opportunities for You!

Free Audio Conference Series-Accommodating Students with Disabilities Enrolled in Medical and Health Science Programs

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019
2:00 PM EST - 3:30 PM EST

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require colleges and universities to provide accommodations and academic adjustments for students with disabilities. This session will look at how students participating in medical and health science programs are provided with accommodations for classroom and clinical settings. The presenter will examine issues of undue burden and fundamental alterations to programs. Topics to be discussed will include, course attendance requirements, documentation, adjustments to course work, modifications at clinical settings and resources for colleges and universities to serve students with disabilities. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions of the presenter following the presentation. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ADA-Audio/session/?id=110694

Funding Opportunity for Small Businesses

The administration on community living invites Phase 1 applications for the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation (NIDILRR) FY 2019 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. The purpose of the Federal SBIR program is to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, strengthen the role of small business in meeting Federal research or research and development (R/R&D) needs, and improve the return on investment from Federally-funded research for economic and social benefits to the Nation. The specific purpose of NIDILRR's SBIR program is to improve the lives of people with disabilities through R/R&D products generated by small businesses, and to increase the commercial application of NIDILRR-supported research results and development products. Review the Funding Opportunity Announcement: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=310217

Special Spotlight:

Remembering George H.W. Bush as a Champion for Those with Disabilities

Over decades of public service, President George H.W. Bush's work to improve the lives of millions of Americans with disabilities may be one of his more overlooked accomplishments. On July 26, 1990, Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law which has helped millions of people. The law prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities and helps ensure opportunities for employment. According to the Census Bureau, there are about 40 million Americans with disabilities. "This historic act is the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities - the first," Bush said when he signed the ADA. He also urged businesses to take advantage of "untapped human potential" by hiring those with disabilities. To read more about this go to: https://www.nod.org/remembering-george-h-w-bush-as-a-champion-for-those-with-disabilities/

You can also learn more about George H.W. Bush's role in the passage of the ADA here: https://georgehwbush.com/ghb-timeline