Newsletter: January 31, 2012

Northeast ADA Center January 31, 2012 News Bulletin


What’s New in Our Region:
NYS Seeks Input on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Supported Employment:
The New York State Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services- Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) and the State Rehabilitation Council are developing the 2013 fiscal year State Plan for VR and Supported Employment Services. Public meetings will be held in New York City, Albany, and Buffalo in February to gather recommendations from individuals with disabilities, families, advocates, employers and service providers on how ACCES-VR can improve their services as well as specific strategies that will enable VR participants to engage more fully in the process. Recommendations may also be submitted in writing or electronically February 15-March 16.  Learn more at:
Federal Report Criticizes NYS For Poor Care of People with Disabilities:
A report recently released by the Department of Health and Human Services found that New York State’s system of providing care for individuals with developmental disabilities failed, having a high number of unexplained deaths, excluding public input, and violating federal requirements regarding spending. The report called for the submission of a “corrective plan” and monthly progress reports. Read more at:
$1.2 Million Grant in NY School Will Help Train Teachers of the Deaf:
Rochester, New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf’s Master of Science program in Secondary Education has received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help recruit and train teachers of the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Much of the five year grant will be used for scholarships to support students preparing for teaching careers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Also, prospective teachers who represent underrepresented racial minorities will be supported in an attempt to offset the national shortage of teachers with diverse backgrounds who are qualified to teach students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Read more at:
What’s New in the Rest of the Country:
AT&T Earns Recognition as Top Employer for People with Disabilities:
AT&T ranked number one in CAREERS & the disabled magazine’s 2012 list of "Top 50 Employers" for people with disabilities. The list is the result of an annual survey of the magazine’s readers asking them to list the top three companies or government agencies they would most like to work for or believe would provide a positive working environment for people with disabilities. Examples of AT&T’s commitment to inclusion of professionals with disabilities include: an accessible job application process; provision of reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities; call center job opportunities for veterans with disabilities; and sponsorship of a networking and professional development employee resource group for employees with disabilities. Read more at:
U.S. Customs Forms Alliance with ODEP to Boost Disability Employment:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection signed an alliance with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to boost the hiring of people with disabilities and develop strategies that can be replicated by other federal agencies. This is the first federal agency to partner with ODEP to advance President Obama’s 2010 executive order to increase federal hiring of people with disabilities. Read more at:
Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN) New Series of Training Modules:
JAN has announced the first in a series of fully-accessible just-in-time training modules entitled, “JAN’s Interactive Process.” This 23 minute training module and accompanying transcript and handout provides a sample step-by-step process that employers can use to help them successfully accommodate applicants or employees. Trainees can view the module at their computer or use the module as part of a larger training. The module and supporting documents can be found in JAN’s Multimedia Training Library at:
Closed-Captioning Report and Order from FCC:
On January 13th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Report and Order adopting rules to implement certain closed captioning provisions of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. The FCC adopted rules that require video programming that is shown on television with closed captions after the effective date of the rules to be closed captioned when delivered using Internet protocol.  These rules will be phased in over a two-year period. The FCC also adopted rules that require equipment designed to receive or play back video programming (such as televisions, set-top boxes, computers, smartphones, and tablets) to be equipped with built-in closed caption decoder circuitry or capability to display closed-captioned video programming.  These rules apply to equipment manufactured or imported into the United States on or after January 1, 2014. To read the Report and Order, go to:
U.S. Access Board Seeks Public Comments on Two Key Issues:
The Access Board has reopened the comment period on its proposed guidelines for Accessible Public Rights-of-Way until February 2, 2012. Additionally, it has released for public comment a revised draft of updated accessibility requirements for information and communication technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act. Read more about these items, and others, in the Access Board’s latest online newsletter at:
ATMs Must Comply with ADA Come March 15th:
By March 15th, Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in the United States must be in compliance with the latest rules under the ADA to ensure equal access for people with disabilities to public accommodations and technology. Read more at:
Opportunities for You!
Facility ADA Standards Webinar Series Begins January 31st:
The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center is presenting a three-part webinar series on “Accessibility and the ADA: Facility Standards Update” focusing on the new 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design which become mandatory for use March 15th. Webinar dates are January 31st, February 7th, and February 14th from 2:00-3:30pm EST. Cost is $50 for the full series and it is approved for LU/HSW credits. Register at:
Register Now for the 2012 National ADA Symposium!
The National ADA Symposium, the most comprehensive conference available on the ADA, will be offered in two different locations in 2012. The first conference will be March 12-14th in Orlando, Florida and the second will be May 30-June 1st in Indianapolis, Indiana. Registration is $400. Learn more and register at:
Special Spotlight-  Landmark Supreme Court Case & Recent Increase in EEOC Disability Discrimination Settlements:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for regulatory activity and enforcement of Title I of the ADA. Recently, there have been multiple disability discrimination lawsuits settled between the EEOC and employers who have allegedly engaged in discriminatory activity against a job applicant or employee with a disability. In general these cases are being resolved in favor of EEOC and the individual with a disability. However there was a major U.S. Supreme Court ruling recently that put new limits on filing employment discrimination suits against religious organizations. In this case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, the employee was a teacher; however, the school she worked for gave her the title of “Minister of Religion, Commissioned”. The EEOC filed suit against Hosana-Tabor for disability discrimination, but the Supreme Court, in the first decision on the “ministerial exception”, unanimously stated that the constitution protects churches from employment-discrimination claims by ministers. To read the full opinion, go to: read a brief article on the case, go to:   Read below for a list of other recent EEOC cases and click on the corresponding website link for more information!
Maxim Healthcare to pay $160,000 to the estate of a nurse who died of cancer after she and EEOC filed the lawsuit under the ADA Amendments Act:
United Insurance Company Pays $37,500 to Resolve EEOC case:
UPS Supply Chain Solutions will pay $95,000: 
Wal-Mart to pay $275,000 after firing employee after cancer-related surgery:
Ford-Lincoln-Mercury to pay $56,000 for firing salesperson with leg condition:
Pharmacy to pay $70,000 to settle with EEOC:
American Apparel to pay $60,000 to settle with EEOC:
Sysco to pay $82,000 after alleged unlawful medical inquires and termination:
Colorado supermarket chain to pay $80,000 to employee with a mental disability:
Dodge’s Chicken to pay $190,000 to former employee fired after having seizures:
Company will pay $30,000 for not accommodating an applicant with a disability:
The contents of this News Bulletin were developed under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133 A110020. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.