Newsletter: December 17, 2012

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin - December 17, 2012

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 and Cornell staff unavailable, from 5:00pm EST Friday December 21, 2012 until 8:30am EST Tuesday January 2, 2013.  During this time, 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 ( will be open Thursday December 27th, Friday December 28th, and Monday December 31st from 8:30am-5:00pm EST.  At this time, we will be happy to return any phone messages or emails/online TA requests you may have submitted to us during our closing.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience regarding any potential delays in our response time.  The Northeast ADA Center wishes all of you a most happy and healthy new year!

What's New in Our Region:

N.J. Assembly Panel OKs Bill to Curb Police Violence against People with Mental Disabilities

A proposed bill would allow people with both mental and developmental disabilities to register in a database maintained by the state Attorney General's Office.  This database would be available to law enforcement officers as a resource aimed at preventing possible violent encounters by police officers against persons with disabilities.  Officers would be aware of the existence of certain disabilities, whose symptoms might be misinterpreted by law enforcement officers.  The bill is now awaiting passage in the New Jersey senate.

To read more, visit:

Cuomo Creates Cabinet on Integrating People with Mental Disabilities  

Governor Cuomo recently signed an executive order to improve New York State's goal of placing individuals with developmental disabilities in community settings as opposed to institutions. The executive order creates a cabinet with members from various state agencies servicing individuals with disabilities. The cabinet has been tasked with creating a plan to implement the deinstitutionalization of individuals with mental disabilities, which is required by federal law.  To read more, visit:

New Jersey Appeals Court Finds Workplace Drug and Alcohol Policy Direct Evidence of Disability Discrimination

An appellate court held that a policy requiring an employee to undergo random breath alcohol tests was discriminatory under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The company required the testing after an employee disclosed being an alcoholic. The employee was terminated after signing an after-care contract requiring the employee to take random alcohol analysis for two years and failing one out of the ten required tests. The court determined the policy was discriminatory because it was only required after the disclosure of her condition and because other employees were not required to participate in the tests. To read more, visit:

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Study: Autism Risk Linked to Air Pollution

The results of a study into the causes of autism were recently released linking children exposure to traffic-related air pollution throughout pregnancy and the first year of life to being at risk for autism. According to the study, children residing in residences with, "the highest levels of pollution were three times as likely to have autism as compared to children in homes with the lowest levels." The authors of the study explained that more research is needed to validate the study findings but that it has important public health implications. To read more, visit:

Parenting Style Has Big Impact on Kids with Disabilities

A recent study in the Research in Developmental Disabilities journal explored the impact of parenting style on kids with developmental disabilities. The study suggests that parenting style is "directly tied to how cooperative and independent children develop." The study emphasized the importance of positive parenting for children with developmental disabilities.  The study found that positive parenting leads to better child development in areas such as language skills and emotional expression as compared to authoritative or permissive parenting. To read more, visit:

Video Vignettes Illustrate 'Soft Skills' All Young Workers Need, Says US Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy has released a series of videos highlighting the importance of soft skills in the workplace. The videos are part of its "Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success" program. The videos can be used by youth service programs such as those for young jobseekers with disabilities. The videos can be utilized to discuss and highlight the importance of each soft skill involved.  Some of the important workplace skills discussed in the videos include communication and professionalism. To read more and view the videos, visit:

Allowing Employees to Transfer to Another Worksite as a Reasonable Accommodation May not be "Unreasonable" even when the Transfer is to  receive better medical care by the Employee

In a case involving a United States Forest Service employee in the 10th circuit, an employee requested a transfer to another location where she would be able to receive better medical care to accommodate her work-related injury. The courts ruled in the employee's favor stating that the request was not unreasonable, even though the employee could perform the essential job tasks at the current location. Employers may now have to participate in a more complex process that may require them to be open to the idea of allowing employees to transfer to another location as a reasonable accommodation that allows access to medical care relating to quality of life. This new ruling focuses on more than employers concentrating on essential functions of a job only as reasonable accommodations. This allows employees to get healthy sooner and enjoy a better work-life balance. To read more, visit:

Jobs First!: Campaign Seeks To Improve Employment Outlook For People With Disabilities

The Next Step program at the University of Wisconsin is working to improve employment outcomes for young people with disabilities in Wisconsin. Through this program, young adults with developmental disabilities learn key food service industry skills such as cooking basics and how to work a food preparation line.  Students in the program gain real world experience in the food industry as well as a certificate of completion, which should help make the individuals competitive applicants for employers. To read more about the program, visit: 

Rite Aid to Pay $250,000 to Settle EEOC Disability and Retaliation Discrimination Lawsuit

This settlement stemmed from charges filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which alleges that Rite Aid had discriminated against a pharmacy worker with epilepsy. Rite Aid had required the worker to undergo a work fitness test, the results of which it used to remove the worker from his position. Rite Aid also failed to consider whether reasonable accommodations could have helped to eliminate any safety issues arising from the employee's epilepsy.  The settlement requires that Rite Aid revise its accommodation policies and provide training to managers on the provisions of the ADA, along with other actions. To read more, visit:

Report: Parents with Disabilities Face Bias, Loss of Kids

A new report by the National Council on Disability titled "Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children" shows that individuals with disabilities still face challenges and discrimination in the area of parenting. The report mentions that several states still have laws that determine parents with disabilities are unfit because of their disabilities. The report mentions the need for improved testing to better determine how a particular disability may impact the ability to parent effectively. To read more, visit:

ADA Paratransit Services: Demand Has Increased, but Little is Known about Compliance

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that there is little monitoring of nation's paratransit services. A GAO report provides recommendations for improving monitoring and ADA compliance of paratransit service providers. To read the report, visit:

Social Security Disability Claims will be Sped Up by Program's Expansion

The Social Security Administration has announced that it will expand its Compassionate Allowances. Compassionate Allowances provides benefits more quickly to individuals with certain disabilities such as cancer or Alzheimer's disease.  The program severely lessens the filing burden on individuals with approved disabilities. The recent change increases the number of medical conditions eligible to be "fast-tracked." To read more, visit:

Opportunities for You!

Upcoming webinar on ADA and GINA

This webinar will be presented by a staff member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Division and will provide valuable information on the intersection of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and the employment provisions of the ADA. One topic to be discussed will be employer's obligations for storing medical information. To register for this webinar scheduled for December 18, 2012 visit:

2013 National ADA Symposium

The registration page for the ADA Symposium is now live. The symposium will be held on May 12-15, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. The conference will provide practical information on the implementation of the ADA to a variety of stakeholders (such as disability advocates and government officials).  The conference will feature presentations by representatives from the Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Access Board.

To register for the Symposium, visit,

2013 US Business Leadership Network Conference

This business-to-business conference will focus on disability inclusion in the work place, marketplace, and the supply chain. Businesses will discuss successful strategies for increasing the disability diversity of their workplaces and their suppliers. The conference will be held from September 30 to October 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA. To register, visit:

Special Spotlight: United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The United States Senate recently voted down the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Supporters of the Convention hoped that United States' ratification would help encourage other countries to ratify it and improve protections for individuals with disabilities worldwide, including Americans abroad. The following links provide reactions from various groups on the vote as well as related news coverage. The convention will again be up for vote at the next Congress. 

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Senate GOP kills disabilities treaty  

Republican Opposition Downs UN Disability Treaty

Bob Dole Can't Sway Republicans to Back UN Disabilities Treaty

NCD Statement on Failed CRPD Ratification Vote in the Senate

Treaty for People with Disabilities Falls Short of Ratification

Disabling the Disabled