Newsletter: October 15, 2014

Northeast ADA Center New Bulletin: October 15, 2014

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center

10-22-14 - Free Webinar! Section 503, the ADA Amendments Act, and Disability Service Providers: Scenario Clinic (Part II) from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EST

Recent changes in disability laws and policies could lead to sweeping changes for individuals with disabilities in the workplace and other areas of life.  New rules for Rehabilitation Act (RA) Section 503 impact how employers recruit, hire, retain and accommodate workers with disabilities. This webinar is an interactive session that will focus on real-life employment implications for RA Section 503 and the ADA Amendments Act for individuals with disabilities and those who serve them. To learn more and to register, visit:

11-12-14 - Free Webinar! Returning Veterans with Disabilities: Update on opportunities, challenges and dilemmas (VEVRAA, FMLA, etc.)

On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, we will celebrate Veterans Day.  To commemorate the contribution of the men and women who have served our country, this webinar focuses on creating workplace cultures, policies and practices that are effective for transitioning veterans, including veterans with disabilities.  We will provide an overview of the employment situation of veterans with disabilities, focusing on emerging laws in this area and on the experiences of veterans with disabilities as they transition to the civilian workforce.  The session will be co-facilitated by Edgar Johnson, a talent acquisition professional at Cornell University who is himself a veteran.   Edgar will focus on effective strategies to recruit and retain veterans and veterans with disabilities.  Finally, we will consider the human perspective.  How can employers create employment policies, practices and cultures that are both effective and that foster a climate of trust for the many veterans who will be returning to our workplaces?  To register, visit:

What's New in Our Region

11-14-14 - 4th Annual Retinitis Pigmentosa Symposium in Puerto Rico

The Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation presents the 4th Retinitis Pigmentosa Symposium in Puerto Rico on November 14, 2014 from 7:00 am - 3:00 pm at the theater of the University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo Campus. The Symposium will feature speakers from inside and outside of Puerto Rico, such as Dr. Gustavo Aguirre from the University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Nicolás Cuenca-Navarro from the University of Alicante in Spain; Dr. Gerald Chadder from the USC School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California; Dr. Carmen Suarez-Castro, Optometrist in PR and Dr. Oscar Hernández-López, Ophthalmologist in PR.

For more information and to register you may call (787) 786-9100 or (787) 815-0000 ext. 3254, 3250, 3253 or 3257, write to, or visit

NY Governor Establishes a Commission to Create Employment First Policy

New York Governor Cuomo has established this initiative which aims to increase the employment rate, and decrease the poverty rate, for New Yorkers who are receiving services from the State, as well as register 100 businesses as having formal policies to hire people with disabilities as part of their workforce strategy. A recent Cornell Study, "A Review of Recent Evaluation Efforts Associated with Programs and Policies Designed to Promote the Employment of Adults with Disabilities" notes that government policies aimed at increasing the employment of working-age people with disabilities can reverse each of these effects. The Employment First policy is part of a national movement to support the employment of people with disabilities. The employment rate for a New Yorker with a disability (aged 18-64) is 31.2% compared to 72% for a person without a disability, resulting in a gap of 40.8 percentage points. Read more at:

New York City's Accessible Taxi Plan Moves Forward

Currently there are only approximately 600 cabs out of roughly 13,000 that are wheelchair-accessible in New York City. On September 16th, Manhattan Federal Court Judge Daniels approved the settlement agreement that will make half of NYC's taxi fleet of yellow cabs wheelchair-accessible by 2020, calling it "one of the most significant acts of inclusion in this city since Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers." Mayor de Blasio thanked Judge Daniels for echoing the basic premise that an Accessible Taxi Plan in NYC is simply "the right thing to do". The overhaul will be funded by a 30 cent surcharge on regular taxi rides. Read more at:

City School District of New Rochelle, NY Agrees to Improve ADA Title II Policies and Procedures

The consent decree specifically requires the school district to adopt and implement individualized evacuation plans for all students with mobility disabilities attending the school in the District, so that all students have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in evacuations - whether actual evacuations or drills - conducted by the District. Additional requirements related to Title II are laid out in the consent decree as well. Read more at:

Metropolitan Museum of Art Programs for Visitors with Disabilities

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is offering numerous programs that are accessible to people with disabilities, including programs for those people with hearing or vision disabilities, dementia and learning or developmental disabilities. Accommodations include assistive listening devices, ASL Interpreting, real-time captioning and touch tours. Read more at:

What's New in the Rest of the Country

Class Action Settlement Agreement with Redbox Highlights the Need for Accessible Self Service Equipment

Self-service kiosks are becoming increasingly popular nationwide for a number of customer needs, including DVD rental, renting a car, obtaining a boarding pass, etc.  The class action settlement with Redbox is a result of a complaint brought by several blind individuals and an advocacy group because the Redbox DVD rental kiosks could not be independently used by people with visual disabilities. The settlement requires, among other things, that Redbox  incorporate audio guidance technology, a tactile keypad, and other accessibility features into its DVD rental kiosks so that customers who are blind can use them independently at one kiosk at every location within 18 months and at all California kiosks within 30 months. Read more at:

U.S. DOJ Postpones Deadline for Movie Captioning Comments to December 1st

Title III of the ADA requires movie theaters and other places of public accommodation to provide effective communication through the use of auxiliary aids and services. This new rulemaking specifies requirements that movie theaters will need to meet in order to satisfy their effective communication obligations to people with hearing and vision disabilities. The Department encourages the public to review the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and submit comments by the deadline. Read more at:

Update on the ABLE Act

On Friday, September 19, 2014, federal lawmakers announced that they had reached an agreement on the ABLE Act, which provides tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities. These accounts, which could be set up at any participating financial institution, would allow people to contribute up to $14,000 annually and accrue up to $100,000 without threatening eligibility to needed federal benefits such as supplemental Social Security income (SSI). The bill's lead sponsors said in a joint statement that they expect the legislation to be considered when Congress returns to Washington in November. Read more at:

Vote on the United Nations Disability Treaty Blocked

The U.N. Convention, which creates an international standard for disability rights similar to the ADA, was signed by the United States in 2009, but Senate approval is needed for ratification and official participation. Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, took to the Senate floor on September 17, 2014 and called for a unanimous consent vote on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Swiftly, Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, objected and stated "There are a number of our colleagues, both on and off the committee, who have concerns with this treaty." Senator Harkin said it was "another sad, irresponsible day in the U.S. Senate" after the objection blocked the vote on the Disability Treaty. Read more at:

ADA 25th Anniversary Commemorative T-Shirts Available for Purchase: Proceeds Support the ADA Legacy Project

This commemorative black t-shirt has artwork on the front and back. The front of the shirt has a red, white and blue design saying "ADA 25." The back says, in large white letters "Disability Rights are Civil Rights." To help support The ADA Legacy Project and the ongoing year-long ADA Legacy Tour, shirts are selling for $25.00 each. This includes shipping within the U.S. All income beyond production costs, shipping and handling will go to The ADA Legacy Project. Use the following link to order your t-shirt:

Opportunities for You!

Drexel University Online offers Master's Degree & Graduate Certificate Programs for Autism Spectrum Disorder Professionals

Drexel University Online is dedicated to developing skilled professionals to adeptly teach, care for, and nurture individuals with autism spectrum disorders through their online master's degree and graduate certificate programs. These degree and certificate programs are for educators and clinicians who work with individuals with autism spectrum disorders, including nurses, therapists, teachers, special education instructors and administrators. Learn more at:

11-6-14 - Free Webinar! Accessible Retail Stores and Spaces - "Advanced Session" 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM EST.

This webinar, hosted by Accessibility Online, will review accessibility standards under the ADA and ABA that provide criteria for the multitude of elements in retail stores and spaces such as parking, checkout aisles, sales and service counters, queues and waiting lines. To learn more, please visit:

Special Spotlight:  October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

With the arrival of October also comes the arrival of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a month long campaign dedicated to raising awareness and increasing education about current disability employment issues as well as celebrating the plethora of contributions that people with disabilities have made to America's workforce.

Starting out as a Congressional designated "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week" in 1945, it has evolved into so much more. Now, this week that was originally geared toward the recognition of people with physical disabilities in need of jobs, has turned into a celebration of all people with disabilities in the United States' workforce history and the continual recognition and expansion of their contributions.

The theme, which is typically identified by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, for this year's NDEAM is "Expect. Employ. Empower". This theme builds off of previous years' concepts that the strongest workforce is an inclusive one. NDEAM's message is also aimed toward expanding the recognition that people with disabilities can perform meaningful jobs as well as anyone else.  

Intent on bringing awareness to disability employment issues and employment equality and inclusion measures, NDEAM brings its call of "Expect. Employ. Empower" into 2014. For more information and to learn how you can get involved in NDEAM see:

Presidential Proclamation - National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Council on Disability Statement Supporting National Disability Employment Awareness Month

What can you do? The Campaign for Disability Employment

Department of Labor

Mobility Starts Here. NuMotion

National Disability Awareness Month, Facts & Figures. Diversity Inc.