Newsletter: September 17, 2015

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: September 17, 2015

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

The expanding disability market: Scenario Clinic-Free Training

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM

Presented By: Hannah Rudstam

During this webinar, we will explore and discuss scenarios related to serving people with disabilities in a variety of sectors and businesses. Building upon the September 9 webinar, we will pose short scenarios describing real-life dilemmas around accessibility and serving people with disabilities. The scenarios will be drawn from a variety of settings, including healthcare, retail, hospitality, recreation and education. Attendees will have a chance to interact and discuss these scenarios with the facilitator. To register go to and click on the upcoming events tab.

Issues, Impacts and Implications of an Aging Workforce-Free training

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM

Presented By: Sarah von Schrader and Jeffrey Tamburo

The aging population is growing and the number of older adults in the workforce is rising, which presents multiple challenges to organizations. Age discrimination and the increased prevalence of disability with age are very common and real concerns among employers and aging workers.  This webinar will highlight the realities of this changing workforce, share information on discrimination charges filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and discuss implications for practice for both employers and disability service professionals.  This webinar also will discuss the common issues and characteristics of charges jointly filed under the ADA and ADEA. To register go to and click on the upcoming events tab.

What's New in Our Region:

PR Vocational Rehabilitation Administration Benefits Reduction

The economic compensation for Puerto Rico's Vocational Rehabilitation Administration (VRA) training programs has been reduced to 40%. This compensation reduction directly affects the total cost of college tuition, and benefits such as complementary economic support, assistive technology, readers for blind participants and sign language interpreters for deaf participants. While PR VRA funds have been reduced, the number of applications and beneficiaries increased, said Ivan A. Clemente Delgado, PR VRA's Administrator.  For more information (in Spanish), visit:

N.J. lawmakers question why Christie refuses to address psychiatric hospital bed shortage

Nearly one-third of people admitted to a New Jersey hospital last year sought treatment for a mental illness, an addiction, or a medical condition exacerbated by a psychiatric condition, according to mental health advocates and hospital executives. These patients likely waited at least three days in the emergency room before a hospital found the room to admit them.

But given the option to begin a process last winter that would have solicited offers from hospitals to open more beds for psychiatric patients, the Christie administration declined to do so. Officials postponed the next review to 2017, according to a notice on the state Health Department's website.  To read more of this visit

Deaf Community Week's Activities in Puerto Rico

San Gabriel School for deaf students will be conducting three activities during the Deaf Community Week celebration in Puerto Rico. On September 26 starting at 9:00 am they will celebrate its 14th Parade: "Hear My Hands, Communicate!" from the Hiram Bithorn Park to the School's facilities.  On September 30 at 9:00 am the School will host the "3rd. Meeting of Deaf Students of Puerto Rico" where deaf students from across PR will share a day together. On October 1 & 2 from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm will be the "10th Congress on Education for Puerto Rican Deaf People" in the School's facilities at San Juan. For more information, you can contact the school directly at 787-783-3455 or, or visit their Facebook page at: Facebook Page - San Gabriel School  

Special Education and Services for People with Disabilities Cooperative of PR Will Hold Its Assembly

The Special Education and Services for People with Disabilities Cooperative of Puerto Rico will host its next Assembly on September 25, 2015 at 4:00 pm at the Multiple Insurances Cooperative of PR main office library in San Juan.  This is a services cooperative that plans to create a variety of services to meet the needs of people with disabilities of all ages in Puerto Rico.  The first part of the event will be an orientation for new attendees who are interested in learning more about this Cooperative. After the orientation, the Cooperative will accept new members and will hold the Assembly meeting for members. For more information contact: 787-554-4137, 787-349-8001, or

What's New in the Rest of the Country:


The Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't protect employees or applicants who currently use "illegal" drugs when an employer takes adverse action based on drug use. Courts have said the ADA defines "illegal drug use" by reference to the federal Controlled Substances Act, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I illegal narcotic.

State laws that authorize medical marijuana use directly conflict with federal disability discrimination laws and parallel state statutes, rendering employers' legal obligations to individuals with disabilities unclear. Employees who seek permission to use medical marijuana as an accommodation for a disability may have accommodation rights under state medical marijuana statutes but no accommodation rights under disability laws.  Read more at

It's Final! Federal Construction Contractors Must Comply With Affirmative Action Obligations for Individuals with Disabilities

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court in Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. v. Shiu, U.S., No. 14-1111, cert. denied 6/15/15, declined to review Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.'s (ABC) challenge to the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' (OFCCP) final rules that require all federal contractors to implement new affirmative action obligations for individuals with disabilities. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision is significant because it affirmed the government's contention that even federal construction contractors have to comply with the Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 503) final regulations, which became effective March 24, 2014.  Read more at Section 503 Final Regulations

Are Traumatized Students Disabled? A Debate Straight Outta Compton

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Compton Unified School District this year.  This lawsuit, which is the first of its kind alleges that the Compton Unified School District has failed to accommodate students with trauma, which when diagnosed is a disability covered by federal law.  Since the murder rate in Compton is so high above the national average children in this school district are particularly susceptible to witnessing a traumatizing event.  That being said schools in Compton often punished instead of helped traumatized students.  Marleen Wong, a teacher at USC's School of Social Work thinks that the schools are "really doing a terrible disservice to these children" with the way they are currently handling them, but nonetheless the Compton Unified School District has already asked for the case to be dismissed. To read more, visit:

Microsoft Turns Diversity Focus to Lawyers with Disabilities

The Microsoft legal and corporate affairs group's recent attention on people with disabilities has roots in a growing awareness of the trend toward expanding their civil rights and was encouraged by legal department team members who are passionate and outspoken advocates for the issue. It was a natural evolution as the team progressed along "the diversity maturity index," as it's put by Mary Snapp, Microsoft's deputy general counsel and executive sponsor of the legal and corporate affairs diversity and inclusion team.

"It's sort of a continuum," Snapp says. "It has begun with trying to recognize the trend, being much focused very broadly on diversity and having a couple very strong activists whom we really listened to - and it has made a difference in the department." Read more at 

Justice Department Reaches Proposed ADA Settlement Agreement On Oregon's Developmental Disabilities System

The U.S. Justice Department announced today, along with private plaintiffs, that it has entered into a proposed settlement agreement with the state of Oregon that will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and will impact approximately 7,000 Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who can and want to work in typical employment settings in the community. The private plaintiffs were represented by the Center for Public Representation, Disability Rights Oregon and the law firms of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP and Perkins Coie LLP. The proposed agreement resolves a class action lawsuit by private plaintiffs in which the department intervened.  The parties' proposed settlement agreement must still be approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart of the District of Oregon, who is presiding over the lawsuit.  The agreement will be filed with the court in the coming weeks.  Read more at

Opportunities for You!

ADA@25 Three-Part Learning Series - Session 2: ABLE Act Implementation Tax Advantaged Savings Accounts

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

1:00 PM EDT - 3:00 PM EDT

Online via Live Stream

or in person at 10467 White Granite Drive, Oakton, VA 22124

ServiceSource and the National Disability Institute present three opportunities to learn, change thinking and build knowledge. Each session will be offered in person at the ServiceSource Disability Resource Center in Oakton, Virginia and via nationwide live streaming. Register to attend at  Session 2: The ABLE Act Implementation Tax Advantaged Savings Accounts: New Choices for Families To Create Pathways To A Better Quality Of Life. What Does It Mean For You? Featuring Representatives From: Department of the Treasury Virginia 529 College Savings Plan the Arc Autism Speaks National Down Syndrome Society.  For More Information on This Event:

ServiceSource - ADA@25 Learning Series

Special Spotlight:  

ADA Compliance: Landlords, You're On the Hook

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability. Title III of the ADA requires that businesses provide accommodations to persons with disabilities and access that is equal or similar to that available to the general public. What many property owners do not realize is that the ADA applies to commercial landlords, even if the landlord delegates disability accommodation to its tenant. Failing to understand this obligation can create significant liability exposure for a commercial property owner. For more information visit