Newsletter: June 21, 2017

Northeast ADA Center New Bulletin: June 20, 2017

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: June 21st, 2017

The Northeast ADA Center provides information, guidance, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act and related disability issues throughout New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.




Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Free Webinar! Beach Access Routes-Key Considerations for Public Entities

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM

Presented by Jennifer Perry

It's that time of year that many of us take advantage of the summer weather and "head to the shore" for some R&R. This webinar will review the scoping and technical requirements for beach access routes from the ABA Outdoor Developed Areas Final Rule.  While the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design do not directly address access to beaches, there are still Program Accessibility obligations to consider (for beaches maintained by state/local government entities) that require that programs and activities offered by public entities must be accessible to people with disabilities. This webinar will review the ABA's requirements that apply to beach access routes in national parks and other outdoor areas developed by the federal government, as they can be a useful tool for ADA covered entities that are looking for best practice guidance related to beach access routes. To register go to:

What's New in Our Region:

Do You Need Assistive Technology for Work or for Home?

National Disability Institute's Assistive Technology (AT) Loan Program provides affordable loans to persons with disabilities, seniors and veterans to help purchase assistive technology products and services.  Assistive Technology can improve your independence and quality of life, and includes home and vehicle modification, screen readers for computers, hearing aids and more.

If you are a resident of New York or New Jersey and at least 18 years old, then you may qualify.  Visit NDI's website to learn more:

To discover AT loan programs across the country, visit or contact: Laurie Schaller at or 202.449.9521

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

City Agrees to Settlement of Housing Discrimination Suit with DOJ

On May 26, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the city of Jacksonville, Florida (city), agreed on a settlement over claims that the city violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The DOJ alleged that the city denied permission for the development of permanent supportive housing for individuals with disabilities in an historic district and discriminated on the basis of the intended residents' disabilities.  To read about this go to:

Airlines Face Soaring Disability Complaints

The number of disability-related complaints against airlines shot up more than twofold in a decade, a new government report finds. Travelers with disabilities filed more than 30,000 complaints with airlines in 2015, up from fewer than 14,000 in 2005. That's according to a report out from the Government Accountability Office. The vast majority of complaints, 58 percent, blamed airlines for failing to provide assistance, generally with wheelchairs, GAO found. Seating accommodations, damage to assistive devices and problems related to service animals were also frequently cited issues. To view this article go to:

City Closes Dog Park for ADA Violation

The city of Piqua Ohio announced on its website that Hollow Park will no longer be used as a dog park, as the U.S. Justice Department has determined that it is not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  "We conferred with the Department of Justice, and it was their interpretation that the existing dog park at Hollow Park would not meet with ADA requirements and cannot be used for a dog park," City Manager Gary Huff said. "We have officially closed it."  The city has also immediately stopped development work that was being done at the site to create two fenced-in dog areas. They will be putting down grass seed on the areas that were disturbed.  This determination followed concerns that residents voiced during the public comment portion of the Piqua City Commission meeting.  Valerie Mullikin and Randi Simon-Serey, both of Piqua, each came forward to talk about how the Hollow Park Dog Park is not accessible to people living with limited mobility. The city is still working toward finding a new location for a dog park that is accessible for everyone in the Parks Master Plan that is currently under development. They hope to receive recommendations through the creation of that document.  To read more about this go to:

Lack of Accessibility at Fitness Facilities

According to a recent study published in the Disability Health Journal, individuals with physical and mobility disabilities have limited opportunities to participate in physical activity due to barriers in the built environment, the lack of knowledge of fitness staff, and the costs associated with membership fees at recreation facilities. Previously, only a handful of studies examined the accessibility of fitness facilities for individuals with disabilities. The results of this latest study indicated that none of the facilities examined were fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Of the fitness facilities included in the study, the majority received a low accessibility score in all sections other than programs, parking, and water fountains. The study found similar results in both urban and suburban facilities, regardless of whether they were built after the passage of the ADA. Further research is needed to plan how to remove barriers in fitness facilities.

To read more about this go to:

UPCO Will Pay $106,000 For Disability Discrimination

A Claremore, Okla.-based manufacturer of sucker rods and accessories for the oil and gas industry will pay $106,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Lydia Summers began working as a temporary receptionist and assisting in the accounting department. After five months, UPCO made Summers a conditional offer of full-time, permanent employment, conditioned on Summers passing a pre-employment medical exam conducted by a third-party vendor. Following the exam, the vendor's physician, who never examined or questioned Summers, refused to approve her for employment with UPCO because of the supposed side effects of her prescription medications. Even after Summers provided UPCO with a letter from her personal physician stating that she was not impaired by her medications, UPCO rescinded its job offer, the EEOC alleged.  To read more about this go to:

First Public Accommodations Website Accessibility Case Goes to Trial in Florida

The first trial under the Americans with Disabilities Act about the accessibility of a public accommodations website took place in the southern district of Florida.  U.S. District Judge Robert Scola presided over the first trial in the history of the ADA about the accessibility of a public accommodations website.  To read more about this go to:

IBM and West Virginia University's Center for Disability Inclusion Unveil Mobile Workplace Accommodation Case Management App

IBM and West Virginia University's Center for Disability Inclusion (CDI) announced they are developing a first generation mobile workplace accommodation case management app to help U.S. businesses create inclusive workplaces for employees with disabilities.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 20.4 percent of people with disabilities were employed in March 2017, as opposed to 68.7 percent of people without disabilities. Therefore, creating better support for job applicants and employees is critical to creating a diverse pool of talent in the workplace, optimizing the productivity of every worker, and increasing job satisfaction.  To read more about this go to:

New Edition of the ICC A117.1 Accessibility Standard Approved

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently approved the 2017 edition of the ICC A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. This voluntary consensus standard, which provides technical provisions for accessible spaces and elements in facilities, is referenced by the International Building Code (IBC). (The 2018 IBC will reference the prior edition of the ICC A117.1 Standard, so jurisdictions that wish to implement the 2017 edition will have to adopt it specifically.)

The new edition features enhanced requirements for clear floor space, turning space and accessible routes based on new research on human measures and wheeled mobility. It also includes new provisions covering acoustics in classrooms, electric vehicle charging stations, and components in public rights-of-ways such as curb ramps, blended transitions, detectable warnings, and on-street parking. The International Code Council (ICC), which maintains the IBC and serves as the secretariat for the ANSI A1171 Committee, will publish the new standard in June. Visit the ICC's website for further information here:

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar! What is Universal Design?

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

12:30 PM EDT - 1:00 PM EDT

Universal Design (UD) is the design of buildings, products, communication and environments that are usable by all people. In this 30- minute session, John Salmen, President of Universal Designers & Consultants, Inc. will discuss the evolution of UD, methods of accommodation using UD in architecture and in other elements, accessible design vs. universal design, and UD for aging in place.  To register go to:

Free Webinar! Accessible Courthouses (A refresher)

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT

This session will provide a refresher on requirements in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards for courthouses and courtrooms. Presenters will review provisions in the standards for secured entrances, judges' benches, jury boxes, witness stands, clerk and bailiff stations, spectator seating, holding cells, and other courthouse spaces and elements. To register go to:

Free Webinar! Section 508 Best Practices

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM EDT

The US Access Board offers a free webinar series on standards issued under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires access to information and communication technology in the federal sector. This year's sessions focus on the updated Section 508 Standards published by the Board in January. The next webinar in this series is scheduled for July 25 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will review requirements for hardware, including mobile devices, in Chapter 4 of the revised 508 Standards. Presenters will cover provisions for speech-output for devices with display screens, access to two-way voice communication, privacy, closed captioning, audio description, operable parts and user controls.

For more details or to register for this session, visit The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the Board.

Special Spotlight:

A Cautionary Tale for Healthcare Providers: Are You Actually Providing Effective Communication Under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act?

The Eleventh Circuit, in Silva v. Baptist Health South Florida, Inc., recently addressed a healthcare provider's obligation to provide effective communication, through appropriate auxiliary aids and services, to persons with disabilities pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (RA). The lessons from this opinion are instructive to healthcare providers around the country who may find themselves in the shoes of the defendants.  The plaintiffs in Silva, who are hearing-impaired, alleged that the defendants, two nonprofit hospitals and their nonprofit parent company, failed to provide an in-person interpreter for American Sign Language but relied instead on video remote interpreting (VRI), which was alleged to be ineffective in violation of the ADA and the RA. The district court awarded summary judgment to the defendants on the basis that the plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to seek injunctive relief under the ADA or the RA because they did not show that they were likely to return to the healthcare facilities in the future. The district court also dismissed plaintiffs' claims under the RA because they failed to establish any damages, i.e., they failed to demonstrate instances where communication difficulties resulted in actual adverse medical consequences to them.  A unanimous Eleventh Circuit panel, however, reversed the lower court's ruling. While the court recognized that it is ultimately up to the healthcare provider to determine the appropriate auxiliary aid to provide and that it is not required to supply any and all auxiliary aids demanded, the court stressed that the auxiliary aid furnished must provide effective communication. To read more about this go to: