Newsletter: May 16, 2018

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: May 16th, 2018

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Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Free Webinar-Effective Communication in the Medical Setting

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018 1:00 PM EDT - 2:30 PM EDT
Talking about medical issues can be difficult in any context. When a patient is speaking with their medical care provider, there are varieties of challenges, barriers, and misunderstandings that can get in the way. In this webinar, we will discuss effective communication in the medical setting from both the patient with a disability and the medical provider perspective. We will also address best practices for creating a positive and clear exchange. To register go to:

A Note About Technical Assistance:

The Northeast ADA will be conducting a staff retreat on Thursday May 31 and Friday June 1. During these two days, responses to technical assistance questions will be very limited. Please be patient and know that the technical assistance team will respond as quickly as they are able. Normal operations will resume on Monday, June 4.


What's New in Our Region:

The Addams Tavern in NJ Reaches Agreement under the ADA

The United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey has reached a settlement agreement with the Harvest Restaurant Group (HRG) after responding to a complaint that the Addams Tavern was inaccessible to individuals with mobility disabilities. The Addams Tavern is an existing facility originally constructed prior to the effective date of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and so is subject to the "readily achievable" barrier removal provisions of the ADA. Under consideration were inaccessible features, including bathrooms, bar counters and seating. In the agreement, HRG agrees that any future alterations to the premises will comply with the ADA. To read the full agreement go to:

For New Yorkers with Disabilities, Decision to Work Now Less Stressful

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently came to Buffalo to spread the word about a state program that can relieve the stress of a higher income on individuals with disabilities and their families. The program is called NY ABLE, which allows people with disabilities to save as much as $15,000 a year, without jeopardizing their benefits and an additional $12,000 if they work. Just as the college savings plans are designated 529 savings accounts, the savings plan through the NY ABLE program provides 529A accounts, although DiNapoli points out they do not have the same tax deductibility, "So you are able to really enrich your life, have more financial security without jeopardizing your federal benefits, and that is very, very important to people." To read the full article go to:

Hammonton NJ Youth Gymnastics Program Settles ADA Complaint

An investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office determined that the Hammonton youth gymnastics program was in violation of Title III of the ADA. The law requires businesses that serve the public, including gyms and other exercise and recreational programs; to make reasonable modifications to their policies when necessary to avoid discrimination because of disability. In the case, the parents alleged the business, Youth Fitness and Fun LLC, , refused to modify a program to allow a six-year-old girl with a feeding tube to participate in a program. Management at the gym determined that the medical needs were too severe to participate even though she was already active in multiple sports. To read more about this go to:


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Are The Nation's Schools Following the ADA?

Members of Congress are asking for a federal investigation into whether schools across the country are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Citing a 2015 report from the US Attorney of the southern district of NY, US Reps. Jose E Serrano D-NY and colleagues contend "localities continue to undermine the law by limiting the number of schools students with disabilities can physically access through negligence and lackluster enforcement of the ADA." The congressmen are asking that the Government Accountability Office issue a report including an estimate of how many k-12 schools are ADA compliant and assess whether states and school districts have appropriate data on the issue. To read more about this go to:

Microsoft Launches $25M Program to Use Artificial Intelligence for Disabilities

CEO Satya Nadella announced the new "AI for Accessibility" effort as he kicked off Microsoft's annual conference for software developers. It comes as Microsoft faces off with Amazon and Google to offer internet-connected services to businesses and organizations. The five-year accessibility initiative will include seed grants for startups, nonprofit organizations and academic researchers, as well as deeper investments and expertise from Microsoft researchers. Microsoft's accessibility fund builds on the model of the company's AI for Earth initiative, which launched last year to jumpstart projects combating climate change and other environmental problems. To read more about this go to:

Macy's To Pay $75,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Macy's will pay a former long-term employee $75,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the asthmatic employee worked for Macy's for nearly eight years, but she was fired after a one-day absence due to needing immediate medical attention for her asthma. Macy's policy permits absences for disability-related reasons. However, in this case, Macy's denied the employee's request to excuse the absence, even though she had to be seen in a hospital emergency room, and fired her three weeks later. Greg Gochanour, the regional attorney of EEOC's Chicago District Office, said, "Macy's response to the employee's absence was not reasonable. The employee found herself in a potentially life threatening circumstance and phoned Macy's to explain her absence before going to the hospital. The following day, she provided Macy's documentation from the hospital showing she was treated for asthma. Rather than accommodate the employee, Macy's fired her." To read the full article go to:

Hertz to Pay $45,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Hertz actively recruited Norman "Dan" Newton for a sales position in its car sales division in Denver after spotting his resume online. Newton agreed to meet with the local sales manager for an interview. At the interview, according to the EEOC, the Hertz manager expressed reservations about Newton's mobility because he used a cane. The manager later informed Newton that despite his competitive qualifications, which included over ten years of car sales experience, Hertz hired two other people. Both of those individuals possessed significantly less car sales experience than Newton, and one of them had never previously sold cars. The two-year consent decree resolving the case requires Hertz to pay $45,000 to Newton and provide him with an apology. In addition, the decree requires Hertz to adopt and maintain policies and practices that will provide its employees a workplace free of disability discrimination in the future and that will encourage employees to report discriminatory conduct. To read the full article go to:

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar-Accessible Airport Terminals

Thursday, June 7th, 2018 2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT
This session will review solutions to common access issues in airports and will focus on areas of special concern such as accessible passenger loading zones, self-service ticketing kiosks, security checkpoints, boarding bridges and devices, signage, sales and service counters, communication systems, and service animal relief areas. To register go to:

Ask the Department of Justice (DOJ): Open Question and Answer Session

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018 2:00 PM EDT - 3:30 PM EDT
Do you have a burning question regarding the non-discrimination in programs and services provisions of the ADA? Is there a policy or procedural issue that you are confused about? Do you have questions about service animals vs emotional support animals under the ADA? Are you clear about what constitutes undue hardship under the ADA? What are the guidelines regarding the provision of VRI versus Sign Language Interpreters during medical or professional services appointments? Join us for this popular session where you will have an opportunity to ask your question. We will be accepting questions in advance of the session. The first 25 questions submitted will be given priority and then we will take questions "live" during the session as well. To register go to:

Special Spotlight:

A Hidden Market: The Purchasing Power of People With Disabilities

A New report by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), quantifies the purchasing power of working-age adults with disabilities. In the United States 1 in 5 adults, or 64 million people have a disability. Of those 22 million are of prime working age. The report from AIR finds that inclusive hiring practices and involving people with disabilities in product development and advertisement can help businesses access a market worth billions of dollars. While some industries, such as technology and fashion, have begun marketing to and developing products for people with disabilities, the potential of these consumers has not been fully realized. Hiring and retaining people with disabilities and involving them in the development and production of products and services will be an important strategy for accessing this market. Several companies, including Starbucks, Northrop Grumman, AT&T, and Ernst & Young, have increased their inclusive hiring practices, recognizing that hiring people with disabilities can improve the bottom line and increase customer loyalty. To read more about this go to: