Newsletter: May 20, 2020

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: May 20, 2020

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Free Webinar: Small Business at Work: A toolkit to help small businesses leverage the talents of people with disabilities

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM

It's been said many times: small businesses are the backbone of America. They contribute well over half the money and jobs that fuel our economy. They are hotbeds of innovation and new product development. They provide valuable support to your local communities. In addition, they employ about half of all people currently working in the United States. As a small business, your business, your jobs, and your contribution matter not just to you, but also to all of us. Research conducted by the Northeast ADA Center investigated what small employers need to know about the implementation of Title I of the ADA. This research resulted in our Small Business at Work Toolkit. This toolkit provides curated information and essential resources about how (and why!) small businesses can successfully hire and retain employees with disabilities. You will find easy-to-understand, practical advice, along with expert guidance on following Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Instead of searching the Internet for whatever article may appear first, we hope you will visit our toolkit. Please join us for our introductory webinar for the Small Business at Work Toolkit.

If you require any reasonable accommodations in order to participate in the event, please notify the Northeast ADA Center 72 hours prior to the event. The Northeast ADA Center will make every reasonable effort to secure an accommodation that will meet your needs.

Registration URL: http://register.yangtaninstitute.org/register/index.cfm?event=7784

What's New in Our Region:

Back to Business after COVID-19: Addressing Disability Accommodation Requests in New York

Despite the lack of guidance from the EEOC, the New York City Commission on Human Rights contends that in many cases, a COVID-19 infection would meet the definition of a disability under the New York City Human Rights Law. Under the ADA and NY State Law, employers must provide employees with disabilities reasonable accommodations to allow them to perform the essential functions of their job. As businesses prepare to eventually open back up, employers should begin preparing for requests for reasonable accommodations directly and indirectly related to COVID-19. To read more about this go to: https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/back-to-business-after-covid-19-45081/

Warming Up To Employee Temperature Checks: Employer Guidance from the EEOC and NYC

In response to COVID-19 concerns, the EEOC clarified that under the Americans with Disabilities Act; employers are allowed to take employees temperatures to determine whether they have a fever. If an employee does have a fever, they can send them home without violating the ADA. In New York City, businesses have voiced concern that taking temperatures may still violate NY State and NY City Human Rights Laws. In response, the NY City Commission on Human Rights announced it would adopt the EEOC guidance and that employers following this guidance will satisfy obligations under the NY City Human Rights Law. To read more about this go to: https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/warming-up-to-employee-temperature-47261/

N.J. Coronavirus Patients with Developmental Disabilities Must be Allowed a Visitor at Hospital, State Says

Recognizing that having a support person is essential to patients with disabilities, the NJ health commissioner has ordered that COVID-19 patients with developmental disabilities can have a family member or agency caregiver by their side. Caregivers will still be required to go through proper screening and follow safety protocols. To read more about this go to: https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/04/nj-coronavirus-patients-with-developmental-disabilities-must-be-allowed-a-visitor-at-hospital-state-says.html

Building Code of NYS: Updated Codes Effective May 12, 2020

The Building Code of New York State (BCNYS) establishes minimum requirements for building systems using prescriptive and performance-related provisions. It is founded on broad-based principles that make possible the use of new materials and new building designs. This 2020 edition was developed as a derivative work of the 2018 edition of the International Building Code? (IBC?) published by the International Code Council? (ICC?). Chapter 11 of the building code contains provisions that set forth requirements for accessibility of buildings and their associated sites and facilities for people with physical disabilities.
The effective date of the 2020 NYS Code Books, and the amendments to the 2020 NYS Code Books, was May 12, 2020. There will be no transition period. Beginning on May 12, 2020, regulated parties submitting building permit applications must comply with the 2020 NYS Code Books and the amendments to the 2020 NYS Code Books. You can view the 2020 NYS Code books here: https://codes.iccsafe.org/category/New%20York?year[]=2020&page=1

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Wayne Farms to Pay $175,000 to Settle EEOC Lawsuit for Disability Discrimination

In a settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Wayne Farms, one of the nation's largest poultry producers, settled charges that the company capped the number of allowable absences regardless if the absence was due to a disability. The EEOC contends that the policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act as employers are required to reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities, absent of undue hardship. To read more about this visit: https://www.eeoc.gov/newsroom/wayne-farms-pay-175000-settle-eeoc-lawsuit-disability-discrimination

Department of Justice Temporarily Halts the Issuance of Right-to-Sue Notices Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

As of March 16, 2020, the US Department of Justice is temporarily suspending the issuance of Right-to-Sue notices to civil rights charging parties unless specifically requested by the charging party. Right-to-Sue notices trigger a 90 day timeframe for the charging part to sue. The Department recognizes that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, charging parties may not be able to exercise and protect their rights during this 90-day timeframe. Thus, beginning on March 16, 2020, the Department temporarily suspended issuing all Right-to-Sue Notices without a request from a charging party. To read more about this go to: https://www.justice.gov/crt/case-document/file/1272126/download

ADA Does Not Require "Forgiveness or a Second Chance"

In a case where a call center employee was terminated for violating the employer's conduct policy after a verbal meltdown with fellow employees, the employee disclosed she had PTSD and subsequently asked for a reasonable accommodation that would move her away from coworkers. Management decided to instead terminate the employee, following company policy. The employee then sued for disability discrimination, citing that the employer failed to provide a reasonable accommodation. First Circuit found that the employee's behavior clearly violated the company's conduct rules and that the company enforced those rules uniformly with regard to similar behavior. To read more about this go to: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=8ccc1e27-62e2-4fdd-b6f1-0a6a3ab64272

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar-Online Instruction for Young Children with Disabilities During COVID-19: Assessing and Addressing the Needs of Young Children with Disabilities through Telecommunication

Council for Exceptional Children in partnership with the Division for Early Childhood (DEC).

The essential practices in early intervention for children birth to five years can happen through actual conversation, even conversations that are held virtually. In this webinar, Robin McWilliam, Ph.D. and Cami Stevenson discuss how we can find out who's in the family's ecology, what the child and family needs are, develop participation-based child goals and family goals, construct a routines-by-goals matrix, and provide support-based visits-all done remotely. To view the webinar go to: https://cec.sped.org/Tools-and-Resources/Resources-for-Teaching-Remotely/Webinars/EarlyChildhoodOnline/EC-RBM

Free Webinar-The Americans with Disabilities Act: Substance Use Disorder and Barriers to Treatment and Recovery

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
3:00 PM EDT - 4:30 PM EDT

There are thousands of people in recovery from addiction unaware of their civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This presentation will provide information on the ADA and how it applies to individuals in treatment for or recovery from substance use disorders (SUDs). It will also explain how the ADA addresses alcohol, in addition to providing a general review of the law and cases that have interpreted the ADA's protections for these individuals. This presentation will provide examples of instances when a person is covered under the ADA and how healthcare providers, advocates, attorneys, and others who help individuals with SUDs can support their client or patient's ADA rights. This includes a discussion of where to file complaints if it appears that an individual's ADA rights are being violated. To register go to: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6117213608242457099

Free Webinar-ADA National Network Learning Session: Who Let the Dogs (and Miniature Horses) In? Service Animals in Health Care Facilities

Thursday, May 28th, 2020
11:30 AM PDT - 1:00 PM PDT

According to the Bureau of Global Public Affairs within the U.S. Department of State, approximately 500,000 service dogs assist people with disabilities across the country. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals must be given access to places their human handlers go, including health care facilities. As service animals become more common, health care professionals are more likely to come in contact with them in doctor's offices, hospitals, and other medical settings. During this webinar, we will address the definition of a service animal, places a service animal can and cannot visit with his/her handler, the questions that can be asked of the person with a disability, and how to interact with a service animal. We will also review a sample service animal policy for health care facilities. As a health care provider, this webinar will help you understand the ADA, service animals, and the implantation of procedures that will enhance your ability to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care. To register go to: http://adapresentations.org/healthcare/registration.php

Special Spotlight:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health). Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses, such as the 18.1% of Americans who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses. Mental Health America has put together a toolkit for those experiencing mental illness and their caregivers. To view and download this toolkit please visit: https://www.mhanational.org/mental-health-month