Newsletter: April 10, 2009

Northeast ADA April 10, 2009 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

New DBTAC-Northeast Web Site AND Facebook Page!

In an effort to improve dissemination of services and information, as well as increase our visibility and outreach with our constituents, DBTAC- Northeast has made some new and exciting technological advances!  First, we have created a Facebook Group page which you can find by searching for dbtac northeast. On our page you will find our contact info, description of services, and updated news and events from our office. We have also renovated our Web Site to include more information about our services, training and program opportunities, and useful resources to help you better understand the ADA and related disability issues and legislation.  Visit us at: We hope you utilize both!

Failure to Disclose Disability Results in Court Denying Plaintiff ADA Coverage:

A New York appeals court has ruled that an employee who did not disclose her disability to the employer that fired her for excessive absenteeism cannot collect unemployment benefits or claim her ADA rights were violated.  The plaintiff, supported by several mental health organizations, argued that her failure to disclose was "beyond her control" and that requiring an employee to disclose a hidden disability violates the ADA. The court concluded that the employer did not make unnecessary inquiries about the employee's absences and, since the employee did not disclose, was deprived the chance to help her before termination. For more details, go to:

New York City Protest Against Text-to-Speech Output Being Limited:

On February 9th, Amazon Inc. released Kindle 2, an electronic (e) book reader that includes a feature that allows e-books downloaded to it to be read aloud. The Authors' Guild objects to the feature because it believes these e-books are licensed only for visual display, prompting Amazon to decide to allow authors and publishers determine which books can be read aloud by this device. This move has upset many people who have visual or print disabilities who would benefit from the text-to-speech feature. Therefore the National Federation of the Blind has joined many other organizations, including the American Council of the Blind and American Association of People with Disabilities, to form the Reading Rights Coalition to protest the limiting of text-to-speech output on e-books. They plan to picket in front of the Authors' Guild headquarters on April 7th. For more information, go to:


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

National DBTAC Launches Accessible Technology Web Site!

The Accessible Technology Web Site, developed as a national project for the Disability & Business Technical Assistance Centers across the country, is now live and ready for public use. The Web Site is "" and its purpose is to build a partnership between the disability and business communities and to promote full and unrestricted participation in society for persons with disabilities through the promotion of technology that is accessible to all. To access this Web Site, go to:

What's New at the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP):

New Disability Employment Resource for Employers:  To meet employers' need for a comprehensive, easy to understand guide to hiring and retaining employees with disabilities, ODEP has released "Diversifying Your Workforce, A Four-Step Reference Guide to Recruiting, Hiring, & Retaining Employees with Disabilities".  The print version will be available later this year. The online version is available now at:

March Disability Employment Statistics Released:  In March, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 13.1 percent compared to 8.9 percent of individuals without disabilities, while only 22.8 percent of people with disabilities were in the labor force compared to 70.9 percent of people with no disability. For the full report, go to:

Disability-Rights Leader Nominated for Assistant Secretary of ODEP:  On March 20th, President Obama nominated Kathy Martinez, a former member of the National Council on Disability, to be ODEP's next Assistant Secretary. Martinez, who has been blind since birth, specializes in employment, independent living, asset building, international development, and diversity and gender issues. Her resume includes work with the World Institute on Disability (WID), Proyecto Visión, and Access to Assets, a project to help reduce poverty among people with disabilities. To read more, go to:

Important Updates from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN):

JAN's 2009 First Quarter Report features information on several timely projects and issues, including guidance for employers on the ADA Amendments Act, entrepreneurship options for veterans with disabilities, and online social networking opportunities. For this information and much more, go to:

JAN's 2009 Second Quarter Report includes information and guidance on topics such as determining the need for requested accommodations, accommodating employees suffering medication side effects, and workstation ergonomics. Go to:

Can Hiring One Employee with a Disability Make a Difference?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) published "Can Hiring One Employee with a Disability Make a Difference?" The article covers a wide range of disability employment interests including the Office of Disability Employment Policy's activities and programs, the Employer Assistance & Recruiting Network (EARN), and more.  For the full article, go to:

Stimulus Projects Must Meet Federal Accessibility Standards:

The Access Board now has a link on their Web Site that outlines the significance of ensuring accessibility is met when local, state, and federal government entities embark on projects that will be funded by the Economic Stimulus Bill. The link discusses various projects such as facility construction and renovation, housing, streets and sidewalks, and information technology, and which laws and accessibility standards, such as the ADA, Architectural Barriers Act, and Rehabilitation Act, need to be complied with when those projects are undertaken. For further details, go to:

Disability Law Handbook Now Available:

On March 20th, the DBTAC Southwest ADA Center announced the publication of the Disability Law Handbook. This 50-page guide, written in an FAQ (frequently asked questions) format, answers questions about the ADA and other disability related laws including the ADA Amendments Act, the Rehabilitation Act, Social Security, the Air Carrier Access Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, and the Fair Housing Act. Individual copies of this handbook are available at no charge by emailing or by calling 713.520.0232. 


Opportunities for YOU:

Abilities Expo will be held in Edison, New Jersey April 17-19th:

Abilities Expo, a leading trade show, is dedicated to providing Americans with disabilities, senior citizens, caregivers, families, healthcare professionals, and corporate ADA/Human Resources administrators with information and education on the latest, life-altering technologies, products and services. Under new management, this three-day expo promises even more to offer. For further details, go to:

Attend the 2009 National ADA Symposium:

The National ADA Symposium is the most comprehensive conference available on the Americans with Disabilities Act and related disability laws!  This year's symposium, themed "Revitalizing the ADA", will be held June 8th-10th at Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri.  This three-day event is designed for ADA Coordinators, state and local government officials, the building industry, design professionals, human resource professionals, employers, people with disabilities and their families, service providers and advocates. The cost is $475 and registration deadline is April 30th.  For more information and to register, visit:

35th Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (IRI):

The IRI produces training materials that are used extensively in human resource development and staff training throughout the rehabilitation field.  The Dept. of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration along with The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation and George Washington University are providing this conference on May 8th and 9th at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. Participants can attend either on-site or virtually on-line.  For more information on the conference topics, lodging, and registration, go to:

Special Spotlight: The Community Choice Act:

On March 24th, with thousands of advocates in Washington, DC and at over 120 conference call-in sites around the country, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) made very clear their commitment to passing the Community Choice Act (CCA) in both houses of Congress. The CCA will allow people with disabilities and elderly people to choose to stay in their own homes with attendant care instead of having to enter a nursing home or other institution, which currently happens often due to the stipulations of Medicaid.  ADAPT, a grassroots disability organization that advocates for community living and choices in housing, hosted the National Kickoff for the CCA on March 24th in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The event was upbeat with lots of audience celebration and unity as they often chanted, "Pass CCA Now!"  Read more below about the CCA and what it states, as well as the historic Kickoff event! article "Community Choice Act National Kickoff Draws Thousands":

Watch the 56 minute Webcast of the Kickoff:

Overview of the CCA from ADAPT:

Summary of the CCA from ADAPT:

How you can help garner support for the CCA (From the American Association of People with Disabilities' Justice For All Moderator):


 See you in a few weeks!!!