Newsletter: December 21, 2009

Northeast ADA December 21st News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

ADA Train the Trainer Network to be Held in Virgin Islands in January:
Cornell University's DBTAC-Northeast is providing our Virgin Islands constituents a FREE two day train-the-trainer program designed to certify participants as trainers in our ADA Trainer Network Program. You can participate January 25-26 at the Carambola Beach Resort on St. Croix OR January 28-29 at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort on St. Thomas. For more information and to register online, go to:

Employee Disability Discrimination Suit Settled with New York (NY) Hospital:
Hudson Valley Hospital Center in NY has been ordered by a court to amend its policies on employment discrimination and pay $142,500 to a former employee with diabetes in response to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's charge that it failed to accommodate her medical-based needs for a more consistent work schedule. Hospital officials indicated that their willingness to settle is not indicative of their liability but rather of their desire to resolve the matter so the hospital could focus their time and resources on serving their community. Read more at:

New York May Do Away With Individual Educational Program (IEP) Diplomas:
NY's Board of Regents is discussing creating an alternative to the IEP diplomas. A May 2009 report by NYS's Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) outlined concerns about IEP diplomas, including that some believe they hinder students with disabilities from securing employment. VESID has come to a consensus that the Education Department should consider what eligibility criteria would be used for an alternative diploma. For the full article, go to:


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

EEOC Launches Guides to Increase Federal Hiring of those with Disabilities:
Advancing its campaign to increase employment of people with disabilities in the federal government, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in partnership with the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, has issued a set of guides on leveraging Schedule A, a non-competitive hiring authority available to federal agencies. The five "ABCs of Schedule A" guides are each tailored to a specific group: service providers, jobseekers with disabilities, human resource professionals, hiring managers, and disability program managers/selective placement coordinators. To access the press release and guides, go to:

What Can YOU Do? Poster Series:
The Campaign for Disability Employment has designed a poster series that displays positive messages about disability and employment. Each poster includes a message that speaks to a different audience including employers, employees, youth, people with disabilities, and the general public. To download posters, go to:

December 3rd was International Day of Persons with Disabilities:
To read President Obama's Proclamation and related articles on this significant day, go to:

New Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Talks Disability Rights:
Thomas E. Perez, the Department of Justice's new Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, spoke in his Installation Ceremony remarks about how "Civil Rights in 2009 means working to create services, programs, and public facilities that are accessible to individuals with means recognizing that segregating people with every bit as bad and illegal as segregating children of color in inferior schools". To read Perez's full remarks, go to:

Government Websites Still Lack Accessibility:
Under federal law, government Web sites are required to include audio screen readers, photo and video captioning, and other features to assist users with disabilities. But as the Obama administration has created new online services to improve transparency, the accessibility of those sites has been lagging. Read more at:

New Cell Phone Technology Allows People who are Deaf to Communicate:
For the deaf and hard of hearing community, cell phone use has been mostly limited to text messaging. However researchers at Cornell University have created cell phones that allow people who are deaf to communicate through sign language, the same way hearing people use the phones for voice communication, in real time via videoconferencing software. To read more, go to:

Independent Contractor Can Assert Disability Claim:
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled recently that an independent contractor may assert a disability claim against an employer under the Rehabilitation Act which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies. Read the opinion on Fleming v. Yuma Regional Medical Center and find more information at:

Bill Introduced to Strike "Mental Retardation" terms from Federal Law Books:
Under "Rosa's Law", a bill introduced to the Senate, terms referring to mental retardation would be replaced with "intellectual disability" in federal education, health and labor law. The bill does not expand or diminish services, opportunities, or rights. It simply makes the federal law language consistent with that used by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the President. Read more at:

New Podcasts from the Disability Law Lowdown:
The Disability Law Lowdown, provided by the National Network of DBTAC ADA Centers, has posted new American Sign Language podcasts, "Rights and Responsibilities under the Air Carrier Access Act" and "911 Emergency Calls" with a special focus on issues pertinent to the deaf and hard of hearing community. "Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Regulations" in English was also recently posted. Access these at or on iTunes.

More Post-Secondary Students than Ever have Disabilities:
The Government Accountability Office is recommending a coordinated approach to assist students with disabilities. A federal study shows that in 2008 almost 11% of all post-secondary students had disabilities and this number seems to be growing. For the full report, go to:

New Findings on Community Colleges and Students with Disabilities:
Community colleges will have to shift their mission from access to retention in order to meet the ambitious degree goal set by President Obama, according to a new study by the DBTAC-New England ADA Center and Northeastern University. For more details, go to:


Opportunities for You!

FREE Web Accessibility Webinar Series:
The DBTAC-Northeast is providing a series of web accessibility workshops. This webinar series will offer training on topics critical to creating dynamic and accessible web sites for colleges and universities. For more information and to register, go to:

Don't Forget the FREE Employer Webinar Series:
The DBTAC National Network of ADA Centers is providing employers with a free webinar series to enhance awareness of the practical methods of increasing diversity in the workplace through the inclusion of employees with disabilities. For the schedule and to register, go to:

JAN's Federal Employer Winter Webcast Series:
The Job Accommodation Network is providing a series of webcasts for federal employers on topics such as hiring, best practices in employment of people with disabilities, and the reasonable accommodation process. All sessions will be at 2:00pm EST for 1.5 hours and the first will be held January 6th.  To register for any of them, go to:

FREE Accessible Technology Online Seminar Series:
The Great Lakes and Pacific DBTAC ADA Centers, on behalf of the National Network of ADA Centers, are hosting a free Accessible Technology online series for businesses. Each 60 minute session will be held at 1:00pm CST on dates specified.  Topics include social networking sites for people with disabilities; developing and disseminating electronic documents; assistive technology; the business case for accessibility; and accessible website videos. To register, go to:

Intern with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD):
The AAPD is searching for college students with disabilities, who are interested in government, politics, law, leadership, or information technology, to apply for a 2010 summer internship in Washington, D.C. Interns receive a living stipend, accessible housing, and travel to and from D.C.  Applications are due January 8th! For more details and applications, go to:

Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2010 Accessibility Forum:
The ATIA 2010 Accessibility Forum will be held January 28-29, in Orlando, Florida.  This event is designed for those in government, educational, and corporate entities to understand the business case for providing accessible solutions for employees and clients. For more details and to register, go to:

National Evacuation Conference February 3-5, 2010 in New Orleans:
This February 3-5 conference in New Orleans will bring together the transportation and emergency management fields to discuss evacuation planning to accommodate people before, during, and after a major disaster. To register, go to:


Special Spotlight: Happy Holidays from DBTAC-Northeast!

All of us here at the Disability & Business Technical Assistance Center-Northeast would like to wish each and every one of you a safe and happy holiday season filled with peace, love, and time for reflection. We greatly appreciate your partnership and commitment to advancing disability rights in all aspects of life. We hope 2010 is your best year yet, bringing you much happiness, good health, and personal and professional success!  Happy New Year and See you in 2010!