Newsletter: July 12, 2011

Northeast ADA Center July 12, 2011 Newsletter


What's New in Our Region:

Free Webinar on Train the Trainer Capacity Building on August 11th!

On August 11th, from 1:00-2:30pm ET, LaWanda Cook, Ph.D., of the Northeast ADA Center will present a free webinar, "Building Capacity from the Inside Out: Lessons Learned from the ADA Trainer Network".  The Northeast ADA Center's ADA Trainer Network initiative was designed to enhance our capacity to reach a broader range of stakeholders who are directly or indirectly impacted by the ADA. This webinar will share the findings from the research component of this project as well as lessons learned since its inception. This webinar is ideal for members of our Trainer Network, and anyone interested in launching a similar train-the-trainer program. Register at:  

Oportunidad de Desarrollo de Micro-Empresas en Puerto Rico (PR):

El Departamento del Trabajo y Recursos Humanos de PR tiene un programa para crear micro-empresas para personas desempleadas interesadas en tener su propio negocio.  Las micro-empresas ha desarrollarse deben ser en el área de venta de alimentos, artesanías y flores, entre otros; y servicios como alquiler de bicicletas, kayaks y cibercafés, entre otros. Las personas con discapacidades interesadas en participar de este programa, pueden comunicarse con el Comité del Gobernador Pro-Empleo para Personas con Discapacidades con el Sr. Oscar Nieves o el Sr. José Pizarro al (787)  725-2333 exts. 2070, 2074 o 2076.

NYS and Federal Court Case Addresses Students with Disabilities and Bullying:

In T.K. v. New York City Department of Education, one of the first federal court cases to address the issue, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that "an effective and appropriate education may be negated by child bullying." The court reached the conclusion that since bullying provides an unacceptable toxic learning environment, a parent may maintain a claim under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) based on child bullying. The court explained that the applicable standard under IDEA is whether school personnel were deliberately indifferent to, or failed to take reasonable steps to prevent bullying that substantially restricted a child with disabilities in her educational opportunities. The court applied this standard and determined that schools are required to investigate bullying reports and, if bullying occurred, take appropriate steps to prevent it in the future.

Bills to Protect People with Developmental Disabilities Advance in NYS:

The New York State Assembly has recently passed legislation that aims to protect people with disabilities who are part of certain facilities and programs run by the state's Office of People with Developmental Disabilities. The legislation will require, among other things, standardizing the training of care providers and immediate reporting of violent crimes inflicted upon the clients with disabilities. The legislative package will also require the Agency to make at least three unannounced visits to each program/facility, as well as require that employee misconduct investigations persist even if the employee retires. Read more at:

What's New in the Rest of the Country: 

Verizon to Pay $20 Million to Settle Largest EEOC Disability Suit Ever:

Following a nationwide class disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, Verizon Communications will have to pay out $20 million and provide equitable relief. The lawsuit was targeted at 24 Verizon subsidiaries who were accused of denying reasonable accommodations to hundreds of employees with disabilities. The $20 million settlement will be the largest disability discrimination settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC history. In addition to the financial settlement, Verizon will have to revise its attendance plans and policies to include reasonable accommodations, as well as provide mandatory ADA training to employees. Read more at:

Target to Pay $160,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit:

Target Corporation has reached a $160,000 settlement with EEOC to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit. The complaint focused on an employee at Target who suffered from cerebral palsy, limited intellectual functioning and a seizure disorder. The employee was able to perform the essential functions of the job with the aid of a job coach, but Target failed to ensure that a coach was available and eventually cut the employee's hours. The consent decree also requires that Target designate an ADA coordinator in its corporate human resources department, as well as implement a company-wide policy regarding reasonable accommodation requests. Read more at:

On Olmstead Anniversary Obama Recommits to Assist People with Disabilities:

On June 22nd, the twentieth anniversary of the landmark Olmstead case, President Obama confirmed his intent to uphold the letter and spirit of the ADA. The Olmstead case was a major step for people with disabilities, as it affirmed their right to live independently and in community settings. Although much progress has been made since the Olmstead ruling, President Obama is aware of the obstacles facing individuals with disabilities. In the past two years, the Department of Justice has joined or initiated over 25 court cases to ensure community-based services in 17 states. Read more at:


EEOC Looks at Disparate Treatment in 21st Century Hiring Decisions:

A recent meeting led by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated how discrimination during the hiring process affects minorities, including people with disabilities. It was noted that most people do not realize that they have been discriminated against which leads to difficulties in reporting accurate statistics. During the meeting, several recent court cases regarding discrimination in the hiring process were brought up, including a detailed look at "silent discrimination", where employers don't show or say that they are discriminating. Read more at:

Report on Role of Social Enterprise Business in Disability Employment:

The Kessler Foundation and the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development recently released a report entitled "Social Enterprise Business: A Strategy for Creating Good Jobs for People with Disabilities." The report discusses the merits of social enterprises and strategies for creating successful social enterprises that employ people with disabilities. Social enterprises are loosely defined as a business that is socially minded and revenue generating. The report suggests that successful social enterprises must provide an environment where people with and without disabilities work together. Workers must also earn minimum wage or more and have the opportunity to either advance within the company or gain the skills and experience needed to find a higher level job with another company. Read more at:

What's New from the Department of Justice (DOJ):

Enforcing the ADA: A Status Report from the DOJ from July through September, 2010 is now available at: The Disability Rights Online News, a bi-monthly update about the Civil Rights Division's disability rights activities is also available at:

Study Reveals National Average Rents Higher than SSI Payments Received:

A recent study conducted by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force and the Technical Assistance Collaborative revealed that the national average cost for renting a one bedroom apartment is more than Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides for people with disabilities. According to the study, the average recipient of SSI earned $703/month, which is supposed to cover all their basic needs. The study reports that over 4.4 million non-elderly adults relied on SSI in 2010, and 1.2 million of them had to live in homeless shelters or public institutions. Read more at:


Verizon Invests $70,000 in Nonprofits That Use Assistive Technology:

The Verizon Foundation has recently made sizeable contributions to seven nonprofit agencies that help bring accessible technology to people with disabilities. The Verizon Foundation has been helping people with disabilities find accessible technology for a while now, and has awarded almost $400,000 in assistive technology grants to various Massachusetts based nonprofits over the past four years. The Foundation also operates on an international scale, and awarded nearly $67 million in 2010 to nonprofits in the U.S. and abroad. Read more at:

Victims of Disability-Based Discrimination by Wells Fargo Encouraged to File Complaint by January, 2012:

Wells Fargo recently reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice regarding accusations of disability discrimination in violation of Title III of the ADA. The settlement requires Wells Fargo to compensate any individual who experienced discrimination prior to May 31, 2011. Wells Fargo faces accusations of inaccessible bank branches, refusal to provide documents in alternate formats, and policies that cause barriers to equal access. January 29, 2012 is the deadline to file a claim. Read more at:

New Director of the National Institute on Disability & Rehabilitation Research: 

K. Charlie Lakin has been selected to serve as the Director of NIDRR starting August 29th.  Dr. Lakin is currently the Director of the University of Minnesota's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Living, Institute on Community Integration and has over 40 years experience as a teacher, researcher, consultant and advocate in disability services. He has directed numerous research and training projects, co-authored over 200 publications, and advised state, federal, and international agencies in matters of policy, research, and evaluation. Dr. Lakin holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota, M.A. and M.Ed. degrees in Special Education from the Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Northern Iowa.

Opportunities for You!

ADA Federal Update: 21st Anniversary of ADA Audio Conference July 19th:

Mark the 21st anniversary of the ADA by joining this audio conference, presented by the Great Lakes ADA Center and the National Network of ADA Centers, to listen to representatives of the Federal Agencies present an update on their litigation, technical assistance, and enforcement efforts over the past year. This year has held a lot of "new" focus on the ADA with the release of the final regulations for the ADA Amendments Act and implementation of the revised Title II and III Regulations. Participants will have an opportunity to pose questions to the presenters regarding issues in their own workplace or community. To learn more, go to:

Research Study on Emergency Preparedness with Personal Assistance Services:

The Public Health Institute along with the Center for Personal Assistance Services at the University of California, San Francisco is conducting a research study to determine promising practices in preparing for emergencies among individuals with disabilities who use personal assistance services (PAS). If you use PAS and have experienced disasters or emergencies, please consider sharing your experience at:  The survey should take about 10-15 minutes and participants will earn the chance to win one of five $50 gift cards. Questions can be directed to Lewis Kraus, Project Director at  For help completing the survey, call 510.285.5600.

Special Spotlight-  Making Emergency Information Accessible

On June 17th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Public Notice reminding video programming distributors (VPDs) of their obligation to make emergency information accessible to persons with disabilities.  The FCC has rules in place to ensure that the critical details of emergency information shown on television are accessible to viewers with hearing or vision disabilities. There are no exemptions to these rules. VPDs, including broadcasters, cable operators, satellite television services, are responsible for following these rules.  Emergency information that is heard must be made accessible using closed captioning or other methods of visual presentation, including open captioning, "crawls," or "scrolls" that appear on the screen.  Emergency information that is seen must also be accessible- for regularly scheduled newscasts the newscaster must make sure they speak whatever emergency information is being provided visually.  If emergency information interrupts programming (for example, if there is a crawl or scroll going across the screen that contains emergency information), there must be an aural tone to alert persons with vision disabilities of emergency information so they can tune to another source, such as a radio, for more information.

Link to Public Notice: 



See you in a few weeks!