ADA in Focus: Winter 2018

Volume 22, Number 1

ADA In Focus is published three times yearly by the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center. It is also available by request in large print, Braille, audio CD, and computer disk. To obtain copies in other formats, contact us.

ADA In Focus is intended for use by individuals, state and local governments, businesses, legal entities, and others interested in developments in the Americans with Disabilities Act. This publication is intended solely as an informal guidance and should not be construed as legally binding. ADA In Focus does not serve as determination of the legal rights or responsibilities under the ADA for any individual, business or entity. Learn more about the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center.

Winter 2018, Volume 22, Number 1 (suitable for printing)

Winter 2018, Volume 22, Number 1, in large print (suitable for printing)

In this issue:

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Center Update

Community Spotlight: WVCDHH Initiatives

The mission of the West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WVCDHH) is to advocate for, develop, and coordinate public policies, regulations, and programs to assure full and equal opportunity for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing in West Virginia.

WVCDHH has been working on two projects to address needs in the deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) communities in West Virginia. A vehicle visor card was designed and distributed to deaf drivers in West Virginia to facilitate communication with law enforcement. Another WVCDHH initiative involves working with theaters to offer open captioned movie showings to the D/HH community.

Recently, WVCDHH Project Director Sarah Lowther answered some questions about these two projects.

Visor Cards

Can you tell us how this project began?

The project began about three years ago after many D/HH citizens contacted us with concerns about being pulled over by law enforcement officers who did not know how to communicate with them. There were communication barriers between the citizens and law enforcement officers that led to unnecessary consequences for both parties. We had brainstorming sessions about how to improve this situation. After some research, we decided that a visor card would be the best option to assist in breaking down the communication barrier. An older visor card existed, but it was out of date. We wanted to make improvements to better support communication.

What other organizations collaborated on this project and what were their roles?

WVCDHH started this project with Disability Rights of WV (DR of WV) and the West Virginia Assistive Technology System (WVATS). With input from both groups, the project began to move forward. DR of WV and WVATS provided resources and ideas on creating the visor card. We also met with a WV State Police Officer, a WV Sherriff, and the President of the West Virginia Association of the Deaf. This meeting was very insightful because law enforcement officers were able to share their experiences, while getting the deaf perspective. This helped to make the visor card effective for both law enforcement officers and citizens. The visor card was created from all the combined ideas. 

Later, DR of WV and WVATS helped to seek out grant opportunities to contribute to the cost of printing the visor cards. Regina Mayolo from WVATS submitted a proposal to the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center to request funding to print 3,000 visor cards. In September, WVATS received an ADA Leadership Network Innovation Award from the ADA Center for the project. DR of WV also provided funding for printing 1,000 visor cards.

How have you promoted the visor cards?

We promoted the visor cards through a local news channel, WOWK, to inform the community. The station included a short piece on the visor cards during the evening news. We also promoted through our social media (Facebook) by creating a video in ASL with captions to show the visor card and provide information on its use. We asked other organizations and citizens to spread the word about the visor cards by sharing the video and posts.  

We also worked with Fahlgren Mortine, our state contracted marketing and communication company, to make an official video for the visor cards. The video shows two scenarios of being pulled over by a law enforcement officer. The first is the worst case scenario; the second shows a better outcome with use of the visor card. The video was filmed at the end of 2017 and is almost complete. It will be published as soon as the film crew finish the editing. We will promote this new video on social media and hope to include it in training sessions for law enforcement officers in the future.

Do you have any feedback or outcomes from this project?

After posting the video about the visor cards, requests for over 300 cards were received in the span of two days. So far, nearly 1,000 cards have been distributed to individuals and organizations. We have heard from both D/HH citizens and law enforcement officers that the visor card has been very beneficial. We’ve also heard that people were happy that the visor card mentioned a concealed weapon permit. They felt that notifying a law enforcement officer of a concealed weapon could be a life-saving situation.

Do you have any other similar projects in the works?

We are brainstorming about creating visor cards for Emergency Medical Services to communicate with patients. Also, we are discussing creating an American Sign Language version of the reading of Miranda Rights.

Open Captioned Movies

popcorn[Open captioned movies display captions directly on the screen and are visible to the entire audience; individual audience members do not need to request or use any additional decoding technology or seat-based devices to view captions.]

Can you tell us about this program and how it came about?

We had received complaints from D/HH citizens about the lack of accommodation in movie theaters. We did research and surveyed movie theaters about which accommodations, if any, were provided. Surprisingly, most of the theaters had accessible devices, but many people did not have positive experiences using them. The devices did not work properly or did not work at all. Sometimes, the movie theater staff did not know how to operate the devices or did not want to set them up. These situations did not allow the D/HH people to enjoy going to the movies.

We evaluated many ways to provide better access for D/HH people, and we found that most would prefer open captioned movies. We contacted Regal Cinemas to request showings of open captioned films. The process was easy, so we have been offering at least one movie per month in open captioned format. We try to pick a movie that most people will enjoy or will be very popular.

How are these open captioned movie showings promoted in the community?

We promoted the open captioned movies through a local news channel, WOWK. The channel announced our first movie in April 2017. We also promote our open captioned movies through Facebook and other social media to keep the information up to date for the community. We post “save the date” flyers in advance so that people can make plans to attend, and we post reminders the week before the movie. WVCDHH staff usually attends the movies as well.

Have the theaters been receptive to adding this service?

Regal Cinemas has been very receptive to our requests. We send them an email to request the movie. We provide a preferred date and time for the movie, and they have accommodated us each time. Regal has only asked that we give at least ten days’ notice and guarantee that at least ten people will attend. Our highest attendance was over fifty people!

Are their plans to expand this elsewhere in the state?

We have focused in our area (Charleston, WV), but other communities in the state have asked us to contact other theaters to set this up. We are working to spread awareness about the importance of open captioned movies. We have also offered to assist other people in setting up movie showings in their own area.

What have you heard from the D/HH community on this initiative?

We have had very positive feedback from the D/HH communities. We’ve been told that people were able to enjoy the movies without any distractions or having to deal with the assistive devices. We have tried to coordinate the scheduling of the movie showings with the release dates of new movies. This allows the D/HH community to see new movies at the same time as everyone else. We have also set up additional movie showings by request, when a group of people want to see a movie other than the one we have chosen for the month.

Tell us your story! Do you have a program or project in your community that has made an impact on accessibility and inclusion? Let us know!

NDEAM: Get Involved!

Every year the month of October is observed as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), with a variety of activities designed to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities and raise awareness about the value of inclusive workplaces.

Last October, the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center and its parent organization, TransCen, Inc. (TCI), together with the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), supported NDEAM by hosting a training seminar on disclosure and reasonable accommodations. Following the seminar, TCI staff conducted mock interviews and DORS staff offered one-on-one opportunities for job seekers with disabilities to discuss resume writing, interview preparation, and job search strategies.

Recently, we asked TCI President Laura Owens and DORS Program Manager Darlene Peregoy for their thoughts on these activities, as well as other efforts to support NDEAM and disability inclusion.

Why did you think it was important to put resources into this type of event?

a man and a woman sit across a desk from each other, shaking handsLO: First, employment of people with disabilities is critically important if we want all citizens to be assimilated into our communities. By supporting NDEAM, we are supporting our mission – to improve the lives of people with disabilities through meaningful work and community inclusion. TCI and the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center are committed to this mission and this event allows us to roll up our sleeves and put action to our words. Truthfully, I wish every month were NDEAM, and that someday we won’t need NDEAM. That would mean that people with disabilities are naturally included in our workplaces and communities.

DP: Job seekers with disabilities need to know what businesses are looking for in the application and interview process, and how applicants can best highlight their knowledge, skills, and abilities for employers. Mock interviews are very valuable because they offer an opportunity to practice interviewing with professionals who can provide feedback to help hone skills, gain confidence, and be better prepared for real job interviews. It is also very important for job seekers to know their rights and responsibilities in terms of disclosing their disabilities and requesting accommodations. The participants are now better prepared for their next interview, as well as how to engage in the interactive process of requesting accommodations when they need them. 

How do you see NDEAM helping to educate businesses on the importance of employing people with disabilities?

LO: Like any minority group, when you spotlight them it brings inequities to light. NDEAM highlights that individuals with disabilities are a viable source of labor. It provides us with the opportunity to find examples of people with disabilities contributing to the workforce and tell their stories. It also brings to mind how any of us, at any time, can become a member of this minority group. We forget that we can become a part of the disability community at any time, and that customers, co-workers, and family members may acquire a disability. NDEAM also allows employers to hear stories of other businesses hiring individuals with disabilities, which may lead them to look at applicants with disabilities with different eyes – looking beyond disabilities and seeing how they can contribute to businesses and communities.

DP: NDEAM is nationally recognized as a time during the year when disability inclusion is both celebrated and encouraged. Many businesses are open to collaborating on various NDEAM activities during this time, so it presents an opportunity to engage businesses through a variety of activities focused on both businesses and job seekers with disabilities. Many times activities such as staff training on the ADA and disability awareness, career information sessions, job shadowing, internships, and mock interview sessions are catalysts for opening doors and improving disability inclusion in the workplace.

What role do you think businesses have in hiring people with disabilities?

LO: Businesses have, obviously, a huge role in hiring people with disabilities. Businesses already have customers who have disabilities. People with disabilities have huge buying power, as do their friends and families. Additionally, studies show that 87% of the general population purchase goods and services from businesses that hire people with disabilities. This indicates that the general population sees people with disabilities as having an impact within the business community. Businesses play a huge role in seeing that hiring continues to happen.

DP: Businesses need talent to achieve their goals and fuel success. People with disabilities are an often overlooked source of talent due to misconceptions and stereotypes. However, many people with disabilities have the same or similar educational backgrounds, skills, and experiences as their non-disabled peers. 

Businesses often reduce their hiring costs when they hire employees with disabilities. Retention rate statistics show that between 70-80% of employees with disabilities will still be working with the same employer one year after hire. And many businesses also report improved morale when they become more inclusive workplaces.

So the primary role of a business is to create a welcoming and inclusive environment that will attract and retain the talent that the business needs, including people with disabilities.

What two things would you advise businesses to do to move toward employing people with disabilities?

LO: Businesses should think about disability as part of their entire diversity policy. Often disability is an afterthought. We want businesses to understand the needs of co-workers, customers, and others with disabilities. Businesses can also look at ways to recruit individuals with disabilities by reaching out to schools, state vocational rehabilitation programs, and local adult service providers. Businesses can interview these organizations and find out what types of supports the organizations offer and how they can meet the needs of businesses. Looking at these organizations as any other service vendor is important. I would encourage businesses to have an open door policy that encourages the recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities.

DP: Education is always a good first step. Businesses may have concerns or want additional information on disability and employment topics. There are many resources with information on recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees with disabilities. DORS Business Relations Branch can point businesses in the right direction and also provide training on many disability-related topics, as well as connect them to qualified job seekers.

Secondly, talk with other businesses who can share their disability inclusion success stories. One way to do this is to connect to the U.S. Business Leadership Network or a local affiliate, such as the DC Metro Business Leadership Network. This is an employer-led non-profit that helps businesses drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain, and marketplace.

Where can they get additional information on TCI, DORS, and NDEAM? How can they get more involved in October 2018?

LO: Employers should not be afraid to reach out to TCI, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, or schools, and say “I want to learn more about what you do.” They do not need to wait until October. TCI and other organizations are ready, willing and able to assist businesses in hiring people with disabilities.

DP: The DORS Business Relations Branch is available to provide a number of services to businesses, including recruitment and pre-screening of qualified candidates, free ADA and disability awareness training, consultations on options and solutions for reasonable accommodations, and technical assistance for accessing hiring incentives.

We are always looking for ways to partner with businesses on NDEAM activities. Call 410-554-9408 or visit us online to learn more about how DORS can help you build your business.

More Resources

Other vocational rehabilitation agencies which offer services to employers and job seekers with disabilities in the Mid-Atlantic region:

Other organizations:

As always, call us here in the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center or reach other regional ADA Centers by dialing toll-free, 800-949-4232. We are here to answer your questions and provide free, confidential information and guidance on employment, reasonable accommodations, and other ADA issues.

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Focal Point

The New Digital Divide:
Accessibility in Cyberspace

The blistering pace of technological development in recent years has both generated new opportunities and raised new barriers for individuals with disabilities. Perhaps no issue has been more fraught with confusion and contention than accessibility in the online environment. There is hardly a business, agency, school, or employer that is not using websites or mobile apps to enable people to obtain information, communicate and interact with the organization, or participate in programs.

For many of us, it has become routine to use one of the many web-enabled devices we have at hand to register for a class (or take the class), apply for a job, or order the delivery of a dizzying array of goods and services. We enjoy a degree of convenient access to an expanded field of opportunities that would have been nearly unimaginable only a few decades ago. But, as with many “advances,” some people are left behind or left out, and among them are many with disabilities who are blocked by inaccessible features of websites, forms, and apps.

Individuals who are blind or have low vision may not be able to access content that is presented in visual-only formats, such as images that don’t have behind-the-scenes “alt tags” or text descriptions that can be read by an individual’s assistive technology and converted to speech or output to a Braille device. People with limited dexterity may have difficulty with time-out features on web forms. Videos without captions may be nearly useless for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Cluttered designs or complicated navigation schemes can frustrate people with a variety of limitations, including intellectual or cognitive disabilities.

The questions about whether (or to what extent) the ADA reaches into cyberspace, as well as the technicalities of how to measure the accessibility of digital things, have been the subject of a great deal of analysis and debate.

The Legal Landscape

keyboard with "enter" key displaying the International Symbol of Accessibility and labelled "Accessibility"Title I of the ADA, which is regulated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), broadly covers all of the employment practices of state and local governments and private employers with at least 15 employees. Title I prohibits discrimination against qualified applicants and employees with disabilities, and requires the provision of reasonable accommodations when necessary.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regulates Title II, which covers all state and local government programs, and Title III, which covers many private businesses that offer goods and services to the public. DOJ has for many years taken the position that both Title II and Title III reach the virtual realm, and that if businesses or state or local government agencies use websites to disseminate information, facilitate programs, or offer goods or services, individuals with disabilities must have equal chances to take advantage of those opportunities.

Because Title I and Title II are so broad, reaching virtually everything covered entities do, there has been somewhat less disagreement about whether the ADA applies to their online activities.

However, coverage under Title III is more narrowly defined. Private businesses that serve the public are covered if they offer certain types of classes or tests related to educational or professional purposes, or if they “own, operate, lease, or lease to” any of twelve specific types of places of public accommodation. There are many examples of businesses that fall within at least one of the twelve types – stores, theaters, banks, amusement parks, restaurants, fitness centers, hotels, and medical practices are just a few.

There has been a great deal of dispute about whether Title III reaches the online presence of any of these places, and even more dispute about businesses that operate only in the online environment (for example, a “store” that exists only online, but has no physical location where customers can go to shop).

DOJ has engaged in enforcement actions, entered settlement agreements, and written technical assistance documents and legal briefs which state their position that Titles II and III apply to online content and activities, including the activities of online-only businesses.

The Department has argued that a business need not provide its goods or services “at” a physical place, but merely that the nature of the goods and/or services offered fall within at least one of the types covered by Title III.

DOJ filed, in June of 2000, a brief in the case of Hooks v OKBridge, where a court had ruled that a company operating an online bridge tournament business could not be covered by Title III since it offered its service via the internet rather than at a physical place. The Department stated that the court’s reasoning would “render a wide range of ordinary service establishments outside the coverage of the Act whenever their services are provided over the telephone, through the mail, via the internet, or at some location outside the premises of the business.

For example, catalog merchants, furniture delivery companies, courtroom lawyers, plumbers, and food delivery services would be able to refuse to serve patrons with HIV, mental illness or other disabilities. Moreover, a company that offers services both on-site and through other means (such as a travel service that arranges reservations both over the phone and at a walk-in office) would be required to offer non-discriminatory services on-site, but be free to discriminate over the phone or the internet.”

The Department said neither the language nor the purposes of the ADA would “require or permit such an absurd result.”

DOJ has entered a number of settlement agreements or consent decrees under both Title II and Title III that address web access. The Department routinely addresses online access when it conducts “Project Civic Access” compliance reviews of state and local government agencies, and has entered more than a hundred settlement agreements with cities, towns, and counties across the nation that require improvements to websites.

Agreements have been reached with private entities that include online-only businesses (e.g., EdX Inc., a provider of online courses, and Peapod LLC, an online grocery shopping and delivery service), as well as those that operate both online and at physical locations (e.g., HRB Digital LLC and HRB Tax Group, Inc., or “H&R Block” tax preparation service).

The Courts

Both DOJ and private plaintiffs have stepped up legal actions in recent years, seeking to compel covered entities to improve access to their websites and mobile apps. Not all courts have been receptive to lawsuits that allege ADA violations based on inaccessible websites, particularly those brought against online-only businesses.

While some courts have agreed with DOJ’s reasoning, noting that it would frustrate the purposes of the ADA if online businesses were able to exclude individuals with disabilities by disregarding accessibility concerns, other courts have adopted a more limited approach, holding that a business’ website must have a “connection” to the operation of a physical location.

Also among the reasons some courts have hesitated to apply the ADA to websites is the lack of specific technical standards that can be used to measure compliance. Several years ago DOJ began a rulemaking process to consider the development of web accessibility standards under Titles II and III, but recently this (and three other) ADA Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRMs) were withdrawn.

Where We Are Now

The withdrawal of DOJ’s rulemaking has left some individuals with disabilities and advocates, as well as some covered entities, disappointed after anticipating more specific guidelines in this area.

After all, when ADA regulations were developed in the early 1990s, as DOJ stated in their 2010 ANPRM on web accessibility, the internet we know today “did not exist.” Today, it “plays a critical role in the daily personal, professional, civic, and business life of Americans.” The internet has “dramatically” changed the way government agencies serve the public, as well as the way individuals gain information and education, obtain goods and services, and interact and socialize. Exclusion from the online community “puts individuals at a great disadvantage in today's society.”

Still, in the absence of federal rules, there is a wealth of guidance and resources on how to create accessible websites and other technologies. Information is readily available to businesses and government agencies that want to improve accessibility in this arena, enhancing workforce diversity, expanding opportunities for business growth, and easing the delivery of information, goods, and services.  

Resources

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

This project of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), and offers a wide variety of training materials, tutorials, design tips and techniques, information on evaluation and authoring tools, and resources on planning, implementing, and managing web accessibility.

U.S. Access Board

This independent federal agency develops accessibility guidelines for facilities, vehicles, equipment, and information and communication technology (ICT). The Board’s guidelines under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (which covers federal executive agencies) and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act (which covers telecommunications products and services) address computers, software and operating systems, websites, video and multimedia products, self-contained closed products (e.g. copiers, information kiosks), and a broad range of telecommunications products.

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Zoom in on Training

ADA Center Conferences

We are thrilled to announce three upcoming ADA conferences in our region!

First, our ADA National Network will host its national ADA Symposium from June 17 to June 20, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The conference will offer a myriad of opportunities to network and to learn, including more than 100 breakout sessions presented by nationally recognized experts.

Then, our Mid-Atlantic ADA Center will host two additional opportunities to gather together, exchange ideas, and learn more about the ADA. Our 25th annual ADA Update will be held from September 4 through September 6, 2018, in Tysons, Virginia. This conference will give us a chance to reflect on how the ADA has evolved over the last two and a half decades.

The 26th annual ADA Update will take place from March 27 through March 29, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the United States Constitution. We are delighted to host our annual conference in Philadelphia for the first time. We are eager to meet new people in our region, and to welcome returning conference participants to the Philadelphia area.

Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details on our annual ADA Update conferences as they become available. We hope you will be able to attend one or all of these exciting conferences!

TransCen and Mid-Atlantic ADA Center Webinars

Check our Trainings/Workshops pages for more details!

ADA National Network Online Learning

Check out the ADA National Network’s programs, which include the ADA Audio-Conference Series, the ADA Legal Webinar Series, the Accessible Technology Webinar Series, the ADA Conferences Series, and, in collaboration with the U.S. Access Board, the Accessibility Online Webinar Series. Upcoming sessions:

This is just a sample of the variety of training opportunities coming up on a local, regional, and national level. Visit our Trainings pages for a comprehensive listing!

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Close-Ups: What's New

DOJ Withdraws ADA Rulemaking Actions

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced the withdrawal of several pending Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRMs) pertaining to Title II and Title III of the ADA, which prohibit disability discrimination by state and local government agencies and many types of private businesses that serve the public. The Department will evaluate whether rulemaking is both “necessary and appropriate” in the following areas:

Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government (Title II) and Public Accommodations (Title III)

The DOJ first published an ANPRM in 2010 to consider establishing specific requirements to guide the development and maintenance of accessible websites by entities subject to Title II or Title III. (See our “Focal Point” article on “The New Digital Divide.”)

Accessibility of Equipment and Furniture (Titles II and III)

Although there is guidance in the ADA 2010 Standards regarding some types of fixed or built-in equipment and furniture (which has a permanent connection to the structure of a building or utilities), there are no specific provisions governing free-standing equipment, such as beds in accessible hotel or hospital rooms, exercise equipment, golf cars, and other similar elements.

Next Generation 9-1-1 (Title II)

Many individuals with disabilities now use Internet-based and wireless devices as their primary modes of telecommunication. The current Title II regulation requires that Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) – which provide 9-1-1 services at the local level – ensure direct access for individuals with disabilities who use analog text telephones (TTYs). However, many 9-1-1 call centers are not equipped to receive communication from updated technologies, and this ANPRM contemplated regulatory revisions to address how PSAPs can shift from “legacy device” telecommunications technology to new Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) services that will provide voice and data (such as text, pictures, and video) capabilities.

Students with Mental Health Needs in Colleges and Universities

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has made available a new model policy to guide colleges and universities in more effectively supporting students with mental health needs, especially those in crisis. The policy notes that many “colleges and universities lack a comprehensive plan for addressing such situations or respond to such students in punitive ways.”

The model policy is a collection of best practices that can be adopted by disability service providers in higher education institutions, with input gathered from mental health experts, higher education administrators, counselors, and students. Highlights include sections on providing accommodations; managing leaves of absence, including involuntary leave; accommodations for alternative housing; appropriate disciplinary action; and ensuring that education and training on both mental health and campus services is provided to staff and students.

Trending: New Resources for Employers

Research studies show that the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the workplace is good for creating a diverse cultural environment, as well as positively impacting the financial bottom line. New resources from EARN (Employer Assistance and Resource Network) are now available to help employers gain the benefits of hiring and retaining workers with disabilities.

Inclusion@Work: A Framework for Building a Disability-Inclusive Organization

This new resource supports the idea that having employees with disabilities in a company is good business sense (and cents!). Developed with guidance from a range of employers with experience in disability employment, the guide outlines seven identified “core components” of a disability-inclusive workplace:

  1. Lead the Way: Inclusive Business Culture
  2. Build the pipeline: Outreach and Recruitment
  3. Hire (& Keep) the Best: Talent Acquisition and Retention Processes
  4. Ensure Productivity: Reasonable Accommodations
  5. Communicate: External and Internal Communication of Company Policies and Practices
  6. Be Tech Savvy: Accessible Information and Communication Technology
  7. Grow Success: Accountability and Continuous Improvement Systems

Guide to Financial Incentives for Employers

This guide provides information on federal and state tax incentives that may be available to help employers capitalize on the skills and talents of workers with disabilities.

Engaging Employers: A Guide for Disability and Workforce Development Service Providers

a man and a woman engaged in a lively discussionThis guide offers insight and guidance for disability and workforce development professionals, emphasizing their important role in acting as a bridge between businesses and qualified employees with disabilities. It is designed to help service providers adopt a “dual customer approach” by simultaneously considering the needs of potential business employers and their clients with disabilities. The guide covers:

  • Establishing Relationships: Keys to Successful Communication
  • Understanding the Business Customer’s Needs
  • Adjusting Services Delivered to Meet Business Needs
  • Meeting Employers Where They Are: Customer Segmentation
  • Working Together: Best Practices in Action
  • Creating Partnerships: Resources for Ongoing Exploration & Improvement
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Zoom in on Court Decisions and Settlements

American Airlines and Envoy Air to Pay $9.8 Million to Settle EEOC ADA Lawsuit

American Airlines and Envoy Air will pay $9.8 million in stock to settle a nationwide class lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC claimed the airlines discriminated against hundreds of employees by refusing to allow them to return from medical leaves unless they had no restrictions. The EEOC has long maintained that such “100% healed” policies violate the ADA because they discount the possibility that reasonable accommodations may enable workers to return to duty.

EEOC Regional Attorney Mary O'Neill said, "This consent decree is the result of productive and thoughtful negotiations with American. We appreciate American and Envoy working with the EEOC to reach a settlement. In addition to providing meaningful monetary relief for hundreds of former employees, the settlement contains important equitable relief, including company policy changes and training designed to provide people with disabilities equal opportunities in the workplace."

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