E-Bulletin August 6, 2019

August 6, 2019

We post our bi-weekly bulletin to keep you up to date on disability-related resources, news, and other items of interest. This information is being provided solely for non-commercial, nonprofit educational purposes, including news reporting and research. It is not intended for commercial purposes. Further, we understand that our readers generally read the articles and information online, at the websites provided in the hyperlinks, rather than relying solely on our synopses or copies. We are not responsible for the accessibility or the content of other websites. Please be aware that some links provided are time sensitive, and may become inactive at any time.

We include links to articles, editorials and opinion pieces, press releases, and other materials that represent diverse perspectives. Inclusion does not imply endorsement of any products, services, sources, information, or opinions expressed in these materials.

Visit the Trainings section for more information on ADA and disability related trainings, meetings, and conferences.

General News

Rep. Ken Calvert Sponsors Bill to Protect Small Businesses From ADA "Serial Litigants"

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is considering a newly proposed bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) to reform the ADA for America’s small businesses. The congressman introduced the ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services (ACCESS) Act, H.R. 4099.

The bill seeks to amend the ADA to "to promote compliance through education, to clarify the requirements for demand letters, to provide for a notice and cure period before the commencement of a private civil action, and for other purposes."

2020 Presidential Questionnaire on Disability Policies

As we move towards Election Day, the American Association of People with Disabilities’ (AAPD) REV UP Campaign and the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) have developed a Presidential Questionnaire on Disability Policies. Presidential candidates are able to share their views and positions on key disability policy priorities by responding to the questionnaire.

New Online Portal Answers Questions and Misconceptions About Service Animals

The ADA National Network Knowledge Translation Center debuted a Service Animal Resource Hub featuring publications and resources from the ADA National Network Regional Centers, designed to answer questions and address misconceptions about service animals and the ADA. The portal is divided into sections addressing specific topics, including traveling with a service animal, workplace issues, and the difference between service and emotional support animals.

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Business News

"When Good Sites Go Bad: The Growing Risk of Website Accessibility Litigation"

In recent years, the number of website accessibility lawsuits has significantly increased, where plaintiffs with disabilities allege that they could not access websites because they were incompatible with assistive technologies, like screen readers for people with vision disabilities. This article includes tips on how to manage litigation risk for website accessibility.

"Senators Continue CUNA-Backed Push for ADA Website Clarity"

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) reports that a group of U.S. Senators has followed up on a September 2018 letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ), continuing to urge the agency to take action to provide clarity on how the ADA applies to websites.

"Anne Arundel Boycotts Gambrills Movie Theater After Disabled Campers Turned Away"

A large group of children and counselors from the Mayo Beach Adaptive Camp were turned away at the Regal Waugh Chapel theater in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The group was first told that it was because the movie had been oversold — but eventually, an unidentified district manager said it would be a “liability issue” to seat the special needs camp with the general public.

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State and Local Government News

DC: Report Details Alleged Abuses at St. Elizabeths Psychiatric Hospital

A new report is recommending that the D.C. Department of Health investigates allegations of staff abuse at St. Elizabeths Hospital. Advocacy program Disability Rights DC at University Legal Services detailed three cases from earlier this year in which patients at D.C.’s public psychiatric hospital were violently restrained or secluded by staff, in violation of D.C. law and hospital policy.

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Employment News

"Senate Confirms EEOC Commissioner and General Counsel"

The U.S. Senate confirmed Democrat Charlotte Burrows to serve her second term as a commissioner for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) through July 1, 2023. The Senate also confirmed Sharon Fast Gustafson, an attorney from Arlington, Virginia, to serve as the EEOC's general counsel for a four-year term.

Human Resource Guide for Working with Employees Experiencing Vision Loss

This new guide provides useful information for helping employees who experience vision loss to maintain employment.

Opinion: "Mindset Matters: Business Needs to Look Beyond the Legal Framework of the ADA to See the Inherent Value

This writer urges businesses to rethink the ADA and view it as "a blueprint in expanding human capital as it pertains to hiring and retention practices."

Accommodating an Anxious Workforce

The American population, and thus the American workforce, is becoming increasingly subject to anxiety and depression disorders. This writer urges employers to find ways to retain and motivate employees with such diagnoses in order to maintain a competitive advantage and to avoid legal liability.

"Employers Walk Fine Line With Opioid-Addicted Workers"

This article discusses some of the challenges that employers face with the current opioid crisis. Workers who experience addiction are protected under the ADA, unless they’re currently using drugs illegally—a legal wrinkle that creates uncertainty for both employers and employees.

Acting Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella Encourages Governors to Collect Data on State Workers With Disabilities to Promote Hiring

Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella sent letters to America's governors encouraging them to collect data on the numbers of state employees with disabilities. Although not a requirement for states, tracking disability employment data allows states to better assess their hiring practices and compare their results with other states.

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ADA Legal News

ChenMed, LLC and PMR Virginia Holding, LLC. Pays $200,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

ChenMed, LLC and PMR Virginia Holding, LLC, Delaware corporations operating medical centers for seniors, will pay $200,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the lawsuit, an employee for one of the medical centers was fired because of her disability and in retaliation for her complaints about discrimination.

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Education News

"Students of Color With Disabilities Are Being Pushed Into the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Study Finds"

A new report released from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights shows that exclusionary discipline practices in K-12 schools raise the chances that a student will repeat a grade, drop out, or end up in the criminal justice system. Students of color who have disabilities are disproportionately likely to face that kind of discipline.

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Health and Wellness News

Kessler Foundation to Study Neuroimaging Neurofeedback for Pain After Spinal Cord Injury

The Kessler Foundation received a $299,000 grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation for a pilot study to develop new strategies for the management of neuropathic pain in individuals with spinal cord injury. This will be the first study to examine neurofeedback mediated by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for facilitating the learning of self-management strategies for neuropathic pain post-spinal cord injury.

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Opinion: "Why Airlines Need Better Policies and Practices for Transporting Assistive Equipment"

This writer discusses the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), and the challenges and frustrations of airline travel for individuals who use wheelchairs, scooters, and other assistive equipment.

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Training, Events, and Opportunities to Participate

Workforce Recruitment Program Seeks Recruiters

The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a nationwide recruitment and referral program, managed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the U.S. Department of Defense. The program connects the federal government and select private sector employers with highly-motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to demonstrate their abilities through summer or permanent jobs. Volunteers are needed to serve as WRP recruiters for the upcoming recruitment season, which runs from October 28 through November 18, 2019. The required recruiter training is conducted online and can be completed in about 90 minutes. Registration is open until August 30.

LiveWell RERC App Factory 2019-2020 Call for Proposals

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Information and Communications Technology Access (LiveWell RERC) released its annual App Factory call for proposals. Experienced organizations or individual developers based in the U.S. or Canada are invited to submit proposals for financial support to develop assistive and/or accessibility apps for mobile platforms (e.g., Android, iOS, Windows), sensors, home automation, smart speakers, wearables, the Internet of Things (IoT) and/or cloud computing. Proposals are due on August, 15 2019.

ADANN Seeks Input on Serving Older People and Latinos/Hispanics with Disabilities

The ADA National Network (ADANN) is interested in how to better serve older people and Latinos / Hispanics with disabilities. The results of these assessments will help inform outreach to support people with disabilities in understanding their rights and awareness of services.

  • Older Person Service Providers Needs Assessment
    If you support older people with disabilities or medical challenges, we are seeking your input on how older people get and use information about their rights under the ADA.
  • Older Adults Needs Assessment
    We would like to better understand how to ensure older people with disabilities have information about their rights under the ADA. If you are an older person with a disability or an on-going health or medical concern that impacts your ability to participate in your community, we are looking for your input.
  • Latinos / Hispanics ADA Needs Assessment
    We would like to better understand how to reach and support Latinos / Hispanics with disabilities in understanding their rights under the ADA.
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