E-Bulletin May 12, 2020

May 12, 2020

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

“Global Disability Inclusion Survey Reports People with Disabilities Are More Negatively Affected by the Economic Impact of COVID-19”

Global Disability Inclusion conducted a national independent survey of over 500 participants to measure the impact and outlook of COVID-19 on those with and without disabilities. This article provides the details of the survey results, which reveal that people with disabilities are being impacted by COVID-19 at a higher rate than those without a disability.

“Statement by Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights: Protecting Civil Rights While Responding to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”

In light of the public health emergency concerning the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a statement regarding their continued work to “ensure that victims of illegal discrimination know where to turn when their civil rights are violated.”

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Business News

“Reopening Businesses Face Thorny Customer-Facing ADA Issues”

Reopening businesses need to carefully consider how social distancing and other COVID-19 mitigation measures will impact customers with disabilities. This article shares guidance on ways to balance public accommodations for people with disabilities with the current restrictions.

“Online Groceries: A Convenience to an Obstacle”

Online shopping may be the only way that some people with disabilities and senior citizens have access to groceries and other necessities in order to avoid contact with the coronavirus. User1st tested some of the most popular online food order sites for accessibility, finding critical errors that would prevent a person with visual impairments from ordering necessities.

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Employment News

JAN: "Changing or Removing a Reasonable Accommodation in the Workplace"

This article from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) clarifies how providing reasonable accommodation is as ongoing process, and details situations under which workplace accommodations may be changed or removed.

Also, check out JAN’s collection of articles and information on employment issues and COVID-19.

“Toward More Accessible Work Environments”

This article offers perspectives from disability policy and accessibility experts on current efforts toward improving the accessibility of work spaces for people with disabilities. It also offers insight into both the potential upsides and downsides of workplace policies put into practice in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Needing At-Home Workers, Call Centers Turn to People with Disabilities”

This article highlights how companies caught short by the pandemic are, “hiring from a pool that was already prepared to handle a surge in phone traffic away from offices.”

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Accessibility News

“Access Board Issues Guidance on Toilet and Bathing Facilities and Drinking Fountains”

The U.S. Access Board has released technical bulletins on accessibility to restrooms, bathing facilities, and drinking fountains. This material explains specifications for toilets and toilet compartments, showers, bathtubs, and drinking fountains in the ADA standards (which cover state and local government facilities, places of public accommodation, and commercial facilities) and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) standards (which cover federal facilities). Each guide clarifies common sources of confusion, answers frequently asked questions, and offers recommendations for best practice.

These bulletins are the latest installments to the Board's online Guide to the ADA Standards and Guide to the ABA Standards.

Universal Design Video Series Updated

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Aging-in-Place for People with Long-Term Disabilities and the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project on Universal Design Practices to Enhance Work Outcomes have published new videos to complete this video series. The series covers the foundations and principles of universal design in architecture, technology, products, and programs.

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Legal News

“ACME Markets to Pay $60,000 to Resolve EEOC Disability Discrimination Charge”

ACME Markets, Inc., a supermarket chain that operates 164 stores in Pennsylvania and five other states, will pay $60,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination charge filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that ACME Markets failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for the disability of a former employee at its Denver, Pennsylvania facility.

Employment: “Department of Justice Temporarily Halts the Issuance of Right-to-Sue Notices Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic”

The Department of Justice has temporarily suspended issuing Right-to-Sue Notices to individuals who have field civil rights charges of employment discrimination, unless a charging party requests such a notice, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension prevents the running of the deadline for charging parties to file claims of employment discrimination in federal court.

Title III: “The Curve Has Flattened for Federal Website Accessibility Lawsuits”

Seyfarth Shaw, LLP has provided their annual count and analysis of ADA Title III website accessibility lawsuit filings in federal courts.

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Education and Transition News

“Secretary DeVos Forgoes Waiving Disability Law Amid School Closures”

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will not recommend that Congress waive the main requirements of three federal education laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, known as IDEA. The federal law ensures that children with disabilities have a right to a free, appropriate public education whenever and wherever schools are operating.

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Technology News

United Spinal Launches National Initiative to Expand Access to Inclusive Technology

United Spinal is launching its Tech Access Initiative to assist technology companies in designing inclusive products and services that are accessible to people with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D). It will focus on improving various technologies that are vital and life-changing to people with disabilities, including autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and environmental controls, medical and mobility equipment, wheelchair and smart home technology, and augmentative and alternative communication.

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Training, Events, and Opportunities to Participate

Inclusion Confusion: What is the Self-ID Form and Why Is It Important?

May 21, 2020
This free webinar explores the differences between Self-Identification and self-disclosure of disability in the workplace.

TransCen Webinar Series: Including Families in School-to-Work Transition

Join us for these webinars featuring nationally-recognized experts on family engagement, who will share strategies, best practices, and tools to establish effective working relationships that result in successful outcomes for youth with disabilities. These sessions are for educators, employment professionals, social workers, advocates, and families.

  • May 26, 2020: We Can Do Better: Examining the Impact of Expectations on Families and Students
  • June 30, 2020: Embracing Competitive Employment: Helping Families Work through Apprehension

Survey: Social Connections Among People with Mental Illness

The Temple University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Living and Participation of People with Serious Mental Illness seeks volunteers for a study focused on social connections among people with mental illness. Participants will answer up to two 20-minute online surveys about their social connections and activities. To be eligible, participants must be 18 - 65 years old and have a diagnosis of schizophrenia spectrum, major depression, or major affective disorders. After completing each survey, participants may sign up for a chance to win a $100 gift card or one of ten $25 gift cards. For more information, contact Shinichi.Nagata@temple.edu (or 215-204-9664).

ConnectionsRx Supports Individuals with Mental Illness During COVID-19

Temple University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Living and Participation of People with Serious Mental Illness launched ConnectionsRx, a program supporting individuals with serious mental illnesses to connect while practicing physical distancing during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Interested individuals may fill out the brief online form to enroll or contact Kyra.Baker@temple.edu for more information.

Free Human Resource Training Program “Employing Abilities @Work”

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation and Workplace Initiative by Understood announced the availability of a new, free training program for human resources professionals and hiring managers. The “Employing Abilities @Work” Certificate is designed to dispel myths and highlight opportunities to hire, retain, develop, and advance employees with disabilities in the workplace.

Access Board Initiates Update of Accessibility Guidelines for Rail Cars: Seeks Public Comment

The U.S. Access Board is initiating rulemaking to update accessibility guidelines for rail cars covered by the ADA. The rulemaking will address vehicles used in fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, and intercity rail. The comment period has been extended to July 14, 2020.

NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship

The NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship will offer eight scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities who are interested in pursuing a career in the communications, media, or entertainment industry. Each recipient will receive $5,625 to help cover the cost of education at their current college or university. Application deadline is May 21, 2020.

Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the ADA: AUCD Video Contest

The Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) is inviting individuals from the AUCD Emerging Leaders Community (i.e., current and former AUCD trainees) to submit a 2 - 3 minute video highlighting the importance of the ADA and its effect on communities. Submission deadline is June 11, 2020.

U.S. Department of Transportation Inclusive Design Challenge

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the opening of Stage I of the Inclusive Design Challenge. The Challenge seeks innovative design solutions that can enable people with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities to use automated vehicles. Stage I concept proposals are due October 30, 2020.

Celebrate and Share: #ThanksToTheADA

Check out the ADA National Network’s video to find out how you can share what the ADA has meant to you through the #ThanksToTheADA social media campaign, and find more information about how you can celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ADA.

Calling Youth with Disabilities: Self-Advocacy Training Pilot Program Needs You!

The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center is looking for organizations of youth with disabilities, or organizations serving them, to participate in a pilot program of an exciting new ADA and Self-Advocacy curriculum. The curriculum includes modules such as “Pathways to Careers: An ADA Roadmap,” “Disclosure Decisions,” “ADA in the Workplace, Advocating for My Rights,” “Reasonable Accommodation,” “ADA in the Community,” and more.

Representatives from the ADA Center will work with groups to select modules for customized training, identify outcomes, and present sessions. Contact us at ADAtraining@transcen.org for more information!

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