Newsletter: August 16, 2017

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: August 16th, 2017

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

The Northeast ADA Center is Updating our Website!
The Northeast ADA Center's website is getting a new look and expanding the ability to easily access resources regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act. To take a look at our Beta site under construction, please visit: http://beta.northeastada.org/

Free Webinar! Overview of the Final Rule for Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment
Thursday, September 28, 2017
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT
This webinar will review the accessibility standards developed by the U.S. Access Board for equipment used in medical settings by health care providers for diagnostic purposes, including: examination tables and chairs, weight scales, mammography equipment, and other imaging equipment. The webinar will also discuss the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' guidance information for health care providers regarding their responsibilities to make their services and facilities accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=6401


What's New in Our Region:

Regional International Sued by EEOC for Firing Employee Who Requested Leave for Surgery
Regional International Corporation, a commercial truck and trailer dealership with locations in Western New York, unlawfully fired an employee after he requested leave for hip replacement surgery. After requesting a short leave to have surgery on a degenerative hip that caused the employee excruciating pain that hindered his walking, climbing of stairs, and sleep, the employee was fired rather than being provided the accommodation to take care of the issue. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that employers provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities, and prohibits employers from discriminating against them. To read more about the case go to: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/7-27-17.cfm

NY City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Residents, Advocates Urge Cuomo Signature on Bill Allowing Residents with Disabilities to Take More Accessible Units
There's a push to make public housing friendlier to some of its most vulnerable residents. The proposed legislation would allow residents that use wheelchairs to move into accessible apartments when they become available. As residents age or become disabled they may have greater challenges with mobility needs and ideally lower level apartments should be reserved to meet those resident's needs. To see the article go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nycha-residents-urge-cuomo-sign-disability-housing-bill-article-1.3382383

Rev Up NJ Kicks off Disability Voter Registration Week 2017 in Trenton
On July 18th, approximately 50 people gathered at the State House Annex to kick off National Disability Voter Registration Week. The event, hosted by the Alliance Center for Independence (ACI) and REV UP NJ, included speeches by NJ Senate President Stephen M. Sweeny, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Rutgers Distinguished Professor, Douglas L. Kruse, NJ Council for Developmental Disabilities, Kevin Casey, and a host of advocates and civil rights activists. ACI and REV UP NJ will be holding voter registration and education events during the months leading up to the November 8th Gubernatorial Election. To read more go to: https://www.adacil.org/latest-updates/ndvrw-kickoff-2017?utm_source=July+2017+-+News&utm_campaign=Newsletter&utm_medium=email


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

President Trump Nominates Iraq Veteran Daniel Gade to EEOC Commissioner Spot
President Trump has nominated Daniel M. Gade to the last vacant slot on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Dr. Gade, who has a Master's and Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Policy, is a veteran of the second Iraq War, and lost his right leg in 2005 after an explosion that occurred while he was carrying out a routine patrol. Based on his writings and some articles about him, Dr. Gade appears to be a strong advocate for self-reliance and getting disabled veterans back to work. How this philosophy will apply to issues that arise under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which the EEOC enforces, is not clear. It could mean that he will strongly advocate reasonable accommodation, which allows individuals with disabilities to be gainfully employed to the fullest extent possible. But he has also spoken out against the military definition of "disability," contending that it is too broad and encourages veterans to stay out of the work force. To read more about his nomination go to: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=3b3de01d-d198-4bb4-9daa-982717b945f3

UPS to Pay $1.7M to Resolve EEOC's ‘Maximum Leave' Lawsuit
United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) reached a $1.7 million agreement with the EEOC to settle a nationwide lawsuit challenging the delivery company's policy of discharging workers who can't return from medical leave after 12 months. The EEOC alleged in its 2009 lawsuit that UPS's maximum leave policy, in addition to providing a basis for the company to unlawfully fire disabled workers, also acted as an illegal employment qualification standard that screened out or tended to screen out workers with disabilities. To read more about this go to: https://www.bna.com/ups-pay-17m-n73014462571/

New ADA-Accessible Trail Showcases Cedar Breaks Splendor
It's not often that we see new trails in our national parks, but Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah recently opened the mile-long Sunset Trail. Designed to be ADA-ABA accessible, the Sunset Trail provides exploration opportunities for all people, including young children, seniors and those with physical disabilities, including people who use mobility devices. While there may be a long way to go in providing equal access to all of our national parks, the Sunset Trail is a good example of what is possible. To read more about this go to: http://www.thespectrum.com/story/sports/outdoors/backyard-ramblings/2017/08/03/new-ada-accessible-showcases-cedar-breaks-splendor/536924001/


Opportunities for You!

Open Q & A-Free Webinar
Thursday, September 7th, 2017
2:30 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT
This is a regular session in the Accessibility Online webinar series that provides an opportunity to ask questions on any topic related to the Access Board's work and activities. Questions are welcome on the Board's accessibility requirements and rulemaking activities, including the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards, new standards being developed for medical diagnostic equipment, and other topics related to the Board's work. Accessibility specialists will answer questions submitted in advance during the first half of the session, leaving time in the second half to answer questions in the live session. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110599

Facebook Friends-Workplace Enemies-Free Webinar
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017
2:00 PM EDT - 3:30 PM EDT
Can I Google applicants or use information posted on Facebook? Within social media and employment law the risk of social media in the employment world is a relatively new fad and form of communication. With the popularity of social sites like Facebook and Linkedin, employers can gain access to all sorts of information that would normally be "off limits" during an interview. Could this be creating a legal problem for employers? Are people with disabilities being "weeded out" by potential employers because of their "electric footprints"? In this lively session EEOC's Joe Bontke will spell out the risks and offer some remedy for the new risk of social network "investigating" when an applicant has some "google issues" To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ADA-Audio/session/?id=110627


Special Spotlight: Web Accessibility

The internet is a source of entertainment, news, commerce, education and much more. However, many people with disabilities struggle to access this key resource. Web accessibility ensures that people with disabilities can use the web effectively no matter how they access the site. It asks that web developers consider alternative access methods when building sites, that forms are labeled, that alternative text is used to describe pictures that mean something on the page, and that pages are structured in a way that make sense to someone who can't see them. Web accessibility has other benefits as well; well-designed pages load more quickly, take less space on your server, and will transport more easily to mobile devices. The Northeast ADA Center offers resources on web accessibility, accessed here: http://www.northeastada.org/pages/accessibility/website-access.cfm

As web access has been a "hot topic" in recent months, below are several articles on this topic that highlight new developments.

DOJ Disables Titles II and III Website Regulations
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has placed its once-planned website accessibility regulations under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on an inactive list, putting to rest speculation about what the Trump administration may do with respect to the long-promised regulations. No one knows for sure what relegation to the inactive list means, as this is the first time that federal agencies have prioritized their rulemaking agendas by dividing proposed regulations into three categories: (1) the regulatory plan, which highlights regulatory priorities for the coming year; (2) long-term actions, which are regulatory actions not expected within 12 months; and (3) the inactive list, which includes regulations that have not been formally withdrawn, yet seem to have no known place in the agency's planned rulemaking. While the DOJ has placed this on a low priority list there is no assurance that this protects an entity from private lawsuits. To read more about this go to:
http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=b90be499-a45b-4a92-a0d6-2ac166b60d03

New Ruling Requires Websites to Make ADA Accommodations
In June, a federal judge in Florida passed down an important Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website accessibility decision, finding that Winn-Dixie was liable under the ADA because its website was inaccessible. In Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., the plaintiff argued that Winn-Dixie's website was inaccessible to visually-impaired individuals and thus violated the ADA because features such as the website's online coupons and pharmacy could not be accessed using a screen reader. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff on all issues and awarded injunctive relief and attorneys' fees. To read more, go to: https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2017/08/01/new-ruling-requires-websites-to-make-ada.html

Start Spreading the News - EDNY Denies Motion to Dismiss Website Accessibility Complaint
While the ADA finished celebrating its 27th anniversary at the end of July, for plaintiffs looking to bring website accessibility complaints in New York the party is still ongoing. Following on the heels of last month's decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Five Guys, Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in Andrews vs. Blick Art Materials, LLC, recently denied a motion to dismiss a website accessibility action, holding that Title III of the ADA ("Title III"), the NYS Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law all apply to websites - not only those with a nexus to brick and mortar places of public accommodation but also to cyber-only websites offering goods and services for sale to the public. Read more at: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=0945b90a-eec8-4a5b-8b48-37c3564ee2f1