Trainings & Events
News from the Federal Agencies
U.S. Access Board
Access Board Approves Rules on ICT Refresh and Medical Diagnostic Equipment
The Access Board approved updated requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) and new standards for medical diagnostic equipment at its meeting on September 14. The Board will proceed to submit both final rules to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance.
U.S. Department of Education
Department of Education Issues Guidance on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance clarifying the obligation of schools to provide students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with equal educational opportunity under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Over the last five years, OCR has received more than 16,000 complaints that allege discrimination on the basis of disability in elementary and secondary education programs, and more than 10 percent involve allegations of discrimination against students with ADHD. The most common complaint concerns academic and behavioral difficulties students with ADHD experience at school when they are not timely and properly evaluated for a disability, or when they do not receive necessary special education or related aids and services.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
EEOC Issues Final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues Process
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues, to replace its 1998 Compliance Manual section on retaliation. The guidance also addresses the separate "interference" provision under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits coercion, threats, or other acts that interfere with the exercise of ADA rights.The Commission has also issued two short user-friendly resource documents to accompany the new guidance: a question-and-answer publication that summarizes the guidance document, and a short Small Business Fact Sheet that condenses the major points in the guidance in non-legal language.
Wynn Las Vegas Sued By EEOC For Disability Discrimination
Wynn Las Vegas, LLC violated federal law when it discriminated against a disabled employee, a U.S. Army veteran who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed. According to the EEOC lawsuit, in 2010 Wynn began requiring its security guards to work mandatory overtime. One of the unarmed security bike officers requested an accommodation for his disability, and Wynn not only refused, but required the employee to submit burdensome doctor's notes. This denial exacerbated the employee's PTSD, and when the employee filed a complaint with EEOC, Wynn retaliated against him by suspending him pending an investigation, EEOC said.
EEOC Sues Owners of Happy Jack's Casino For Disability Discrimination
M.G. Oil Company, which operates Happy Jack's Casino in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, violated federal law by refusing to hire an applicant when her drug test showed that she was taking legal prescription drugs for her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed.
EEOC Sues MedStar Harbor Hospital For Disability Discrimination
Harbor Hospital, Inc., doing business as MedStar Harbor Hospital, violated federal law when it refused to provide a reasonable accommodation to and instead fired a respiratory therapist because of his disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced. According to EEOC's suit, nine years before starting working as a respiratory therapist at MedStar, Jerome Alston received a kidney transplant due to renal failure. As a result, he is required to take medication which compromises his immune system and increases his risk of infection. Due to his weakened immune system, MedStar gave Alston a "work-around" hich excused him from working in negative pressure rooms, which are isolation rooms with a mechanical ventilation system designed to trap infectious airborne materials. MedStar also gave pregnant employees similar work-arounds. In November 2013, however, when Alston requested such a work-around, MedStar refused and abruptly terminated him because of his disability, EEOC charged.
New Mexico Orthopaedics Associates to Pay $165,000 to Settle EEOC Discrimination Charge
New Mexico Orthopaedics Associates, P.C. (NMOA), which owns and operates a medical facility in Albuquerque, will pay $165,000 to settle a lawsuit for associational disability discrimination filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced. According to EEOC's suit, NMOA violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by firing Melissa Yalch Valencia, a temporary staffing agency employee, and failing to hire her for a full-time position because of her relationship with her then three-year old daughter, who had disabilities or was regarded as disabled.
Apria Healthcare Group to Pay $100,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit
Apria Healthcare Inc., a home medical provider that offers medical equipment and services in Albuquerque, will pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit for disability discrimination filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced. According to EEOC's suit, Apria violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by firing Hilda Padilla approximately one week after she returned from medical leave to remove a 23-pound tumor. Although the company alleged the termination was due to a reduction-in-force, Padilla was not given notice of the impending layoff, and another warehouse clerk's position was not considered for elimination, according to EEOC's suit. The company initiated its decision to lay off Padilla only two days after she provided notice of her medical restrictions.
New Image Building Services Sued By EEOC for Disability Discrimination
New Image Building Services, Inc., a Troy, Mich.-based cleaning company, has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for discharging an employee because of his medical condition, the federal agency announced. According to the lawsuit, New Image unlawfully discharged the employee because of his scoliosis.
Scottsdale Car Dealership Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination
A Scottsdale, Ariz., car dealership company violated federal law by rescinding a job offer after a pre-employment drug test revealed a prescription drug used to treat a disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed.
Regis Corporation to Pay $60,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit
Minnesota-based Regis Corporation, doing business as SmartStyle, will pay $60,000 in damages and back pay to former hair stylist Nora Jacquez to settle a federal disability discrimination suit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced. According to EEOC, Regis denied Jacquez an accommodation for her claustrophobia and then fired her.
EEOC Sues Legendary Baking For Disability Discrimination
American Blue Ribbons Holding, LLC, dba Legendary Baking, violated federal law by refusing to accommodate an employee with a disability and then firing her and failing to rehire her, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit it filed.
EEOC Sues Wayne Farms for Disability Discrimination
Wayne Farms, LLC, one of the nation's largest poultry producers, illegally discriminated against a class of employees because of their disabilities, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on August 18, 2016. In its suit, EEOC charged that Wayne Farms violated the rights of a class of workers with disabilities by maintaining an inflexible attendance policy. The policy capped the number of allowable employee absences in a manner that made little to no allowance for disability-related absences.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
A final rule revising the Justice Department's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II and Title III regulations to implement the requirements of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) was published on August 11, 2016. The final rule will take effect on Monday, October 10, 2016, 60 days from publication in the Federal Register
In response to several Supreme Court decisions that narrowly interpreted the ADA's definition of "disability," Congress passed the ADAAA to ensure that the ADA definition of "disability" would be broadly construed. The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the meaning and interpretation of the ADA definition of "disability" to ensure that the term would be applied without extensive analysis, so that all individuals with disabilities could receive the law's protections. The final rule ensures that the Department's regulations are consistent with the changes Congress made to the ADA.
Wells Fargo Settlement with the Justice Department
Wells Fargo has paid a total of almost $15.2 million to 925 people who experienced discrimination in banking in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is the largest payment under an ADA settlement with the department. The agreement resolved numerous ADA complaints alleging that individuals with disabilities were not able to fully access Wells Fargo's facilities and services. Along with the settlement payment to eligible claimants, Wells Fargo removed physical barriers; provided auxiliary aids and services; hired an ADA coordinator; and adopted an effective communication policy to provide equal access to its retail banking and financial services.
Justice Department Reaches Settlment Agreement with YMCA
The Justice Department reached a settlement agreement today with the YMCA of the Triangle in Raleigh, North Carolina, to resolve allegations that it violated title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to assist a child with diabetes-related tasks, including administration of the emergency medication Glucagon, so that the child could participate in a YMCA after-school program.
Justice Department Announces Consent Decree with Humboldt County, CA
The Justice Department announced that it filed a complaint and consent decree resolving claims that the county violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) after failing to comply with the ADA under a Project Civic Access (PCA) Settlement Agreement. Under the consent decree, the county will, among other things, bring all county facilities, programs, services and activities into compliance with the ADA within three and a half years; ensure that the county website conforms with the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0AA; provide curb ramps at all county intersections; ensure that emergency management procedures, policies and shelters are accessible to individuals with disabilities; hire an ADA coordinator, independent licensed architect, web accessibility coordinator and website accessibility consultant; and pay $275,000 to compensate individuals with disabilities who faced barriers to facilities, programs, services or activities. The agreement has a term of three and a half years.
Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in Olmsted Case
On August 22, 2016, the United States filed a Statement of Interest in the case of Ball v. Kasich. In Ball, individuals on a wait list for home-and community-based services allege that Ohio's ongoing denial of services has placed them at serious risk of institutionalization. The Statement of Interest clarifies that non-institutionalized individuals with disabilities who are not currently receiving state-funded home-and community-based services may bring a claim that a public entity has placed them at serious risk of institutionalization or segregation in violation of Title II's "integration mandate." The Statement of Interest also makes clear that a serious risk of institutionalization need not be imminent to state a valid Olmstead claim.
Great Lakes In Focus
Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE)
The Campaign for Disability Employment is a collaborative effort among several disability and business organizations that seeks to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace as well as the dividend to be realized by fully including people with disabilities at work. People with disabilities can and do make important contributions to America's businesses every day. By implementing good workplace practices, like maintaining a flexible and inclusive work environment, businesses can capitalize on the talents of qualified people with disabilities, benefiting everyone.
CDE Public Service Announcement
We all have many diverse factors who make us who we are. The Campaign for Disability Employment's "Who I Am" PSA features nine talented people with disabilities - some obvious and some not - sharing the many sides to themselves, including their jobs. It was produced by the Campaign for Disability Employment, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. Check it out today! http://bit.ly/1byzCaZ
Seventh Circuit Affirms Jury Decision in an ADA Lawsuit
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed judgment for an employee who claimed the city of Anderson, IN did not accommodate his disability when it fired him for not having a commercial driver's license. The employee was no longer able to get the license because of his diabetes.
Jack Brown worked for the Anderson Transit System for 28 years in a number of positions. He was a street supervisor when he was fired in 2012 after a new mayor came into office. The City terminated him because he did not have a commercial driver's license (CDL) in a position with a job description that listed the license as a job requirement. The city under a previous mayor was aware of this when he was promoted to the position. The Court of Appeals affirmed the jury's decision that having a CDL was not an essential function of the position because supervisors were rarely required to drive.
From the ADA Expert
Question:I am a public library director. We have a patron who comes in daily for long periods of time with a service dog. She has revealed that she herself does not have a disability, but that the dog "trains other dogs" to be service animals. Her dog has completed training, but she says it must accompany her at all times to maintain its training. I'm wondering if this is a reasonable request. There is no question that we would welcome a service animal accompanying a patron with a disability, but does this obligation extend to trained service animals accompanying people without disabilities?
Answer:A service animal is defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act as:
Any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.
A service animal in training would not meet this definition contained in the ADA regulations. In addition, an individual with a disability using a service animal is the one protected by the ADA from discrimination on the basis of disability. The service animal not being used by an individual with a disability has no protection status under the ADA.
If a trainer is accompanied by a trained service animal there is nothing in the ADA that would require that the service animal be allowed into a covered entities facility. To summarize, a service animal in training does not meet the definition of a service animal under the ADA and a service animal meeting the definition under the ADA only must be allowed into covered facilities when with an individual with a disability.
Some states do require public facilities to allow a trainer to bring an animal in training into a public facility. Individuals should check with a state attorney general's office to get information about a particular state's requirements.
For additional information please contact the Great Lakes ADA Center at (800) 949-4232 (V/TTY) or by completing the online form: http://adagreatlakes.com/WebForms/ContactUs/>