February 2017
Volume 12 Issue 3 

Trainings & Events

ADA Audio Conference Series
Employer Practices to Improve Employment Outcomes: Considerations across the Employment Process
February 21st, 2017 1-2:30 CT.

There is a significantly reinvigorated interest among businesses in identifying effective ways to hire and retain individuals with disabilities. This interest is being driven by regulatory requirements for federal sub-contractors and organizations within the federal sector itself as an employer. In addition, technology is opening possibilities to move the needle on employment for individuals with disabilities – new assistive technologies and accessibility features for existing ones, new technology applications in business that require specialized talent, creating opportunities for people with differences like autism, and virtual offices and mobile technologies which enable work by anyone, anytime, anywhere. Knowing which policies and practices across the employment process will be most effective is imperative to respond to and advance these current business strategy-driven interests. In this presentation, an overview of effective workplace disability inclusive practices across the employment process will be presented; included will be recruitment and hiring, career advancement and retention, compensation and benefits, accessibility and accommodation, diversity and inclusion, and metrics and analytics. The information presented is empirically derived, taken from a series of interlocking research projects to examine the most effective ways to minimize disability discrimination and maximize workplace disability inclusion. The implications of these employer practices for business, as well those providing training and technical assistance consultation services to employers, will be discussed.

Susanne Bruyère, Director, Program on Employment and Disability at Cornell University

For more information visit ADA Audio Conference site at http://www.ada-audio.org/ or call (877) 232-1990.
AccessibilityOnline Webinar Series
Medical Diagnostic Equipment Final Rule
March 2nd, 2017 1:30-3:00 CT.

The Access Board, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has published a final standard addressing access for people with disabilities to medical diagnostic equipment. The standards provide design criteria that will allow independent access to diagnostic equipment, including types that require transfer from wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Provisions address transfer surfaces, support rails, armrests, compatibility with lift devices, and other features to facilitate transfer. This session will provide an overview of this important rule making.

Rex Pace, Senior Accessibility Specialist and Technical Assistance Coordinator, US Access Board
Earlene Sesker, Director, Office of Technical and Information Services, US Access BoardAccessibility Specialist, US Access Board, Office of Technical and Information Services

For more information visit AccessibilityOnline at http://www.accessibilityonline.org or call (877) 232-1990
Accessible Technology Webinar Series
Building Drupal's Solid Accessibility Defaults
March 16th, 2017 1-2:30 CT.
Drupal 8 is the most accessible CMS in the world. Not that it's perfect, but the approach we have taken has done a lot to make 3% of the internet more accessible by default. As we all know, accessibility is complicated & although the principals stay the same, the details do not. In this webinar, Mike will be touching on some of our accomplishments incorporating HTML5, WAI-ARIA to build a modern, responsive, semantic framework. He will also touch on efforts to introduce ATAG 2.0 AA enhancements to improve the authoring experience. By centralizing our approach to accessibility we are able to produce more stable, predictable and future¬ compatible sites. The approaches Drupal has used can and should be used by other software platforms. It just requires people to think bigger and bolder about addressing these challenges

Mike Gifford, Founder and President,OpenConcept Consulting Inc.

For more information visit Accessible Technology at http://www.accessibilityonline.org/ada-tech or call (877) 232-1990
ADA Audio Conference Series
Structured Negotiation – A tool for disability rights
March 21, 2017 1-2:30 CT.

Come learn about Structured Negotiation — an alternative to lawsuits with a two decade track record in successfully resolving disability rights cases. The blind community has used Structured Negotiation with some of the largest organizations in the United States, including Bank of America, Walmart, the City and County of San Francisco, and Major League Baseball. Talking ATMs, accessible websites and mobile devices, accessible pedestrian signals, and audio description are some of the accessibility gains resulting from Structured Negotiation.
In this webinar, Lainey will present an overview of Structured Negotiation designed especially for disability rights advocates, with plenty of time for questions. She will cover:
- How Structured Negotiation has been successfully used by the disabled community
- How to start the process and establish ground rules
- How to hold collaborative meetings and how those meetings built relationships and allow disabled clients a voice in the process
- How to the expertise of disabled people helps the process
- How lawyers and clients can maintain the Structured Negotiation mindset that allows for cooperation
- The Structured Negotiation media strategy
- How Structured Negotiation has been a successful tool for resolving damages and attorneys’ fees claims in disability rights cases
- How to overcome negotiating obstacles to reach agreement and monitor settlements

Lainey Feingold , Director, Law Offices of Lainey Feingold

For more information visit ADA Audio Conference site at http://www.ada-audio.org/ or call (877) 232-1990.
ADA Legal Webinar Series
Access to Healthcare
March 22nd, 2017 1-2:00.

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided significant changes in rights to accessing healthcare, people with disabilities have yet to see the kind of systemic change needed in order to remove barriers in the delivery of healthcare services. Dr. Edward Elms and Legal Specialist George Powers, J.D. from the Southwest ADA Center will discuss current issues and barriers faced by persons with disabilities in accessing healthcare services and how the ADA may apply in those settings. During this session we will discuss:
- An overview of how ADA Titles II, III and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act apply to healthcare provider services and facilities
- Common barriers faced by persons with disabilities in accessing healthcare services including: Effective Communication,Accessible facilities and Accessible diagnostic medical equipment
- How these barriers can lead to limited choices and lack of programmatic access for people with disabilities
- Related cases or pending cases to healthcare access issues
- Possible recommendations for consumers when faced with barriers

Edward H.J. Elms , Doctor, Southwest ADA Center
George Powers , Legal Specialist, Southwest ADA Center

For more information visit ADA Legal at http://www.ada-legal.org/ or call (877) 232-1990
AccessibilityOnline Webinar Series
Vehicles Final Rule
April 6th, 2017 1:30-3:00.

The Board originally issued its ADA Accessibility Guidelines for transportation vehicles in 1991. New technologies and vehicles have been introduced into public transportation necessitating an update of the guidelines. This session will include a review of updates to the ADA guidelines for buses and vans and an overview of current research that will inform future rulemakings regarding circulation within a vehicle by people with mobility disabilities and other issues affecting accessibility to transportation vehicles.

Ed Steinfeld, Director, Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access

For more information visit AccessibilityOnline at http://www.accessibilityonline.org or call (877) 232-1990
AccessibilityOnline Webinar Series
Accessible Fitness Facilities and Exercise Equipment
May 4th, 2017 1:30-3:00 CT.

The 2010 ADA Accessibility Standard and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standard include provisions for exercise equipment and other elements typically found in a health club or fitness facility. This session will highlight provisions for exercise equipment along with a basic review of the building and facility elements such as toilet and bathing facilities, locker rooms, and other site amenities.

Bill BottenAccessibility Specialist, Office of Technical and Information Services, US Access Board

For more information visit AccessibilityOnline at http://www.accessibilityonline.org or call (877) 232-1990
Accessible Technology Webinar Series
Free Web Evaluation Tools: What They Can (and Can't) Do
May 18th, 2017 1-2:30 CT.

This presentation will examine some common on-line tools that can be used to evaluate different aspects of web accessibility. The session will discuss why many web site features require human evaluation to truly determine if the site is accessible. The session will also discuss how different parts of the web team should be involved in evaluation and validation issues and work together as a team to produce an accessible product. Ongoing evaluation will be discussed as well.

Julie Brinkhoff Associate Director, Great Plains ADA Center

For more information visit Accessible Technology at http://www.accessibilityonline.org/ada-tech or call (877) 232-1990
ADA Legal Webinar Series
The Interplay Between the ADA and the FMLA
May 24th, 2017

Employee leave is one of the most complex and common situations that businesses encounter. This session will compare and contrast the ADA and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), their respective regulations, and court decisions to assist employers and employees with navigating leave under each statute separately and in tandem.

Barry Taylor, Director of Legal Services, Equip for Equality
Rachel Weisberg, Staff Attorney, Equip for Equality

For more information visit ADA Legal at http://www.ada-legal.org/ or call (877) 232-1990

News from the Federal Agencies

U.S. Access Board

Access Board Issues Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment

The Access Board has issued new accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment (MDE) under section 510 of the Rehabilitation Act. The standards provide design criteria for examination tables and chairs, weight scales, radiological and mammography equipment, and other diagnostic equipment that are accessible to people with disabilities.

Read the Standards for Diagnostic Equipment

Access Board Updates Requirements for Information and Communication Technology

The Access Board released a final rule that updates accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The rule also refreshes guidelines for telecommunications equipment subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act.

Read the Final Standard

Animation on Signs Now Available from the Access Board

A new animation on accessible signage is now available from the Access Board as part of its online guide to standards issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). The 15-minute animated film reviews and illustrates requirements in the standards for signs and clarifies common sources of confusion. It covers provisions for visual access, tactile signs, required access symbols and other pictograms.

View the Animation for Signs

Access Board Updates ADA Guidelines for Buses and Vans

The Access Board has issued a final rule updating sections of its accessibility guidelines for transportation vehicles covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The rule revises provisions in the guidelines that apply to buses and vans to enhance accessibility and to address industry trends and improvements in design and technology.

Read the Final Rule for Buses and Vans

U.S. Department of Education (ED)

Education Department Issues Section 504 Resource Guide for Parents and Educators

The U.S. Department of Education has issued a resource guide for parents and educators on how requirements of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act apply to public education. The 47-page document, "Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools," reviews section 504 requirements, describes responsibilities school districts have under the law, and outlines steps parents can take to make sure their children receive the services that they are entitled to.

Read the Department of Education resource guide

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

EEOC Sues Pioneer Health Services for Disability Discrimination and Retaliation

Pioneer Health Services, Inc., a Mississippi company focused on rural health care, unlawfully discriminated against a social worker/therapist because of her disability when it refused to provide her with a reasonable accommodation, fired her and then retaliated against her by refusing to re-hire her after she complained, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

Read More about the EEOC Lawsuit against Pioneer Health Services

Papa John's Pizza To Pay $125,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

The owners of a Farmington, Utah Papa John's Pizza will pay $125,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the EEOC announced. According to the EEOC lawsuit, Papa John's discriminated against an employee who has an intellectual disability, Down syndrome.

Read More about the EEOC Settlement with Papa John's

EEOC Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Enforcement and Litigation Data

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released detailed breakdowns for the 91,503 charges of workplace discrimination the agency received in fiscal year 2016. This is the second year in a row that the number of charges filed with EEOC has increased.

Review the EEOC Statistics

EEOC Sues Walmart for Discriminating Against Employee with Intellectual Disability

Walmart violated federal law when it failed to accommodate and fired a longtime employee because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed. According to the EEOC lawsuit an employee who has Down syndrome, was disciplined for absenteeism after her schedule of 15 years was changed by management. Managers at Walmart ignored Spaeth's repeated requests to work her usual shift of 12:00pm - 4:00pm, insisting instead that she work the longer and later shifts that were assigned to her by a new computerized scheduling system. Because of Spaeths's disability, she was unable to adapt to the change in routine.

Read More about the EEOC lawsuit against Walmart

New 'Digest of EEO Law' Issued by EEOC

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the latest edition of its federal sector Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEO Digest), which is available online. The EEO Digest, a quarterly publication prepared by EEOC's Office of Federal Operations (OFO), features a wide variety of recent Commission decisions and federal court cases of interest.

Read the EEOC Digest

Diallo’s Of Houston to Pay $139,366 to Resolve EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that Diallo's of Houston, a Houston-area nightclub and party venue, will pay $139,366 and furnish other relief as a result of an EEOC disability discrimination lawsuit. In the EEOC lawsuit, the agency charged that Diallo's violated federal law when it forced an employee to provide medical documentation to prove she was not HIV-positive, and then fired her when she failed to provide such documentation.

Read More about the EEOC Settlement with Diallo’s

EEOC Issues Regulations on the Federal Government’s Obligation to Engage in Affirmative Action for People with Disabilities

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published regulations explaining what federal agencies must do to comply with their legal obligation to engage in affirmative action in employment and otherwise serve as "model employers" for individuals with disabilities. The regulations do not impose any obligations on private businesses or state and local governments.

Read the EEOC Regulations on Federal Governments Affirmative Obligations for Persons with Disabilities

U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)

Notice of Proposed Rule Making under Section 504 Published

The Attorney General signed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) soliciting public comments regarding its proposal to revise and update its regulation implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (section 504) for programs or activities receiving financial assistance from the Department of Justice. Since the Department first promulgated its section 504 Federally assisted regulation in 1980, there have been a number of major changes to the country’s disability laws. As a result, the existing regulation does not reflect several statutory changes to the Rehabilitation Act, the enactment of the ADA (the principles and policies of which are shared by section 504), and some key Supreme Court decisions interpreting section 504 requirements. The Department is proposing to incorporate into its proposed section 504 Federally assisted regulation definitions and requirements arising out of these statutory amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, title II of the ADA, and longstanding Supreme Court decisions.

Read More about the Notice of Proposed Rule Making

Justice Department Reaches Settlement Agreement with Mountain State Health Alliance

The Justice Department reached a settlement agreement with Mountain State Health Alliance (MSHA) resolving a title III complaint. The complaint alleged that MSHA failed to communicate effectively with the parents of one of their patients. The parents of the patient are deaf and were unable to understand and communicate with the doctors treating their daughter. The agreement requires the development of an effective communication policy, posting of the policy on its web site and throughout its facility, training of staff and the monitoring of requests for interpreters.

Read More about the DOJ Settlement with Mountain Health

Settlement Agreement with the YMCA of Metro Chicago Announced by Justice Department

The Justice Department reached a settlement agreement resolving a complaint alleging that the YMCA of Metro Chicago discriminated against a child with diabetes. The title III complaint stated that the child was not allowed to participate independently in a youth swimming program because staff refused to be trained to administer glucagon, an emergency medication needed for treating a life-threatening low blood sugar level. The YMCA will adopt and enforce an non-discrimination policy, adopt and implement a policy on diabetes management and train its staff.

Read More about the DOJ Settlement of YMCA of Metro Chicago

Justice Department Reaches Agreement with City of Philadelphia to Resolve Disability Discrimination Complaint

Under the terms of a consent decree filed by the Justice Department today, the City of Philadelphia will offer to reinstate and reassign a former employee it terminated because of a disability, and will pay him a total of $90,000.00 for back pay, accrued interest, and compensatory damages. The decree, pending approval by the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, will further require the City of Philadelphia's Streets Department to revise its policies to ensure that reassignment is considered as a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities, train relevant employees on the ADA, and report to the Justice Department on implementation of the decree.

Read More about the Consent Decree with the City of Philadelphia

Justice Department Issues Guidance Related to Criminal Justice Entities and Individuals with Mental Health or Intellectual andDevelopmental Disabilities

The Justice Department issued guidance to facilitate criminal justice entities' compliance with the ADA during interactions with individuals with mental health disabilities or I/DD. The document sets forth the key regulatory provisions under the ADA and provides examples of how local law enforcement, corrections, and justice systems entities have facilitated compliance with these obligations. The document also provides recommendations for anticipating and preparing for disability-related needs of individuals with mental health disabilities or I/DD by training criminal justice personnel, conducting reviews of policies and procedures, and collaborating with mental health and disability service providers. Lastly, the document provides examples from the Department's criminal justice enforcement actions and includes links to additional governmental resources.

Read the Justice Department Guidance

Great Lakes In Focus

N2017 National ADA Symposium

The ADA National Network is hosting the 21st annual ADA National Symposium on the Americans with Disabilities Act and related disability issues. The Symposium will take place at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois from May 14th to May 17th, 2017.

The ADA Symposium includes up to date information regarding employment, communication, transportation, emergency preparedness, case law, regulatory updates for government and private entities and the latest on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

Hear from presenters representing various federal agencies including the Departments of Justice, Education, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Access Board. This year there are break-out sessions on a wide-range of ADA related topics and online access to hand-outs from all sessions prior to the conference.

You can view the Symposium schedule and agenda on-line. Visit National ADA Symposium.

The Docket


Janna DeWitt appealed a district court’s decision granting summary judgment to her former employer. She claimed disability discrimination and failure to accommodate her disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She was terminated in 2010 when she allegedly hung up on two customers during a low blood sugar incident.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that her employer was entitled to summary judgment because, the employer advanced a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for taking the adverse employment action against DeWitt. Finding that DeWitt failed to otherwise meet her burden to overcome summary judgment, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the lower Court’s decision.

From the ADA Expert

I am the ADA Coordinator for a local community college and the college allows local organizations to hold events in the college’s facilities. Some groups use classrooms and others use larger spaces such as the theater. The college only provides the rooms and does not have anything to do with putting on the event. Recently I was contacted by an individual needing an interpreter for an upcoming event and wanted to know if the college was going to provide the interpreter because the organization putting on the event said they will not provide one. Does the college have any responsibility to provide the interpreter for this event?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that state and local governments and places of public accommodation to provide individuals with disabilities with the same level of access to information that is provided to individuals without disabilities. In some instances that may require the provision of auxiliary aids and services. An example of such an auxiliary aid or service used to communicate with something that is deaf is a qualified interpreter. Every time a covered entity communicates with some one that is deaf an interpreter may not be necessary. Consideration of the complexity of the information being communicated and the length of the communication taking place, along with consultation with the deaf individual should help determine what auxiliary aid or service is needed.

Because of the social interaction that often occurs in lodging facilities, an accessible clear opening width is required for doors and doorways to and within all guest rooms, including those not required to be accessible. This applies to all doors, including bathroom doors, that allow full user passage. Other requirements for doors and doorways in Section 404 do not apply to guest rooms not required to provide mobility features.

Addressing your specific question, if as you state the college is only providing the space for the event then the college has no responsibility for insuring equal access for the individual that is deaf to the information being presented. The group putting on the event would have the responsibility for providing access to the information if the group is covered by the ADA or receives federal funds requiring compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

If you have additional questions please contact the Great Lakes ADA Center by calling (800) 949-4232 (V/TTY) or through the online Contact Form.

Suggested Resources:

For more information please call 800-949-4232 (Voice/TTY) or Online via Contact Us form.

Great Lakes ADA Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Disability and Human Development (MC 728)
1640 West Roosevelt Road, Room 405
Chicago, Illinois 60608-6904

Last Updated on:
Thu Feb 23, 2017