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July 2024
Volume 17 Issue 9

News Highlights

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In Focus

ADA Anniversary and Disability Pride. Logo: ADA 34 (1990-2024) Americans with Disabilities Act. Celebrate the ADA! July 26, 2024. Background is the Disability Pride Flag displaying five colored stripes over a black background.

ADA 34th Anniversary and Disability Pride Month

July marks the 34th Anniversary of the ADA as well as Disability Pride Month. Since last year’s ADA Anniversary, this historic civil rights law has experienced a number of exciting milestones, such as:

The Great Lakes ADA Center joins the disability community in celebrating these important updates which have provided much-needed clarity and modernization to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Check out our ADA 34th Anniversary Regional Events and Resources website for more information about upcoming events, disability statistics, ADA history, and more!

National News

EnAble Savings Accounts. Graphic of a coin and a line graph going up

Senators Introduce ENABLE Act

This bipartisan bill would permanently extend three critical provisions of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program. Currently, ABLE savings accounts allow individuals with disabilities and their families to save in tax-free accounts without affecting their eligibility for federal programs like Medicaid and SSI.

Image of a desk with a resume and a tablet displaying the ChatGPT logo

New Research: ChatGPT Shows Bias Against Disability in Resumes

Researchers at the University of Washington found that across 60 trials, resumes that included different disability-related credentials were ranked higher over the control group resumes only a quarter of the time by ChatGPT. Aside from the disability-related modifications, the resumes were the same.

A medical face mask with the words, Patient Safety

Patients With Disabilities More Vulnerable to Safety Concerns in Health Care

The Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) has released a report which shows that people with disabilities have a much higher chance for complications in healthcare than nondisabled patients. They also experience “diagnostic overshadowing” where their symptoms are attributed to their disability rather than another health condition.

Regional News


Illinois state outline

How Google AI Hopes to Streamline Access to Youth Mental Health Services

Illinois has partnered with Google Public Sector to use cloud computing and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to create a centralized portal called “BEACON.” The goal of the portal is to consolidate information and services across the departments of Human Services, Healthcare and Family Services, Children and Family Services, Juvenile Justice, Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education for better information-sharing and collaboration between these agencies. A phased rollout is set to begin by the end of July.

SIU Engineering Students Design Adaptive Mobility Device for Hiking

For their required senior capstone project, a team of engineering students from Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale designed and built a custom mobility device. This device is essentially a “hiking cart” that allows people with disabilities to use the trails at Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center with the assistance of a hiking partner.


Indiana state outline

FSSA Announces New Waivers and Structured Caregiving

July 1 marks the end of the Aged and Disabled Waiver in Indiana. Two new waivers, the PathWays Waiver for individuals aged 60 and older as well as the Health and Wellness Waiver for individuals 59 and younger, will provide home and community-based services to eligible Hoosiers who need a nursing facility level of care. Also starting on July 1, legally responsible individuals are no longer permitted to provide attendant care in Indiana. Two options were offered: Structured Family Caregiving or Attendant Care from a person who is not a legally responsible individual. This change has been opposed by parents of medically complex disabled children who cannot find nurses or aides to provide all of the needed care.

Food Truck Serves Mac-n-Cheese and Job Skills

The Cheese and Thank You food truck, launched by the non-profit New Hope, is a minimum wage job-training program for adults with disabilities to gain skills in food prep, customer service, and using a cash register. When the food truck season ends, New Hope helps workers prepare their resumes, go on interviews, and find permanent jobs. The food truck operates 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Wednesday at locations throughout Marion and surrounding counties.


Michigan state outline

Digital Accessibility Non-Profit Launches First Hub at MSU

Michigan State University (MSU) will serve as the first academic hub for Teach Access, a nonprofit organization focused on teaching future web developers about accessibility issues in digital spaces. For students, Teach Access offers an academy and ambassador program through sponsorships with major tech companies like Google and Meta. The student academy also offers education and networking opportunities through monthly webinars on accessibility topics.

Muskegon Adventure Park Prioritizes Accessible Recreation

Muskegon Luge and Adventure Sports Park recently hosted a universal accessibility open house to showcase its adaptive recreation offerings. The event featured free activities like zip lining, rock climbing, wheel luge, and archery. The park's features also include widened pathways, ramps, and packed dolomite surfaces for easy wheelchair access. Equipment like an all-terrain track chair and a modified utility task vehicle ensure that visitors with mobility issues can explore the park's diverse terrain. Their goal is to go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the ADA.


Minnesota state outline

Prison Policy Is Changing for Deaf Inmates

As of July 1, prison policy is changing to ensure Minnesota inmates with hearing loss will receive the same critical messaging that hearing prisoners get over the public address (PA) system. This is just one concession of a settlement agreement, following a lawsuit filed by Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid’s Minnesota Disability Law Center on behalf of two inmates — one deaf, the other hard of hearing.

Families Struggle to Find Quality Child Care for Children with Disabilities

Families and child care experts in Minnesota understand that early intervention can help kids with disabilities succeed in kindergarten and beyond, but finding a child care or preschool that can manage their needs is a challenge. Results from the 2016 National Survey on Children’s Health show children with disabilities are almost four times more likely to be expelled from preschool than their nondisabled peers. This can negatively impact the child’s development and social life.


Ohio state outline

New Program Helps First Responders Assist Seniors and People with Disabilities

The city of Hudson has launched a new program called SAFER Hudson to help emergency responders better assist senior citizens and residents with medical disabilities during emergency calls. SAFER Hudson enables seniors and those with disabilities to share key details about their medical conditions and requirements, just in case emergency personnel should ever be called to the scene. This allows first responders to more effectively assess and address the patient’s needs upon arrival.

County Program Guides People with Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Through the Court System

Cuyahoga County is the only county in Ohio that provides forensic services to people involved in the legal system. In 2002, the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, working with the mental health community, created the Mental Health Court Docket model to better represent the MHDD population. The MHDD Court has five judges. Forensic Liaisons assist individuals with understanding their charges, what the proceedings will look like, navigating the prison process, and more.


Wisconsin state outline

Email Delivery of Accessible Absentee Ballots for Voters with Print Disabilities

A Dane County Circuit Court judge has granted a temporary injunction to allow voters with print disabilities to request absentee ballots by email, instead of U.S. mail. This will allow voters with these disabilities to read and mark their ballots privately and independently through the use of assistive technology.

Track Wheelchairs Make Nature More Accessible

Outagamie County is working to make the great outdoors more accessible by introducing all-terrain wheelchairs at Plamann Park and Mosquito Hill Nature Center. The Aging and Long Term Support Division in Outagamie County's Health and Human Services Department and Outagamie County Parks partnered to use specialized transportation funds from the state Department of Transportation to purchase the two tracked wheelchairs.

Important Note: News from third-parties may be subject to change or require a subscription to view. The Great Lakes ADA Center is not responsible for content restrictions or changes made by third-parties.

Resource Highlights

Logos for ADA 34th Anniversary and Great Lakes ADA Center. Image of the ADA 2024 "In My Disability Rights Era" poster and text that reads Free ADA34 Events, Resources and Posters

Great Lakes ADA 34th Anniversary Regional Events and Resources

During the month of July, check out our Great Lakes ADA Center website for upcoming ADA34 anniversary events and resources like free posters (while supplies last), interviews with disability rights leaders, regional disability data, and more!

Disability Etiquette Guide cover

Disability Etiquette Guide

The United Spinal Association has released an updated version of their comprehensive Disability Etiquette Guide. This resource contains information on interacting with people who have disabilities in order to increase understanding and improve accessibility. Disability:IN also offers a starting guide infographic with basic disability etiquette tips.

Voting box next to an audit folder with a graph and calculator

Voting Rights: Polling Place Accessibility Audit Toolkit

The National Polling Access Audit Coalition (NPAAC) has created a comprehensive toolkit as well as resources and workshops to support polling place accessibility audits.

Man with Down Syndrome wearing a tie next to his coworker while they look at her phone

How State DD Councils Can Open the Glass Door to Employment

This resource was designed to help Councils on Developmental Disabilities (DD) and grantees close the employment gap between people with and without disabilities. Lean about what matters to employers and practical tips to help them become business leaders in Employment First practices.

Q&A of the Month

A store employee next to a shopping cart with groceries, shopping bags and a walking cane

Question: Are stores required to provide personal shopping assistance?

Answer: It depends. If a store offers personal shopping assistance to customers without disabilities, than this service must be accessible to customers with disabilities. However, if the store does not offer personal shopping services, they are generally not required to provide them to a person with a disability. Title III of the ADA requires businesses to provide equal access to goods and services. It does not require a store to provide personal devices (hearing aids, wheelchairs, etc.) or personal services (assistance in eating, toileting, shopping, etc.).

This does not mean a store would not need to comply with other relevant ADA requirements, such as making reasonable modifications or providing auxiliary aids and services. For example, a store employee could be asked to read a label to someone who is blind or retrieve items from a high shelf for a person with dwarfism. If these requests would not result in an undue burden or fundamental alteration of the business, they would generally be expected to provide them.


Learn more by visiting our ADA Frequently Asked Questions.

ADA Cases

Title I - Employment

Official Seal of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

EEOC v. Res-Care/Equus

Nationwide job assistance companies Res-Care and Equus Workforce Solutions will pay $125,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability and pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. The EEOC charged Res-Care/Equus with violating federal law by discriminating against an employee with a high-risk pregnancy due to her underlying disabilities, and then retaliating against her by firing her for requesting leave as a reasonable accommodation.

EEOC v. Factor One Source Pharmacy, LLC

According to this EEOC lawsuit, Factor One violated the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) when it inquired about employee disabilities and genetic information and pressured employees to use its pharmacy services. Employees who refused were allegedly fired or laid off. In addition to $515,000 in monetary relief, the agreed-upon settlement requires the company to train employees on the ADA and GINA, and to survey employees on their treatment in the workplace.

EEOC v. Weis Markets, Inc.

Weis Markets agreed to a consent decree to address charges that a male supervisor for the grocery store chain subjected a female employee to sexual harassment and fired her when she refused to undergo mental health counseling through the employee assistance program (EAP). In addition to paying $75,000 to the female employee, Weis Markets agreed to provide mandatory training about Title VII, the ADA, and its new EAP policies.

EEOC v. Opportunities and Resources, Inc. and ORI Anuenue Hale, Inc.

These federal janitorial contractors will pay $325,000 to resolve a disability lawsuit alleging they failed to provide ASL interpreters as reasonable accommodations to Deaf employees. ORI has agreed to provide sign language interpreters, hire an external EEO monitor, designate an internal ADA coordinator, and implement effective ADA policies and procedures to ensure reasonable accommodation requests are properly handled.

EEOC v. Pearl Interactive Network, Inc.

Pearl Interactive Network, a Columbus-based company, will pay an employee $3,212 in back pay and interest, as well as $20,000 in compensatory damages to resolve a charge of disability discrimination. EEOC found that Pearl Interactive Network denied the employee a reasonable accommodation, unlawfully placed her on unpaid leave due to her disability, and improperly disclosed her medical information. The company will also implement enhanced ADA training and policies.

Title II - State and Local Government

Official Seal of the U.S. Department of Justice

DOJ v. Colorado, Runnels, Smith and Upton County, Texas

The DOJ and the U.S. Attorney’s Office reached a settlement agreement with four Texas counties to resolve findings that they violated the ADA by maintaining election websites that discriminate against individuals with vision or manual disabilities. Under the settlement agreements, the counties agreed to make all future and existing online election content accessible.

DOJ v. Utah

The Justice Department announced that Utah is violating the ADA by unnecessarily segregating youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) during the day, instead of helping them find work and spend their days in their communities. The ADA and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C. require state and local governments to make their services for people with disabilities available in the most integrated setting appropriate to each person’s needs.

DOJ v. Alaska

The DOJ announced that Alaska violated the ADA by failing to provide an accessible ballot for in-person voting; selecting inaccessible polling places for federal, state, and local elections; and maintaining an inaccessible elections website. In a public letter of findings, the department detailed its findings and asked the state to resolve the identified civil rights violations.

DOJ v. Fulton County Schools, Georgia

The DOJ reached a settlement agreement with Fulton County Schools in Georgia to resolve the department’s investigation of the district’s response to an escalating series of student-on-student sexual assaults on a school bus serving students with special needs. The department conducted its investigation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.

Title III - Places of Public Accommodation

Official Seal of the U.S. Department of Justice

DOJ v. Carolina Café

The U.S. Attorney's Office secured an agreement with the owners of the Carolina Café that requires the restaurant to make reasonable modifications to its parking lot to create accessible parking spaces for customers with disabilities. Upon learning of the complaint, the owners of Carolina Café cooperated with the investigation and agreed to remedy the violation and immediately began to work on creating the accessible parking spaces.

DOJ v. Marriott International

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado reached an agreement with Marriott to address reservation barriers for accessible rooms at Marriott-branded hotels across the United States. Under the terms of the agreement, Marriott will make improvements to its reservation processes that will make it easier for hotel guests to reserve and stay in accessible rooms. Marriott will also pay a $50,000 civil penalty.

DOJ v. Creative Interventions, LLC

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut has entered into a settlement agreement with Creative Interventions, an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy provider, to resolve allegations that the company discriminated against a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Type 1 Diabetes. The complaint alleged that they refused to monitor the child’s Continuous Glucose Monitor and instead required a parent to provide this care. Creative Interventions will implement new policies and procedures for handling requests for reasonable modifications consistent with the ADA and will provide training to its staff on the ADA. Creative Interventions has also agreed to pay $15,000 to the complainant in this matter.

Statements of Interest

Red, white and blue button that says "Vote"

Justice Department Files Statements of Interest in Two Voting Access Lawsuits

The Justice Department has filed statements of interest in Ohio (League of Women Voters of Ohio v. LaRose) and Alabama (Alabama State Conference of the NAACP v. Marshall) to promote the correct and uniform interpretation of voting laws protecting the rights of voters with disabilities. The statements affirm that the ADA requires public entities to provide equal opportunities to vote absentee and allow voters with disabilities to use an assistant of their choice as a reasonable modification.

Great Lakes ADA Center logo Resources of the Month Logo with a book page inside a lightbulb