Trainings & Events
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Question: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?
Answer: 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.