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A Field Goal with only Seconds to Spare

Did you hear about the high school teen who won the football game for his underdog team by successfully making a field goal with only seconds to spare? If not, you should because the teen has #Autism. This was something he was practicing to do for years and said he knew he would be successful because of his #Autism. Individuals with #Autism are known for their relentless focus on things that interest them. In this case, the focus and repetitive practice was on successfully kicking a field goal. In fact he has been practicing his kick for years. The point his dad makes is one that everyone should consider: In this case, his son’s #disability was the advantage, not the #barrier. I wonder how many of you have open positions in your organizations where someone with a #disability may have unique #skill-sets as a result of the #disability that would make them the most qualified candidate.

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

ADA Blog #136

I always remind employers about the importance of documentation. Good documentation can often be an employer’s defense to a charge of wrongful termination.

Employers recently won a small victory when an employee filed suit against his employer, arguing that his employer’s decision to fire him was motivated by his ongoing care of his son with a disability and therefore, violated the ADA & the FMLA.

The employee argued that his employer was trying to use various unreasonable and incorrect nondiscriminatory reasons for termination as an excuse for a discriminatory termination.

The Court disagreed with the employee stating that even if an employer's reason for termination turns out to be incorrect, or even unreasonable, that alone does not prove discrimination. In other words, as long as the employer honestly believed the nondiscriminatory reason given for the termination, there can be no discrimination even if the reason was based upon incorrect information or was ill-considered or unreasonable. This is by no means a "get out of jail free" card for impulsive termination decisions, but it should provide employers with some comfort in those termination decisions where it is simply impossible for the employer to accurately determine all of the underlying facts.

Fortunately for the employer, the termination was well-documented. The Court noted that the employer had thoroughly investigated the situation, had carefully documented such investigation, had provided the employee with what it believed was a good and legitimate reason for termination, and had documented its reason in a thorough written termination report.

Shelley

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

A Recent BMO Study

Almost half of #Canadians believes a candidate is more likely to be hired if they can hide their #disability from a potential employer, according to a recent BMO study.In fact, according to the survey, that perception is even higher - 55 per cent - among survey respondents who said they have a disability.

The study suggests there is still too much stigma about discussing #disability in the #workplace - on the part of employers, job candidates and employees - and it is getting in the way of businesses hiring more people with #disabilities. If you are a Canadian employer, job candidate or employee let #Springboard know how you feel about this. 

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

ADA Blog #135

Everyone wins when people become tax payers rather than tax depleters.

As of Sept. 12th, the unemployment rate for America’s population with disabilities was 13.5%, down nearly three points from the same period last year but almost double the rate for the population without disabilities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the Center for Workforce Properties, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, "...placing 10 people with severe disabilities in jobs costs the federal government $120,000, but saves taxpayers $470,000 per year in reduced social services."

October is recognized as “National Disability Employment Month”, consider informing your personnel, especially hiring managers, of the following:

  1. One in five people in the United States has some form of disability, and others will develop a disability as they age.
  2. Employers who want to retain trained employees will adjust their work-spaces to accommodate those valued employees especially because the older you get, the more you need some type of assistance. Successful retention often embraces differences rather than similarities of valued employees. 

  3. Employers who make accommodations for their workforce put all employees at ease because it lets them know they're likely to get help if they ever need it.
  4. Consumers are more likely to give their business to a company that hires people with disabilities, according to a national survey by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Shelley

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

Disability Gas Coalition

The United Spinal Association has joined with the Paralyzed Veterans of America to create the #Disability Gas Coalition, a national and state-level disability rights organization dedicated to restore refueling assistance at the pump for people living with disabilities. Some 15 million drivers with disabilities in the United States are unable to easily access gasoline at 159,000 stations nationwide. The Disability Gas Coalition was founded to give voice to this issue.

"For many drivers with disabilities traveling away from home, when it comes time to refuel, they are not sure what they will encounter--whether they will find a station with attendants that will assist them or whether they will have to drive around on fumes in frustration," said Paul J. Tobin, president and CEO of United Spinal Association. The solutions proposed by Disability Gas Coalition include:

  •  A well-identified pump designated for drivers with disabilities.
  • Clear signage at the pump posting hours when there is more than one employee on duty.
  • An oversized touch pad easily reached from the driver's seat to ask for assistance.
  • A nationally #accessible database showing where and when these services are available.

#Springboard would like to hear your own experiences and thoughts on how to remedy this issue.

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

Carlisle, United Kingdom

In one area in the #UK, Carlisle, #taxi-drivers have been warned they could be punished unless they learn how to look after #disabled passengers, requiring them to take part in a #Disability-Awareness-Training Session. In fact, Licensing chiefs are insisting they attend a two-hour course – after which they will sit a test – within the next 10 months so all are aware of their responsibilities. The move is in support of the #Disability-and-Equality-Act.

Across the UK, as in many countries, there have been a number of high-profile cases in recent years where passengers have been injured because they have not been carried properly in taxis.

Failure to complete the #training session could result in drivers being referred to the regulatory panel, which has the power to take sanctions against them and all new drivers must now complete the training before their license is granted.

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

Physical Accessibility at the U.S. Capitol

The first analysis of physical #accessibility at the U.S. Capitol and the legislative office buildings surrounding it, was conducted by the Congress’ Office of #Compliance and found 154 “#barriers to #access” outside House office buildings with more than half deemed to pose #safety risks to those with #disabilities.

Inspectors also found numerous ramps or sidewalks that could cause #wheelchairs to flip backwards or fall sideways. A random check of six restrooms, in the congressional buildings, was also found to be out of #ADA compliance. #”ADAviolations” were even found in restrooms at the Library of Congress that were remodeled as recently as 2010 as well as in the brand new Capitol Visitor Center.

How can this be? Well it can, it is and it’s very sad. If your company was to conduct such a #Disability Barrier Assessment Survey, how would it fair? If you are unsure or are concerned with what assessment would show? Contact #Springboard at 973-813-7260 or via email at info@consultspringboard.com, to learn more about conducting such an important #assessment.

What you save in potential suits would be well worth the investment and the potential injuries you prevent would be priceless.

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

ADA Blog #134

In Oct, 2009 Ms. Smith was hired at Adams Jeep of Maryland, Inc., as a telephone operator and then promoted to an accounts payable/receivables position. When she was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder and disclosed it to the office manager and assistant manager, she was subjected to epithets such as “pill popper” and “psycho.”

It is unlawful to harass or discriminate against a qualified individual because of a disability or a record of disability. An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an undue hardship on the operations of the employer’s business.

While out on a medical leave of absence and under a doctor’s care, Ms. Smith was fired. Do you think this is an ADA violation?

This type of behavior is a clear violation of the ADA and as a result, the auto dealership will pay $50,000 and furnish other remedial relief to settle an EEOC’s disability discrimination and harassment lawsuit. Unlawful discrimination in this case included:

  1. Denying a qualified employee a reasonable accommodation shortly after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and because of her record of disability.
  2. Subjecting an employee with a disability to harassment.
  3. Unlawfully firing a qualified employee because of her disability.

Along with the $50,000 payment to Smith, which represents back pay and compensatory damages, the consent decree settling the lawsuit requires that Adams Jeep of Maryland do the following:

  1. Institute and distribute a written policy to all employees on disability discrimination and harassment. The policy will contain procedures for employees requesting reasonable accommodations under the ADA, and include medical leave as a reasonable accommodation.
  2. Provide 4 hours of training to all current and new supervisors.
  3. Post a notice affirming its commitment to all federal equal employment opportunity laws; and
  4. Submit reports to EEOC for two years.

During fiscal year 2011, disability discrimination charges filed with the EEOC reached a record level of 25,742 nationwide.

October is National Disability Employment Month. Take steps to assure your company provides a work environment free of disability harassment and discrimination. Springboard's Team can provide you with assistance that can customize and streamline your efforts to reduce your risk of unintentional disability discrimination.

Shelley

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

ADA Blog #133 (Part 2 of 2)

PART 2

In addition to the monetary relief to the cashier, the consent decree settling the suit between the EEOC, Home Depot must:

  1. Stop denying reasonable accommodations or otherwise discriminating against individuals with disabilities in the future.
  2. Provide anti-discrimination training, with an emphasis on unpaid leave as a medical accommodation, to all store managers, assistant store managers and human resources staff in the district covering the Towson store and Post a notice regarding the resolution of the lawsuit.

According to the ADA, employers must give unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation unless they can prove it would be a significant cost or disruption to its business (undue hardship). EEOC said, "It can be difficult for a major nationwide retailer the size of Home Depot to show how a few extra weeks of unpaid leave would be an undue hardship." According to its website, https://corporate.homedepot.com, The Home Depot, Inc. is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer with fiscal 2011 retail sales of $70.4 billion and earnings of $3.9 billion. The Home Depot has more than 2,200 retail stores in the United States (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and the territory of Guam), Canada, Mexico and China.

Don’t wait for EEOC to dictate the type of training program your company should provide to which employees. Springboard can design and provide a training program tailored to your company’s needs, as well as address issues about how, when and what types of accommodations might be considered reasonable in situations relevant to your employees with disabilities.

Shelley

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

ADA Blog #132 (Part 1 of 2)

PART 1

Large corporations usually have training programs in place to help mitigate their risk against disability discrimination; yet, the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer will pay $100,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. Why? Failing to provide a reasonable accommodation for a cashier with cancer at its Towson, Md., store and then firing her because of her condition.

The EEOC said that the cashier, who consistently received favorable performance evaluations during her 13-year tenure with Home Depot, requested unpaid leave for surgery to remove a tumor. EEOC contended that Home Depot initially accommodated her disability by granting her unpaid leave, but then advised her that she would be terminated if she did not advise the company of her status. EEOC charged that even though Henderson promptly sent medical documentation confirming when she would be medically released to return to work in October 2010, the retailer did not respond to her medical notes and instead fired her. Home Depot told Henderson she was being let go due to a lack of work, but EEOC claimed that was but a subterfuge for disability discrimination. Before, when there had been a seasonal lack of work, Henderson had been temporarily laid off as opposed to permanently terminated. Further, the company hired two cashiers at the Towson store after Henderson submitted medical documentation that she would soon be able to return to work. Additional cashiers were hired at nearby locations.

It is a violation of the ADA to fire someone on the basis of a disability. The ADA also requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation unless the employer can show it would be an undue hardship.

In addition to the monetary relief to the employee, what other actions do you think EEOC included in the consent decree with Home Depot?

Shelley

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

Back Due To Popular Demand! Applications for Applications for the 2013 Europe Disability Matters Awards Banquet and Conference — Apply Today!

 

 

 

 

 

MENDHAM, NJ, USA (October 11, 2012) -- Springboard Consulting LLC, recognized as the global expert on mainstreaming disability in the corporate workforce, workplace and marketplace, announces its 2013 Europe Disability Matters Awards Banquet and Conference, to be held June 12-13, 2013, at Accenture’s headquarters located in Paris, France. “We are pleased and honored that Accenture is hosting this most important corporate event, along with this year’s partner, the Association of French Managers in Diversity (AFMD)”, said Nadine Vogel, President of Springboard Consulting LLC.

The disability community is the largest and fastest growing minority in the world. Meeting the needs of this segment, including those who have dependents with special needs, through workforce, workplace and marketplace initiatives is no longer just a strategic advantage, it’s a business imperative. This is especially true in light of the many recent legislative changes impacting this segment throughout Europe. The 2013 Europe Disability Matters Conference will feature executive presenters from best practice corporations along with experts from government, academia and the non-governmental organizations sectors, sharing their experience on how to appropriately support and market to this very large, loyal segment of the population.

Companies interested in becoming a sponsor or purchasing tickets will find additional information, by visiting https://consultspringboard.com/category/disability-matters/disability-matters-2013-eu/ Companies interested in applying for this prestigious award are not required to sponsor this conference. Receiving the award is based strictly on merit. To obtain application forms for one of these prestigious awards, honoring outstanding commitment to the disabled community in the areas of Workforce, Workplace and/or Marketplace please contact: Sigrid Senamaud: +1 973 813 7260 (extension 5) or Sigrid@consultspringboard.com


ABOUT SPRINGBOARD®
Founded in 2005, Springboard is recognized as the expert in mainstreaming disability in the global workforce, workplace and marketplace. Serving corporations and organizations throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia, Springboard has become a trusted partner in relation to disability issues and initiatives across virtually every business category. Springboard annually honors exemplary organizational initiatives that promote the outreach, support & engagement of people with disabilities as employees and as consumers though the Disability Matters Awards.

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing. Combining unparalleled experience, expertise and research capacity and innovation developed and implemented with the largest organizations in the world on all trades and industries, Accenture helps clients - businesses and governments - to strengthen their performance.

The Association Française des Managers de la Diversité aims to help its member - companies, administrations, business schools and universities - to integrate diversity into their strategy. It offers an innovative platform of networking and experience sharing in the field of diversity management by uniting operative managers, diversity representatives and HR to associate these actors to the academia. With over ninety members, the association consolidates its position by strengthening its role as an interface between business and the public sector.

Exciting Keynote, New Sponsors, More Content Than Ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

MENDHAM, NJ (9/13/12) – Springboard Consulting LLC announces its seventh Annual U.S. Disability Matters Awards Banquet and Conference, to be held April 15-17, 2013 at Florida Blue’s headquarters in Jacksonville, FL.

Thanks to our Host, Florida Blue, a previous recipient of the Disability Matters Award, we have expanded this most important corporate event to two full days of content plus an awards dinner banquet and a networking event the evening prior, allowing for even more information and best practices to be shared than ever before. Of course inspirational keynote presentations are always a hi-light of the conference which at the 2013 event will include Dave Clark. Dave, a Florida resident, is a man of extraordinary will and perseverance. Stricken with polio at a young age, Dave has grown to accomplish many things from being the only pro-baseball player to pitch from crutches to coaching for Major League Baseball International. His story is what some might consider the greatest, “mostly unknown” professional sports account of our time that teaches unforgettable life lessons.

As is the case for most events, the 2013 U.S. Disability Matters Awards Banquet & Conference could not happen without our dedicated sponsors. Sponsors to date are:

HOST SPONSOR

Florida Blue

WELCOME RECEPTION HOST

Adecco Group NA

PLATINUM

Northrop Grumman Corporation  ♦  Toyota Motor Sales, USA

GOLD  

Colgate-Palmolive Company  ♦  KPMG, LLP  ♦  Marsh & McLennan Companies  ♦  Prudential Financial, Inc.

SILVER

EMC Corporation  ♦  General Motors  ♦  HSBC  ♦  Procter & Gamble

BRONZE

CSX Corporation  ♦  IBM  ♦  Ingersoll Rand  ♦  PSEG  ♦  PwC  ♦  Time Warner Cable, Inc.  ♦  UPMC  ♦  Visa

As in prior years, the Disability Matters conference will feature executive presenters from corporate America, the federal government, academia and the non-profit sector, sharing their experiences and best practices on how to support and market to this large, loyal segment of the population. In response to overwhelming demand, this years’ event will be expanded to two full days of content so that we can address more topics and do a deeper dive on the most critical issues impacting disability in today’s corporate arena.

Honorees will be selected in the following categories: Workforce, Workplace & Marketplace as well as the Disability Matters Employer of Choice Award, given to a company that has taken their award-winning initiatives to a level where there is complete synergy between mission and achievement. The Disability Champion Award is open to individuals within an organization at the Executive, Management and Associate levels. For more information on different awards visit https://consultspringboard.com/2011/dm-award-descriptions-and-methodology/.

Companies interested in becoming a sponsor, purchasing tickets, and/or applying for one of these prestigious awards, which honor outstanding commitment to the disabled community in the areas of Workforce, Workplace and/or Marketplace, will find additional information including prior year honorees by visiting https://consultspringboard.com/2011/about-disability-matters-united-states/.

For additional information contact: Jill Frankel: 973-813-7260 x106 or Jill@consultspringboard.com


Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, is a leader in Florida’s health care industry. Our mission is to help people and communities achieve better health. Florida Blue has approximately 4 million health care members and covers 15.5 million people in 16 states through its affiliated companies. Florida Blue is a not-for-profit, policyholder-owned, tax-paying mutual company. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit www.floridablue.com

Accessibility for customer-facing businesses in the UK

#VisitEngland now utilizes an online #disability training tool with a section dedicated to raising awareness about the different types of #disabilities and advice on what you can do to help visitors with #accessibility needs. They also require any business that is part of the quality assessment schemes for #accommodation and attractions to have an access statement, and since December 2010 has been taking operators through the steps necessary to produce this document with an online tool. Among other things, the tool offers advice on what to include in your access statement including information on local parking facilities, the number of #accessible bedrooms and bathrooms you have and #accessible taxi services.

#Caterer and #Hotelkeeper is holding an #Accessibility Awareness Day on 1 October to provide operators with the chance to assess their own accessibility provisions and see their business from a different perspective.

Restaurant and pub operator #Mitchells & Butlers, which currently manages around 1,500 pubs throughout #England, #Scotland, #Wales and #Northern Ireland, has taken #accessibility seriously, estimating that 98% of the company's venues have #accessible toilets and that they place an emphasises on each and every site managed by #Mitchells & Butlers, to do everything possible to accommodate customers #accessibility needs.

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

ADAAA Cross-Country Tour

Have you heard about the #ADAAA cross-country tour? This is an unprecedented undertaking by the #EEOC, featuring first-hand instruction by two of the chief decision makers for the federal agency. The #EEOC Commissioners Chai Feldblum and Victoria A. Lipnic will cover the basics of reasonable accommodation - including essential functions and job descriptions - as well as special issues related to leave, modified schedules and telecommuting as reasonable accommodations. There will also be sessions on the Interactive Process and the interplay of the #ADA, the Family and Medical Leave Act (#FMLA) and Worker's Compensation. Visit www.eeoc.gov to learn more.

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

ADA Blog #131 (Part 2 of 2)

The consent decree, which must be approved by the court, requires the county to: 


1) pay $475,000 to the complainants and provide additional work-related benefits (including #retirement benefits and back pay, plus interest);
2) adopt new policies and procedures regarding the administration of #medical examinations and inquiries;
3) refrain from using the services of the medical examiner who conducted the overbroad medical examinations in question;
4) cease the automatic exclusion of job applicants who have insulin-dependent #diabetes mellitus; and,
5) provide training on the #ADA to all current supervisory employees and all employees who participate in making personnel decisions.

The #employment provisions (Title I) of the #ADA prohibits employers, such as #Baltimore County, from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability in various aspects of employment. The ADA’s provisions concerning #disability-related inquiries and #medical exams reflect Congress’s intent to protect the rights of applicants and employees to be assessed on merit alone, while protecting the rights of employers to ensure that individuals in the workplace can efficiently perform the essential functions of their jobs. An employer violates the #ADA if it requires its employees to undergo #medical examinations or submit to #disability-related inquiries that are not related to how the employee performs his or her job duties, or if it requires its employees to #disclose overbroad #medical history or #medical records. Employers are also prohibited from excluding individuals with #disabilities unless they show that the exclusion is consistent with business necessity and they are prohibited from retaliating against employees for opposing practices contrary to the #ADA.

Do you know what’s considered a #disability-related question? Do you know which exams are considered #medical? How do you determine which inquiries are #job-related and consistent with business necessity? What #documentation can an employer require from an employee who requests #reasonableaccommodation? How do you conduct periodic testing and monitoring when necessary? Can an EAP counselor ask questions about an employee’s #disability? What about voluntary wellness programs?

If you’re not sure about the answers to the above questions, #Springboard’s #ADA Team can help you navigate through the maze and get you on the right track.

Shelley

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

ADA Blog #130 (Part 1 of 2)

I thought everyone already knew that the #ADA limits an employer’s ability to make #disability-related inquiries or to require #medicalexaminations at the pre- and post-offer stages. But, perhaps you don’t understand why this provision was included in the first place.

This is because, many employers asked applicants and employees to provide information about their physical and/or mental condition and used this information to exclude and otherwise discriminate against #individualswithdisabilities -- particularly #nonvisibledisabilities, such as #diabetes, #epilepsy, #heart disease, #cancer, and #mental illness -- despite their ability to perform the job. The EEOC guidance makes clear that:

“...the #ADA's restrictions on inquiries and examinations apply to all employees, not just those with disabilities. Unlike other provisions of the #ADA which are limited to qualified individuals with disabilities, the use of the term "employee" reflects Congress's intent to cover a broader class of individuals and to prevent employers from asking questions and conducting medical examinations that serve no legitimate purpose. Requiring an individual to show that s/he is a person with a #disability in order to challenge a #disability-related inquiry or #medical examination would defeat this purpose. Any employee, therefore, has a right to challenge a #disability-related inquiry or #medical examination that is not #job-related and consistent with business necessity.”

In its complaint against Baltimore County, Md., the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ) alleged that the county violated the #ADA by requiring employees to submit to #medical examinations and #disability-related inquiries without a proper reason. The county also and excluded applicants from emergency medical technician (EMT) positions because of their #diabetes.

The complaint identifies 10 current and former #police officers, #firefighters, #EMTs, #civilian employees and #applicants who were allegedly subjected to inappropriate and intrusive medical examinations and/or other #disability-based #discrimination. Some employees were allegedly required to undergo medical examinations or respond to medical inquiries that were unrelated to their ability to perform the functions of their jobs. The complaint also alleges that the county required employees to submit to medical examinations that were improperly timed, such as requiring an employee who was on medical leave and undergoing medical treatment to submit to a medical exam even though the employee was not attempting to return to work yet.

According to the complaint, numerous affected employees – some of whom had worked for the county for decades – submitted to the improper medical exams for fear of discipline or #termination if they refused. The complaint also alleges that the county #retaliated against an employee who tried to caution against the #unlawfulmedicalexams. Additionally, the complaint alleges that the county refused to hire two #qualifiedapplicants for EMT positions because they had #diabetes.

“The result of the county’s discriminatory policies and practices was to force employees, including veteran #police officers and #firefighters, to submit to invasive and unjustified medical examinations and inquiries,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The #ADA does not tolerate this type of conduct and neither does the Justice Department.”

What do you think is the end result? Read tomorrow’s blog to find out!

Shelley

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

Employees with Disabilities

I cannot tell you how many times I am told, “We really don’t have many employees with #disabilities working here”, to which I respond, “How do you know?” After all, over 70% of people with #disabilities have invisible #disabilities such as a learning #disability or #epilepsy or even #Aspergers Syndrome. Keep in mind; before your company ever engages in a #talentacquisition strategy for individuals with #disabilities, you more than likely are already engaging with employees with #disabilities. The real question should be around how to get these employees to be comfortable #disclosing. And for that, #Springboard can help with its Disability #Disclosure tool and more. Call today to learn more: 973-813-7260.

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

The Metro (Washington DC area)

For folks with #disabilities who use the Metro (Washington DC area) to commute to work or just get around were very excited to hear about the Metro’s plans to make their SmartTrip cards more accessible. The excitement was hampered a bit though when these individuals learned that the new machines, which are scheduled to be released, do not have an audio component for those who have visual or cognitive impairments. The issue here is the purchase of brand new equipment that is not entirely #accessible to everyone. Why should something brand new first need to be retrofitted at yet additional cost and time especially considering that under the #ADA, the Metro, like other public transit, must provide equal access to those with disabilities?

Although this story is one focused on a particular Metro system, it addresses a much larger issue for companies across the globe: #UniversalAccess and specifically accessibility relative to technology. How is your organization dealing with this? Are you constantly dealing with retrofitting and related costs? #Springboard wants to hear from you, your challenges and perhaps your solutions.

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

ADA Blog #129

Companies still don’t understand what it means to provide workplace supports for its employees.

ABCO West Electrical Construction and Design / ABCO Electrical Construction and Design found out the hard way when the EEOC filed and won a disability discrimination lawsuit against them.

The company discriminated against the employee, who has an amputated leg, when it laid him off because of his disability and because he requested a #reasonable accommodation. In addition, the EEOC charged that ABCO West refused to rehire the employee due to his #disability, and in #retaliation for requesting a #reasonable accommodation and reporting ABCO West's discriminatory actions to his labor union and the EEOC. This type of action violates Title I of the #ADA, which prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with #disabilities and from retaliating for complaining about #discrimination or requesting an #accommodation.

In addition to the monetary settlement of $23,000, the consent decree settling the suit requires that ABCO West must provide training for employees on #disability #discrimination and #retaliation, develop policies prohibiting #disability #discrimination and #retaliation, and post a notice that #discrimination against ABCO West employees is unlawful.

The #ADA protects #disabled employees in every industry, including construction. It is in the best interest of employers to educate themselves about the #ADA and take steps to prevent disability #discrimination in the workplace. #October is “National Disability Employment Month.” This year’s theme is: A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce. What Can YOU Do? If you haven’t provided training for your employees, now is the time. #October is also an opportune time to review your company's policies to ensure they convey a commitment to an inclusive workplace culture. For more ideas or assistance, contact Springboard.

Shelley

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

Specific Measures of Disability

The most recent #U.S. Census refers to individuals with #disabilities using a variety of specific measures of #disability such as Seeing, hearing and speaking limitations, Upper and lower body limitations, ADL’s, IADL’s and Need for Assistance and Cognitive, Mental and Emotional Functioning. #Springboard has received numerous inquiries about how each of these measures is actually defined by the U.S. Census Bureau so I have decided to provide the definitions are as follows:

Seeing Limitations: Experiencing blindness or having difficulty seeing words and letters in ordinary newsprint even when wearing glasses or contacts.

Hearing Limitations: Experiencing deafness or having difficulty hearing a normal conversation even when wearing a hearing aid.

Speaking Limitations: Difficulty having their speech understood other in part or at all.

Lower Body Limitations: Difficulty walking, climbing stairs or using a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker.

Upper Body Limitations: Difficulty with physical tasks including lifting and grasping.

ADL’s – Activities of Daily Living: These include difficulty getting around the home such as getting around the home, getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing, eating or toileting.

IADL’s – Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: These include difficulty going outside the home, managing money, preparing meals, doing housework, taking prescription medication and using the phone.

Cognitive, Mental and Emotional Functioning: When symptoms of psychological or emotional illness interferes with an individual’s ability to manage everyday activities.

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

ADA Blog #128

The Justice Department & the National Federation of the Blind have reached a settlement with the Sacramento Public Library Authority to resolve allegations that the library violated the ADA by using inaccessible Barnes & Noble NOOK electronic reader devices in a patron lending program.

People who have visual impairments are unable to access the Nook’s menus & controls through means other than a touch screen interface (that at present lacks audio and tactile feedback) and the devices’ lack of a text-to-speech function that turns e-content into speech. As a result of this agreement, the Library will no longer acquire any additional e-reader devices that are inaccessible for patron use when it either purchases new or replaces the inaccessible e-reader devices currently in circulation.

This is not an employment issue, but rather a lack of equal access to public programs, activities & services offered to patrons with disabilities by a public library. It’s important to note that requirements for public entities are even higher than for employment situations, especially when it comes to documentation. Employers can request documentation of disability under strict & limited conditions; however, libraries may not require proof of disability, including, for example, a doctor’s note, before loaning accessible e-reader devices to eligible patrons. However, the Library may require individuals who borrow the accessible e-reader devices to attest in writing that the accessible e-reader device is being borrowed by or for an eligible patron.

As we’ve seen in EEOC settlement agreements, the Justice Dept’s agreements also include a training requirement that is even more prescriptive than that required by the EEOC. In this particular settlement agreement, the Library must train: 1) all individuals acting on behalf of the Library (whether employees or volunteers) who interface with the public in any capacity and 2) individuals who have been, or may in the future be involved in, discussions or decisions regarding acquisition of technology for use by Library patrons. The Library also has to provide the Justice Dept. with the proposed training curriculum for approval and must adopt all changes made by the Dept. Furthermore, the Justice Dept. has the authority to approve the trainers that Library selects.

According to the American Library Association (ALA), there are nearly 17,000 public libraries in the U.S. In its most recent (2010) Public Library Survey, the Institute of Museum and Library Services reports visits to public libraries totaled 1.5 billion, or 5.1 library visits per capita. These numbers are continuing to rise, and the recession has spurred demand even further. Given these trends, the aging of America’s population, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, providing equal access to all is not only the right thing to do, but a necessary thing to do. Don’t wait until you need these accessible services. If your library needs assistance, encourage them to Springboard for more information.

Shelley

 

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

Ludwig Guttmann

Did you know that the Paralympics was started in 1948 by a British physician, Ludwig Guttmann? His reasoning was to recognize the value of athletic training and competition for Britain’s injured World War II veterans. After all these years, how disappointing that no major U.S. network is broadcasting this amazing and important event, especially when you consider that other countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada and China will be showing such coverage.

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

ADA Blog #127

Medical Exams Under the ADA

Employers must comply with certain rules regarding medical exams of applicants and employees. If an employer violates these rules, it can constitute employment discrimination. The ADA states that employers can’t ask applicants to take a medical exam before a conditional job offer is made & everyone in that class of jobs must also take the exam. Similarly, existing employees can’t be asked to take a medical exam unless it’s job-related & consistent with business necessity. The EEOC Guidance states that an inquiry or medical examination may be job-related and consistent with business necessity when an employer has a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that: (1) an employee's ability to perform essential job functions will be impaired by a medical condition; or (2) an employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition.

But, what is considered a medical exam? We know that drug testing is not considered medical and employees can be subjected to drug testing at any time. What about employer-ordered counseling? Is psychological counseling a “medical examination” under the ADA?

When an EMT, employed since 2003 without serious problems, began showing signs of distress at work, leading coworkers to report concerns about her well-being to her supervisor, the supervisor met with the employee and ordered her to attend psychological counseling. The employee refused.

The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee), concluded by a split vote, that the required counseling was a medical examination.

EEOC provides a seven-factor test in its guidance regarding what constitutes a medical exam for ADA purposes. These factors are:

  1. whether the test is administered by a health care professional;
  2. whether the test is interpreted by a health care professional;
  3. whether the test is designed to reveal an impairment or physical or mental health;
  4. whether the test is invasive;
  5. whether the test measures an employee’s performance of a task or measures his/her physiological responses to performing the task;
  6. whether the test normally is given in a medical setting; and
  7. whether medical equipment is used.

Not all seven factors must be met, however; in certain cases even one factor may be sufficient to determine that a test amounts to a medical examination.

However the case was remanded (sent back) to the District Court to determine if the examination was “job related” and consistent with “business necessity,” noting that the employer may still win the case.

This case serves as a reminder & caution to employers to understand & recognize that even psychological counseling may need to be job-related and justified by a business necessity. The fact that required counseling is to be performed by a psychologist or other professional who is not a doctor does not necessarily remove it from the legal requirements that apply to “medical examinations” under the ADA. When dealing with employee behavioral issues best practices indicate that:

  • It’s advisable to treat unusual or inappropriate behavior as a conduct issue first, not a medical issue.
  • It’s also advisable to document all actions taken to assist an employee and make it very clear what the purpose of the direction the employer is giving the employee.

If you’re not sure about employer rules regarding medical exams, especially as the rules related to different stages of employment, contact Springboard for assistance.

Shelley

 

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

 

Paralympic Competitor Classification

I thought my readers would like to know that when it comes to the #Paralympics, classification of the competitors go beyond male or female to include disability such as hearing impairment, visual impairment, cerebral palsy, paraplegic and amputee. Then, within each #disability classification, there is further definition such as single amputees and double amputees. Athletes who use wheelchairs are even further classified by where their spine was broken.

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.

Communication via Technology

Like me, many of you spend an insurmountable amount of hours on airplanes so you know the drill for take-off and landing, power down your cell phones, pda’s and other electronics, buckle up, seatbacks in their upright position and stowage of your carry-on items. Even with all those rules, the one thing you are allowed to do without restriction is talk with other #travelers or maybe not.

If your sole means of #communication was via #technology, such as an #iPad, you would also be restricted from talking on takeoff and landing. At least this is what happened to a 17 year old girl with Autism who was traveling on an #American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Toronto accompanied by her aide and whose only means of communication is via her iPad. Although the aide explained that this was the girl’s communication device, she was told that it was #airline policy and that she had never heard of such a need before. Although the plane’s captain finally intervened to allow the device to remain out, it had to be placed in front of the girl’s seat where it was out of her reach, meaning no access to communication.

The airline has upheld the in-flight decision stating that it was in full compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (#DOT) regulations on #accommodations for customers with #disabilities. I blogged the other day about the dilemma employers are facing with requests for #assistive technology that now has multiple applications on one device from fun to function. This story is really just another component of that. If exceptions can be made for the use of electronics such as hearing aids or pacemakers, shouldn’t someone consider making such exceptions for assistive and communication devices? So what do you think the #FAA should do about this?

Nadine

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.





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