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Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL)

The Global Disability Rights Library project recently announced a call for organizations to apply to receive a free digital Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL). Applications are open to disabled people’s organizations, universities, and agencies in developing countries. Sixty organizations will receive the digital library to empower them to disseminate valuable disability rights knowledge and toolkits to their communities.

The goal of the GDRL project is to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in developing countries. The project uses an innovative off-line digital storage technology to deliver digital resources to people beyond the reach of the internet. The electronic library will be stored in a hard drive, called an “eGranary unit” that also contains an interface emulating the look and functionality of the web but without requiring actual internet connectivity. Users will include disabled people’s organizations (DPOs), decision makers, government agencies, individual advocates, and others who cannot easily download information from the web. Read more about the GDRL project at:

http://www.usicd.org/index.cfm/global-disability-rights-library

Questions about the application process or eligibility criteria should be directed to gdrl@usicd.org. Applicants who cannot use email also may reach us by post mail at:

Andrea Shettle, MSW, MA
Program Manager, Global Disability Rights Library
United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD)
1012-14th Street, NW, Suite 105
Washington, DC 20005
United States of America

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.

Europe: The Annual Access City Award

The new Annual Access City Award is part of EU’s 2010-2020 strategy to improve access for people with disabilities.  The very first city to be bestowed with this honor is Avila, Spain.  The city has improved accessibility to public buildings, tourist attractions and jobs and has provided incentives to the private sector to make similar moves.  Avila, along with Barcelona, Spain; Cologne, Germany and Turku, Finland were finalists for the award, chosen among the 66 European cities that entered the competition.  The award was launched to increase awareness of the difficulties that people with disabilities encounter in urban areas and to celebrate those cities that have removed some of the barriers to their mobility.

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 #23

The President’s 2012 Budget provides support for people with disabilities in its effort to rebuild our economy by supporting innovation, education and job creation for people with disabilities. Highlights include:

  • Increasing Funding for the Education of Children with Disabilities;
  • Encouraging Workforce Innovation;
  • Supporting Workers with Disabilities to build the capacity of OneStop Career Centers to serve individuals with disabilities;
  • Expanding Disability Research;
  • Strengthening Independent Living
  • Strengthening Anti-Discrimination Enforcement;
  • Providing Housing for Persons with Disabilities;
  • Helping Families Care for Aging and Relatives with Disabilities;
  • Expanding Passenger Rail Options that would provide many citizens with disabilities access to an additional, convenient transportation option; and,
  • Increasing the EEOC’s budget by 5% over the 2010 enacted level, to enforce Federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee. This investment will allow EEOC to add additional staff to reduce the agency’s backlog of private-sector discrimination charges.

 

People with disabilities continue to increase in the workplace, workforce and marketplace. This increase cannot be ignored. Even in tough budget times, the substantial investments that have been made by the Administration to strengthen civil rights enforcement against racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, disability, religious, and gender discrimination continue in the 2012 Budget.

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.

The European Union

People who have disabilities across the European Union have won important new rights when it comes to public bus transportation.  They will now have accessible travel information made available before and during a bus ride, mandatory disability awareness training for all drivers and a right to compensation for damaged wheelchairs or other assistive equipment. In addition, information about passenger rights will become available in terminals and online. Unfortunately, this new regulation will not come into force until 2013.

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.

Disability: India

Six to seven percent of the population in India is disabled but since there is still a social stigma attached to disability, many people still choose to conceal.  This is especially true when it comes to the country’s census.  In 2001, disability questions were added to the census questionnaire but the response was not great so this year, the census, which was released in February, has detailed questions on disability. Also, the disability part has been moved up in the order of questions - to the ninth position.  It will be interesting to see if these changes yield better results in terms of response.

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.

Obesity and the ADAAA

Does obesity constitute protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA)?  It does now.  According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), basic obesity, without any other underlying condition, sufficiently impacts the life activities of bending, walking, digestion, cell growth, etc., to qualify as a disability or perceived disability.

It would be great to hear your thoughts.

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.

Diabetes and Travel

Do you have employees who wear insulin pumps for their diabetes and travel for business?  If so, your corporate travel department may want to provide the following guidance regarding wearing the pumps through security. 

According to Minimed, people wearing insulin pumps should not go through the new body scanners at airports as they can interfere with the pump motors. They suggested either to do the pat down, or to remove the pump and hand it to a known person (if and when possible), not a TSA representative. They also warned that the pumps should not be placed on the conveyor belt. Therefore, if someone chooses to remove their pump (which the TSA cannot require someone to do) it will need to be hand checked or wanded (which requires them to touch it...). The old style metal detector/archways are fine and do not interfere with the pump.

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. 


United Airlines

According to the U.S. EEOC, United Airlines agreed to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that the company violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) when it refused to allow employees with disabilities to work reduced hourly schedules as a reasonable accommodation. As part of a three-year consent decree, the airline will pay $600,000 to a group of reservation agents with disabilities and it will end its blanket policy against reduced hourly schedules and provide training to staffers who administer United's reasonable accommodation process.

Prior to 2003, United had permitted reservations sales and service representatives to work reduced hourly schedules as an ADA accommodation. When United abolished this policy, they started requiring all reservation sales and service representatives who could not work their full schedules to either retire or go out on extended leave, and then terminated them when their leave ran out. Because ADA accommodations are based on individual circumstance and need, blanket policies such as these, automatically violate the ADA. 

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 #22

Do you know what your company would do?

Our ability to orally communicate is unique to us as human beings. It's so important that the ability to do so is considered among one of our basic civil rights.  Consequently, the ADA requires us to "provide effective communication" during our interactions in the workplace, workspace & marketplace. Sometimes this might involve providing "auxiliary aids." This means that written materials, such as job applications, be offered in alternate formats (braille, large print, or accessible electronic formats such as email or HTML) for people with visual impairments, or providing a sign language interpreter during training sessions for people with hearing impairments.

To resolve an ADA complaint filed by an individual who is deaf, the Justice Department, under a comprehensive settlement agreement, is requiring, among other things, that H&R Block furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreter services, when necessary, in its tax preparation services, programs and courses. When services such as tax preparation involve important, lengthy or complex oral communications with customers, businesses are generally required to provide qualified sign language interpreters and other auxiliary aids, free of charge, to individuals who are deaf, are hard of hearing or have speech disabilities. Other auxiliary aids may include the use of relay services for telephone communication, exchanging notes for brief and uncomplicated communications, providing assistive listening systems and receivers in classes for attendees who are hard of hearing, and providing captioned videos.

The appropriate auxiliary aid to be provided depends on a variety of factors including the nature, length and importance of the communication; the communication skills and knowledge of the individual; and the individual’s stated need for a particular type of auxiliary aid. 

It's important that you have policies and procedures in place when an individual needs such an accommodation so that you can ensure equal access to the services and programs you offer.

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.

Hyatt Regency, Kinabalu

If you are traveling to Malaysia, you may want to visit the Hyatt Regency, Kinabalu.  They offered a program to seven students who are hearing-impaired to spend their education program requirement for four-months of vocational training that provides these students with practical, hands-on training in the pastry kitchen and the housekeeping department at the hotel.  These trainees are given the same duties and responsibilities as current employees and must meet the same expectations in job performance. Information about basic sign language is provided to all employees in an effort to encourage employees to learn and use sign-language to communicate with these students. There is also a sign-language interpreter on-hand at scheduled trainee meetings to ensure that the trainees fully understand what is being discussed.

Seven students today; perhaps seventy tomorrow?

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.

Rights of People With Disabilities in New Zealand

A recent report addressing the rights of people with disabilities in New Zealand shows the biggest barrier to many living a full and inclusive life is society’s attitudes and behaviors towards them. The single biggest issue for those who were interviewed, were obstacles that prevented them from effectively participating in society (social isolation), followed by negative experiences with regard to health and a lack of employment opportunities, even for those individuals who are disabled and well-educated.  Not dissimilar from what the obstacles seen in the U.S. and most other countries.

The report contains a number of recommendations including the development of an ongoing disability awareness campaign, making disability training part of standard professional development training for government departments and ensuring that key performance indicators be created and monitored for all public services.   Interestingly enough, when you look at these recommendations, they could be the result of a study from almost any country.  In essence, they are initiatives that have been found to be global best practices.

Want to learn more about these best practices, contact Springboard at 973-813-7260 x102 and be on your way.

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 #21

Airline travel has certainly been challenging during the past several weeks with snow in every state except Florida. I'm sure you keep your cell phone/laptop charged in order to make all those last minute flight changes due to cancelled flights or flights rescheduled at inconvenient times. Imagine if you were blind and couldn't "read" the airline's website in order to make those changes? A tedious task at best.

I just learned that The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation's leading advocate for Internet access by blind Americans, announced an agreement with Travelocity, one of the largest and most popular online travel agencies, to make travelocity.com more accessible to the blind.  Under the agreement, Travelocity will make accessible by July 1, 2011, its home page and each initial Web page used for searching Flights, Hotels, Vacation Packages, Last Minute Packages, Cars and Rail, Cruises, and Activities, with the accessibility of the rest of the pages needed to complete a booking to follow soon after.  Travelocity has committed to make its entire Web site fully accessible to blind people by March 30, 2012.

Making websites accessible for people with disabilities makes those websites easier to navigate for everyone. They are typically easier and faster to use. Hope you get where you need to go safely and on time!

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.

Ghana’s Approval

Ghana’s government has given approval for the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Persons With Disability (PWD) to finally pave the way for the implementation of the National Disability Act, 2006.  The ratification of the Convention will also allow its contents to be incorporated into the draft Legislative Instrument which aims to mainstream disability issues into national development such as enforcement of the law which stipulates that persons with disabilities have access to public places.”  Reinforcing this even further, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has decided to offer a second degree course in Disability Studies… another step forward in global recognition and support of the disability community.

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 #20

Most of us enjoy stadium-style seating because our view is not blocked by people sitting in front of us. However, people who use wheelchairs have to sit in the front or back of a venue if they can't transfer to the seat of choice.  No one wants those seats! I'm sure you've arrived at a sold out movie late and watched it from a front row. You sink back in your chair and rest your neck against the back of the chair. You squirm during the entire two hours trying to get comfortable. Imagine if you couldn't move and could only raise your eyes to see the screen?

The DOJ has spoken out and reached an agreement with AMC Entertainment Inc. to settle a lawsuit filed in 1999 under the ADA. The suit claimed that the design of stadium-style movie theaters did not provide persons who use wheelchairs with the same lines of sight as other moviegoers. This agreement will improve the movie-going experience for people who use wheelchairs and their companions at AMC stadium-style theaters nationwide. All AMC stadium-style theaters that are opened after the settlement will be made with accessible seating.  AMC also will move wheelchair seating from the front row to locations further back from the screen, and make sure that movie patrons who use wheelchairs enjoy an unobstructed view of the screen.  AMC is the second largest movie theater chain in the country with about 5,300 screens. 

Shelley Kaplan
Manager, ADA Hotline & Corporate Training 

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.

“How do you find these people?”

While attending a business function, I engaged two executives in a conversation about hiring people with disabilities.  The first one said, “How do you find these people?”  The second one said, “If you were to hire someone with a disability, how do you know what to pay them?”  I swear; you just can’t make this stuff up!

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.

Article in Rehabilitation Nursing

According to the authors of an article in the November/December 2010 issue of Rehabilitation Nursing, published by the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN), for people with disabilities, visiting the virtual world Second Life® on the Internet is more than just entertainment; it’s a way to improve their quality of life by experiencing life beyond the limitations of their disabilities.

“In virtual worlds, computer-simulated environments host avatars, which are digital representations of a specific person,” the authors wrote. “The avatar can manipulate objects and participate in day-to-day activities that most people take for granted, such as walking, dancing, and communicating. Second Life (SL) provides benefits to people with disabilities such as information, socialization, and community membership. SL communities, groups, and activities help increase feelings of self-worth and empowerment.” For instance, people with disabilities who are unable to work in the real world may be able to find work or volunteer in SL.

Virtual worlds like SL have 3-dimensional layouts in which multiple users can interact and communicate with one another. SL is a free, online, computer-simulated environment where millions of real people are represented by avatars. A person may create an avatar that is similar in appearance and personality to him or herself or one that is entirely different. People with disabilities can choose whether to have their avatars exhibit their disabilities. Avatars can walk, fly, or teleport – instantly appear in another location on command – to thousands of locations and communicate with other real people from around the world through instant messaging or voice conversations.

Springboard would like to hear from anyone who has a disability who uses Second Life so that we can better understand its impact in all aspects of life.


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 #19

On my flight home from a conference, I sat next to a person wearing a strong perfume. Within minutes, I was sneezing, coughing and wheezing.  By the end of the flight, I was convinced this was not allergy-related, but the flu. Thankfully, the symptoms disappeared after leaving the plane.

Lots of people experience negative effects from scented products, ranging from a headache to flu-like symptoms. In a confined work space, such reactions can have a devastating effect on job performance. But, is a no-fragrance policy reasonable? If you’re not sure what your company can do about this or related policies, subscribing to Springboard’s ADA hotline can assist you. The more you know, the easier it will be to turn this challenge into an opportunity that benefits everyone.

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.

India’s New Campaign

In India, like in many countries, disability carries a social stigma. But now a new campaign, ‘Badhate Kadam’, organized by the National Trust, an autonomous body under the social justice and empowerment ministry, hopes to fight this stigma and urges people to answer a question on disability in the 2011 census. The census question asks, if a member of one’s family has any problem in seeing, hearing, speech, movement, has mental retardation, mental illness or multiple disability?

The campaign, which includes posters translated into the many regional languages and even a theme song, will be rolled out in eight fairs over a two week period.  There will be a team of six volunteers, including a disabled person, who will organize the fairs which will include discussions, cultural programs and other related events.  The campaign will also aim to raise awareness on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

According to NGO estimates, there are approximately 60 million people who have a disability, in India. The benefit of this campaign should be tremendous.

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 #18

While I was reading about DOJ’s first-of-its-kind agreement with Hilton Worldwide Inc. that will make accessibility changes to 900 hotels nationwide, I began to wonder—when planning your employee retreats, do you consider whether or not the hotel you select meets the needs of your employees who may have disabilities that you’re not aware of? If you’re not sure what the ADA requires employers to do in such situations, the ADA hotline can assist you. The more you know, the easier it will be to turn this challenge into an opportunity that benefits everyone.

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.

Accessibility is not Inclusion

In the January 2011 issue of New Mobility Magazine, Scott Rains wrote an article, “Accessibility is not Inclusion”.  In the article he compares and contrasts the difference between the two.  Basically, he says that Accessibility is passive, looks backward, looks at stuff and space and is about Doing FOR – a 20th century task.  He states that Inclusion, on the other hand, is Active, looks forward, looks at human lives, is about Doing WITH  - a 21st century task.  You can meet the author and hear about his amazing work by attending the 2011 Disability Matters Awards Banquet & Conference in San Jose, CA on April 6-7.  Scott is one of our esteemed presenters.

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.

Delta Air Lines fined by U.S. Federal government

To all my Delta frequent flier friends I thought you would want to know that the U.S. Federal government is fining Delta Air Lines $2 million for failing to meet regulations protecting passengers with disabilities.  The penalty is the largest ever brought by the Department of Transportation against a single airline in a consumer protection case. According to the government investigation, Delta failed to help passengers needing assistance getting on and off the airplane, and the carrier frequently did not respond to customers' complaints on the matter. Airlines are required to respond within 30 days to written complaints about their treatment of disabled passengers.

Of the $2 million fine, Delta may use $1,250,000 for investments improving its services for passengers with disabilities beyond what is required by law. Those measures can include an automated wheelchair tracking system, customer service surveys and enhancements to the company website.  The remaining $750,000 is due within 30 days.

Hong Kong has New Banknotes

If you know of someone who is blind and who is planning on traveling to or working in Hong Kong, great news!  Hong Kong has just released new banknotes (paper dollars) that feature Braille at the bottom left corner on the front side that correspond with each note’s value. The new series consists of five denominations from $20 - $1000 HK dollars.  A new banknote measuring template to differentiate the denominations by measuring the banknote will also be made available through organizations serving people with visual impairments.

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.

Another SOLD OUT Disability Matters Event!

It looks like Disability Matters 2011 be will another DM SOLD OUT event!  We are nearing capacity so please get your ticket orders in quickly to secure your seat.  ONLY 30 Seats remain.  Call Jill today, 973-813-7260 x106.

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.

National Science Foundation recently gave $1.5 million

The National Science Foundation recently gave $1.5 million to The University of Georgia and Georgia Institute of Technology to help raise the number of students with disabilities getting degrees in science, technology, engineering and math. The collaborative program uses specially designed virtual classrooms inside Second Life where students can interact with mentors from around the world without leaving home. 

Just another positive step for college students who have disabilities and quite frankly, for the corporations who want to hire them.

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.

New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission: Sued

With so many of Springboard’s clients either located in or often traveling to New York City, I thought folks would want to know that United Spinal Association has sued New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission for discriminating against individuals who use wheelchairs by contracting with and licensing “group ride” van services that provide public transportation only for able bodied passengers. 

Recent elimination of bus routes by the MTA prompted the TLC, an agency of the City of New York, to contract with and license private van companies to operate “group ride” services for the public along the former bus routes.

“The TLC’s failure to require that these ‘group ride’ vans provide transportation for wheelchair users is symptomatic of a larger problem that continues to be ignored by New York City agencies at the expense of the city’s tax-payers; the increase in on-going, cost prohibitive para-transit services in lieu of providing basic transportation services that meet ADA requirements,” said Paul Tobin, President and CEO of United Spinal Association.

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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