Pacific Update, Summer 2012

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EEOC Issues Guidance on Conduct and Performance of Employees

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted recent guidance regarding the ADA on conduct and performance of employees. The guidance from the EEOC addresses what steps are appropriate for employers to take where a disability is causing - or seems to be causing - a performance or conduct problem, when a request for accommodation should be made, and other crucial issues.

Guidance on Conduct and Performance of Employees

CURRENT NEWS FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

October Is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"

NDEAM's roots go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month." Upon its establishment in 2001, ODEP assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.

Although led by ODEP, NDEAM's true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Employers, schools and organizations of all sizes and in all communities are encouraged to participate in NDEAM, and ODEP offers several resources to help them do so. Activities range from simple, such as putting up a poster, to comprehensive, such as implementing a disability education program. Regardless, all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive America, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities every day of every month.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Cash Awards Available for Best Disability Employment App

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy recently announced the launch of its first disability-related application challenge, which is designed to generate innovative tools that will improve employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities.

For ADA training and technical assistance:

1-800-949-4232 (Voice/TTY), email

Twenty two years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and 39 years after the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, people with disabilities continue to be employed at much lower levels than those without disabilities. The goal of the app challenge is to promote recruitment resources for employers, develop job training and skill-building tools for job seekers, facilitate employment-related transportation options and expand information communication technology accessibility.

I am thrilled to announce the Labor Department's first disability employment app challenge. Using today's technology, we hope to inspire creative and innovative solutions to the pressing employment-related problems faced by people with disabilities.

said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy.

Submissions should provide access to important data and resources; attract users with different skill sets and language preferences; be accessible (that is, compatible and interoperable with assistive technology commonly used by individuals with disabilities, such as screen reading and speech recognition software); and consider partnerships that will ensure sustainability of the app. In addition, they should be targeted toward a variety of audiences such as students, teachers, employers, career counselors and workforce professionals, as well as individuals with disabilities working or seeking work at all levels in a variety of salaried and hourly jobs.

Awards with cash prizes "totaling $10,000" will be given to the top three submissions, including the grand prize Innovation Award, the second prize People's Choice Award, and the third prize Above and Beyond Accessibility Award. The winners will be featured prominently on ODEP's website, http://www.dol.gov/odep/, as well as at http://disability.gov and through other public outreach vehicles.

Contestants must register for the contest on the Challenge.gov website by creating an account at http://challenge.gov/users/login. Each registrant will receive a confirmation email and may then enter a submission via the "Post a Submission" tab at http://disability.challenge.gov. Submissions must be entered between May 23 at 12 a.m. EDT and Aug. 23 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Late entries will not be eligible for prizes.

Awards for Mobile Apps to Increase Employment of People with Disabilities

CURRENT NEWS FROM THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

Federal Communications Commission's Video Description Rules Go Into Effect

The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rules requiring television stations to offer audio-narrated descriptions of their shows went into effect on July 1, 2012.

The narrations, which describe important visual elements and are inserted into pauses in the show's soundtrack, are meant to help the blind and visually impaired enjoy the programming.

The FCC first adopted rules requiring television stations to offer the video descriptions in 2000. But a federal appeals court struck down the rules, concluding that the FCC had overstepped its authority. Congress passed the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act in 2010 to explicitly give the FCC the authority to re-adopt the regulations.

The new rules cover the four national networks in the top 25 markets and cable and satellite providers with more than 50,000 subscribers. The video providers are required to offer 50 hours of video-description per calendar quarter, which works out to about four hours per week. Once a program is aired with the descriptions, re-runs of the program must also include the descriptions.

FCC's Video Description Rules Go Into Effect

CURRENT NEWS FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Passenger Rail Accessibility

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) amended its ADA regulations regarding railroads. The DOT regulations now require intercity, commuter and high-speed passenger railroads to ensure, at new and significantly renovated station platforms, that passengers with disabilities can get on and off any accessible car of the train.

Passenger Rail Regulations

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