Pacific Update, Winter 2013

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Federal Updates

Current News from the U.S. Access Board

Access Board To Hold Meetings in Berkeley in May

On May 9, 2013 from 1:30 pm until 6:30 pm, the Access Board will hold a hearing, a panel discussion, and a reception. The hearing will focus on an upcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on accessibility guidelines for ferries, cruise ships, excursion boats, and other passenger vessels. A panel discussion entitled, "Architecture and Urban Planning for the 21st Century: How Can We Foster Accessibility?" will occur after the hearing. Members of the public may ask questions and make comments. The public also is invited to attend the reception at 5:30 pm.

Location:
Ed Roberts Campus (at the Ashby BART Station)
3075 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703

Current News From the U.S. Department of Justice

Law School Admission Council Suit Becomes National Class Action

In October of 2012, a federal judge issued an order allowing the U.S. Justice Department to intervene in a disability discrimination lawsuit against the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The department’s intervention expands the case from a statewide class action limited to California residents to a nationwide pattern or practice lawsuit. law book and gavel

The lawsuit, California Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. LSAC Inc. et al., charges LSAC with widespread and systemic deficiencies in the way it processes requests by people with disabilities for testing accommodations for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). As a result, the lawsuit alleges, LSAC fails to provide testing accommodations where needed to best ensure that those test takers can demonstrate their aptitude and achievement level rather than their disability.

To view additional details about the this class action, visit:
http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/October/12-crt-1261.html

DOJ Extended Compliance Date for Access to Existing Swimming Pools Arrives

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) compliance date for the application of the 2010 ADA Standards for woman on pool lift being lowered into an outdoor swimming pool Accessible Design to existing public and private pools, wading pools and spas was January 31, 2013.

The updated guidance documents are available online at:
http://www.ada.gov/pools_2010.htm.

For more information on the compliance deadline extension, visit:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-21/html/2012-12365.htm.

For ADA training and technical assistance:

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

Current News From the U.S. Department of Education

Department of Education Issues Section 504 Guidance on Sports Participation

To ensure that students with disabilities consistently have opportunities to participate in extracurricular athletics equal to those of other students, the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) recommended that the United States Department of Education clarify and communicate schools’ responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding the provision of extracurricular athletics in all schools that receive Federal financial assistance. The guidance details the specific Section 504 regulations that require students with disabilities to have an equal opportunity for participation in nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities, and discusses the provision of separate or different athletic opportunities. It also cautions school personnel against making decisions based on presumptions and stereotypes. While the guidance is focused on the elementary and secondary school context, the Department noted that students with disabilities at the postsecondary level must also be provided an equal opportunity to participate in athletics, including intercollegiate, club, and intramural athletics.

To view the Department of Education guidance, visit:
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201301-504.pdf

Current News From the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Settles Case Regarding Termination After Return from Medical Leave

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has settled a disability discrimination lawsuit against Gannett Company, Inc. and Gannett Media Technologies, Inc. charging the companies with firing an employee because she had bipolar disorder. According to the EEOC's suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in Phoenix, Gannett hired Robin Parker-Garcia in its Tempe, Ariz., facility as an application support analyst.

After Parker-Garcia returned from a medical leave of absence because of her bipolar condition, the Gannett companies unlawfully discharged her, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The suit further charged that during her employment, Parker-Garcia exceeded expectations and was up for a promotion before she went on the medical leave.

wall calendarIn settling the lawsuit, Gannett agreed to pay Ms. Parker-Garcia $49,900 as compensatory damages and back pay. The consent decree also requires the companies to provide appropriate training about disability discrimination to all of their human resources, supervisory, and managerial employees in three states. Gannett is further required to review and modify its policies to comply with the ADA.

To view additional details about the settlement, visit :
http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/1-24-13.cfm

For ADA training and technical assistance:

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

EEOC Settles Disability Discharge Suit Against Scooter Store

electric scooterThe U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has settled a disability discrimination lawsuit against The Scooter Store, a nationwide, Texas-based retailer, the agency announced. The terms of the settlement require The Scooter Store to pay money damages to a disabled former employee and to make changes designed to prevent discrimination and retaliation. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the EEOC alleged that The Scooter Store discriminated against James Sherman, a mobility manager, by failing to grant his request for a reasonable accommodation. Sherman has psoriatic arthritis and needed a temporary leave of absence from work. The EEOC claimed that the Scooter Store denied Mr. Sherman's request and fired him, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

By the terms of the five-year consent decree settling the suit, The Scooter Store agreed to pay $99,000 to Mr. Sherman. Further, The Scooter Store agreed to comply with the requirements of the ADA, modify its leave policy, and undergo monitoring and training on the ADA.

Further information about the settlement is available at:
http://www1.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-27-12.cfm

Current News From the Federal Communications Commission

FCC Releases Guide & Video - "What You Need to Know About Text-to-911"

According to a new guide and video from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), text-to-911 – the ability to send a text message to 911 from your mobile phone or handheld device – is generally not available today. It will become increasingly available during 2013, however. text telephone This will greatly increase accessibility of the 911 system for individuals with hearing disabilities who have mobile devices.

Three Facts You Need to Know Now:

  • In an emergency, always make a voice call to 911 if possible.
  • In most cases, you cannot today reach 911 by sending a text message.
  • In the future, you may be able to send text messages to 911 – but you should still make a voice call if you can.

The guide and video can be found online at:
http://www.fcc.gov/text-to-911

For ADA training and technical assistance:

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

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