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Office of Disability Employment Newsletter (September 27, 2013)

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Assistant Secretary Martinez Hosts Employment First Education Series

In an effort to promote federal support for a National Employment First Strategic Policy Framework, Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez spearheaded an Employment First Policy Education Series September 18-20 in Washington, D.C. Employment First is a framework for systems change centered on the premise that all citizens, including individuals with the most significant disabilities, are capable of full participation in integrated employment and community life.

October Is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) announces 31 Things You Can Do in your workplace and your community during the month of October. Ideas range from putting up an NDEAM poster, to reaching out to local media, to educating employees about disability employment issues. ODEP encourages everyone to use these ideas to stimulate new ones that recognize disability employment throughout the year!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Posters Appear in Washington, DC Metro Stations

The 2013 NDEAM posters are beginning to pop up at various Metro stations throughout the Washington, DC area. Once fully posted they will appear at the Benning Road, Capitol Heights, Cheverly, Cleveland Park, and Shaw-Howard U stations. If you spy one, send us a photo at ODEP@dol.gov!

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $9.7 Million in Continued Funding for Office of Disability Employment Policy Initiatives

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has awarded a total of $9,721,837 in continued funding for organizations managing consortia that develop models, provide technical assistance and share best practices to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The initiatives include Add Us In; the Job Accommodation Network (JAN); the National Technical Assistance, Policy, and Research Center for Employers on Employment of People with Disabilities; the National Technical Assistance and Demonstration Center on Preparing Youth with Disabilities for Employment; the National Center on Leadership for Employment and Advancement of Citizens with Disabilities (LEAD Center); and the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology Center (PEAT).

Because We Are EQUAL to the Task: Press Release from the Office of Disability Employment Policy

Friday, September 27th, 2013

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate. Held annually in October, NDEAM raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities throughout our nation’s history.

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 what it is today.

NDEAM is led at the national level by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, and this year’s theme is “Because We Are EQUAL to the Task.” But the true spirit of NDEAM lies in the many creative events and activities that take place at the grassroots level across the nation each year. There is something everyone can do — including businesses both large and small.

For inspiration, see the “31 days of NDEAM” slideshow, which includes several ideas for how businesses can support NDEAM. Activities range from simple, such as putting up a poster, to more involved, such as conducting disability awareness training for employees. Regardless, all play an important role in educating that people with disabilities are EQUAL to the task — every day of every month.

For additional news and resources, sign up for ODEP’s e-mail updates.

Having trouble viewing this e-mail?
Visit www.dol.gov/odep/BusinessSense/2013/bsense0913.htm.

Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor
1-866-ODEP-DOL (633-7365) | TTY | www.dol.gov/odep/

New OFCCP Rules Published Today, Effective March 24, 2014: Protected Veterans and Qualified Workers with Disabilities

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Two new rules designed to improve employment opportunities for protected veterans and qualified workers with disabilities were published in the Federal Register today. To read and learn more about these new rules, please visit: www.dol.gov/ofccp/VEVRAARule and www.dol.gov/ofccp/503Rule.

Both rules become effective on Monday, March 24, 2014. Federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to comply with most of the requirements of the new rules by this date. However, the rules give contractors additional time to comply with requirements in subpart C, which relates to affirmative action programs (AAPs). Contractors with AAPs in place on March 24 may maintain them until the end of their current AAP year, allowing them to delay compliance with the affirmative action requirements of the new rules until the start of their next AAP year.

Companies seeking additional information or compliance assistance should call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 1-800-397-6251, send an e-mail to OFCCP-Public@dol.gov or visit OFCCP’s web site at: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

Join DOL and EEOC for a Twitter Chat to Mark 40th Anniversary of Rehab Act on September 25, 2013

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

The Rehabilitation Act was codified on Sept. 26, 1973, creating the largest and most comprehensive training and vocational program for people with disabilities, and prohibiting discrimination against qualified workers with disabilities in programs supported by federal tax dollars. Join the department (@USDOL) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (@EEOC_OFO) for a Twitter Chat this Wednesday, Sept. 25, from 1-2 p.m. EDT to commemorate the act’s 40th anniversary. You’ll have a chance to ask policy experts questions about the Rehabilitation Act and discuss its impact on you and your colleagues.
Tweet using the hashtag #RehabAct to join the discussion between 1 and 2 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, or to submit your questions in advance. You can also submit questions by emailing them to ODEP@dol.gov.

We look forward to tweeting with you!

The following are some simple tips for making tweets accessible.

1. Make sure your profile page includes alternative contact options, like an accessible “contact us” form or toll-free phone number, or an email link to somebody who can assist people with questions.
2. Let screen reader users know what to expect by including a short prefix before tweets that have photos [PIC], videos [VIDEO] or audio [AUDIO].
3. Link back to pages with full captions or transcripts of the photo, video or audio.
4. To increase readability, place #hashtags or @mentions at the end of the tweet.
5. Avoid using unfamiliar or hard-to-pronounce acronyms when possible. If space allows, spell them out.
6. For multi-word hashtags, capitalize the first letters of each section of a compound word (#LikeThisExample).
7. If possible, test your tweet with assistive technology before posting it.

More guidance on social media accessibility is available at www.HowTo.gov.

Twitter is designed to reach a broad audience. Twitter in its native form, however, may not be fully accessible for everyone. If you do not already have a preferred Twitter client meeting your accessibility needs, one of the following free Twitter clients/platforms may be able assist:

• Android: Plume for Twitter
• iOS: Official Twitter App
• My Amaze multiple browser accessibility plug-in by Deque
• TwInbox for Outlook

Creating and Supporting Diversity in Higher Education

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

News release from the U.S. Department of Justice:

Please join the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice for a panel discussion, “Creating and Supporting Diversity in Higher Education,” on September 27, 2013 from 9:30-11:00am ET at the U.S. Department of Justice. Higher education leaders will join Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Education, and Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Justice, to discuss the importance of creating and supporting diversity on college campuses and the parameters for using in race in admissions as stated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Martha Kanter, Under Secretary of Education, will deliver opening remarks, and Ada Meloy, General Counsel for the American Council on Education, will moderate the discussion. The event will coincide with the release of a document, “Questions and Answers About Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin,” developed jointly by the Departments.

Date & Time: September 27, 2013, 9:30am-11:00am ET

Location:
U.S. Department of Justice, Room 7411
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Please use the entrance at the corner of 10th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW.

RSVP: Please RSVP to Erica Fernandez at erica.fernandez@ed.gov with your name, affiliation, and email address by 4:00pm on Wednesday, September 25.

If you require an accommodation to attend this event, please contact Erica Fernandez at erica.fernandez@ed.gov.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (September 20, 2013)

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Assistant Secretary Martinez Posts Blog on “The Graying Effect”

In her blog “Redefining the Inclusive Workplace: The Graying Effect,” Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, discusses the aging of the workforce and the ways that it is changing the perception of disability in the workplace. “A critical paradigm shift is underway,” says Martinez. “The conversation about disability and employment is expanding, and older workers are an important part of the discussion.”

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Rule on Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay for Direct Care Workers

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced a final rule extending the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime protections to most of the nation’s direct care workers who provide essential home care assistance to elderly people and people with illnesses, injuries, or disabilities. This change, effective January 1, 2015, ensures that nearly two million workers — such as home health aides, personal care aides, and certified nursing assistants — will have the same basic protections already provided to most U.S. workers. It will help ensure that individuals and families who rely on the assistance of direct care workers have access to consistent and high quality care from a stable and increasingly professional workforce. To help families, other employers, and workers understand the new requirements, the Department has created a new, dedicated web portal with fact sheets, FAQs, interactive web tools, and other materials, and will be hosting five public webinars during the month of October.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Department of Labor to Host Twitter Chat to Mark the 40th Anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

On Wednesday, September 25, 1:00-2:00 PM EDT, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (@EEOC_OFO) and the U.S. Department of Labor (@USDOL) will host in a live Twitter Chat in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Rehabilitation Act makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified employee or applicant with a disability in the federal government and in federal contracts and subcontracts. Tweet using the hashtag #RehabAct to join the discussion or to submit your questions in advance. You can also submit questions by emailing them to ODEP@dol.gov.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Department of Labor to Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

On Thursday, September 26, 2013, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will celebrate “The Past, Present, and Future of the Rehabilitation Act” on its 40th anniversary. This event will highlight where disability law started, where it currently stands and where it might be headed. The celebration will take place at EEOC headquarters at 131 M Street NE, Washington, DC (NOMA/Gallaudet Metro stop on the Red Line). The exhibit hall opens at 12:00 PM EDT, and the program is from 1:00-5:00 PM EDT. Speakers include Senator Tom Harkin (invited), Pat Shiu (invited), Judith Heumann, Claudia Gordon, John Wodatch, Jeff Rosen, Robert Silverstein, Ruby Moore and Chai Feldblum. Space is limited. You must RSVP in order to attend this event. Email FederalTrainingandOutreach@eeoc.gov. Include “REHAB ACT EVENT RSVP” in the subject line. Please also include any accommodation requests in your email.

Customized and Self-Employment Services Adopted by the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration

On July 10, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) submitted a Policy Directive to revise its Vocational Rehabilitation Program Case Service Reports for its RSA-911 data to include customized and self-employment services. RSA will implement the revised RSA-911 and instructions for federal fiscal year 2014 and all subsequent fiscal years, beginning on October 1, 2013. Part of this revised reporting data will include services that involve the blend of flexible strategies that result in the provision of individually negotiated and designed services, supports, and job opportunities for an individual and that lead to an employment outcome of customized employment, including self-employment.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (September 13, 2013)

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Employer Assistance and Resource Network to Host October Webinar Series

In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in October, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) will be presenting a free weekly webinar series. The 30-minute webinars start at 2:00 PM EDT each Thursday in October. Scheduled dates and topics include: “Employers Can’t Afford to Ignore Mental Health” (October 3); “Disability Disclosure and Self-identification: Benefits, Barriers and Implementable Solutions” (October 10); “Proactive Compliance Strategies for Federal Contractors” (October 17), and “Home Again and Back to Work: The Employment of Veterans with Disabilities” (October 24).

LEAD Center to Present Webinar on Integrating Employment Outcomes and Services into Managed Care Models — September 25, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT

The LEAD Center will present a webinar “Promoting Leadership — Effective Strategies for Integrating Employment Outcomes and Services into Managed Care Models” on September 25, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT. The training will provide a brief overview on the emergence of managed care as the preferred model for delivering Medicaid-funded long-term supports to individuals with disabilities. The presenters will discuss a variety of strategies for embedding integrated employment as a priority focus in assessment, planning, resource allocation, service delivery and quality management.

Choose Work-SSA to Hold Twitter Chat — September 20, 12:00 PM EDT

Choose Work-SSA, the official Twitter account of the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program, will hold a Twitter chat on September 20 at 12:00 PM EDT, on the topic “In Transition: A Conversation on Youth, Disability and Work.” This interactive and informative social media event will feature several guest participants who will share their personal experience and expertise about making the transition from benefits to employment as a young adult with a disability. Guest participants and the Ticket to Work team will take questions and provide insights to supported employment through the Ticket to Work Program. Follow @chooseworkssa and use hashtag #DEChat to participate.

Department of Veterans Affairs Shows How to “Grow Success: Accountability and Measurement” in Video Series

In the video series “Grow Success: Accountability and Measurement,” the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diversity, Georgia Coffey, and her team highlight policies and practices adopted to promote the employment of people with disabilities to ensure that the goals of the President’s Executive Order 13548 are being met. These practices are identified in the publication “Federal Agency Employment Strategies: A Framework for Disability Inclusion,” a report issued by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. The document outlines best federal practices for recruiting, hiring, advancing, and retaining qualified individuals with disabilities.

The Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel Offers Outreach Presentations on Immigration-Related Unfair Labor Practices

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Justice Department news release dated September 13, 2013:

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions of our nation’s immigration law. Employers must know that while they have the obligation to obey immigration law by hiring only authorized workers, they also must not violate anti-discrimination laws when hiring or firing workers. Specifically, the law prohibits employers from four types of discriminatory acts: First, employers may not refuse to hire and may not terminate workers authorized to work in the United States because of national origin or citizenship status. For example, employers may not refuse to hire a job applicant because of the
applicant’s foreign appearance or accent.

Second, employers may not require job applicants to hold certain citizenship or visa status unless mandated by law or government contract. This means that preferences for U.S. citizens or temporary visa holders are against the law. In fact, any preference for undocumented workers over legal workers also may be a violation of immigration law as well as citizenship status discrimination. Third, employers may not discriminate by demanding more documents than what the law requires from workers to prove identity or eligibility to work in this country. A list of acceptable documents is provided on the back of the Employment Eligibility Verification form (commonly known as Form I-9), which employers must complete for all newly hired workers. Finally, employers may not retaliate against workers who assert their rights under these anti-discrimination laws. Employers who discriminate or retaliate against workers may be required to hire or rehire the worker, pay back wages, or change internal policies to avoid further discrimination.

Employers also may become liable for monetary fines or the workers’ legal fees. To better understand workers’ rights or employers’ responsibilities under these anti-discrimination laws, please visit OSC’s website at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc/. OSC also operates telephone hotlines where OSC’s
attorneys and investigators resolve employers’ questions about properly completing the “I-9″ process, and ensuring that legal workers do not lose their jobs because of a misunderstanding of the law. The number for employers to call is 1-800-255-8155, or 1-800-237-2515 (TDD for hearing impaired). Workers may call 1-800-255-7688, (202) 616-5525 or 1-800-237-2515 (TDD for hearing impaired).

Workers who believe that they were denied jobs or were terminated from jobs because of national origin or citizenship status may file a charge against the employer with OSC. The charges must be filed within 180 days of the alleged act of discrimination. Workers may obtain a charge form from
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc/htm/charge.htm or by calling OSC at (202) 616-5594 or 1-800-255-7688 (toll free). The hearing impaired may call (202) 616-5525 or 1-800-237-2515 (toll free). Workers may file the charge via facsimile at (202) 616-5509, or by mail to: Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices/NYA, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20530. In the event that the
particular allegations fall outside of OSC’s jurisdiction, OSC will refer the charge to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on the worker’s behalf.

One effective way to become familiar with these rights and obligations is to take advantage of OSC’s public education and outreach resources. Each year, OSC conducts hundreds of outreach presentations to workers and employers across the country. To request an OSC speaker for your local chapter or for any
other community organization, please call any of the numbers listed above and ask for OSC’s public affairs specialist. We look forward to working with workers and employers across the country to eliminate citizenship status and national original discrimination.

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Staffing Company to Resolve Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practices

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Justice Department release for July 9, 2013:

The Justice Department announced today that it reached an agreement with Kelly Services Inc., a staffing company based in Troy, Mich., resolving an allegation of discrimination based on citizenship status during the employment eligibility re-verification process at one of its branch locations in Schaumburg, Ill. The investigation was initiated by the department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) based on information obtained from a former employee of the company who had contacted that office.

The department’s investigation concluded that Kelly Services terminated the individual’s employment during the employment eligibility re-verification process when he did not produce a new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)-issued document, even though he had a valid unrestricted Social Security card at the time that was also acceptable to show continued employment eligibility. To resolve the matter, Kelly Services has agreed to compensate the former employee for lost wages in the amount of $1,888.60 and pay a $1,100 civil penalty to the United States. Designated Kelly Services staff will also participate in Justice Department training on employers’ responsibilities under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. For more information about protections against employment discrimination under the immigration laws, call the OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired), call the OSC’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired), sign up for a free webinar at www.justice.gov/about/osc/webinars.php , email osccrt@usdoj.gov or visit the website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc .

OFCCP Director Shiu Announces Twitter Chat Addressing New Rules for Employment of Veterans and Persons with Disabilities

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Dear Friends,

A couple of weeks ago, Vice President Biden announced two new rules that will improve job opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities.

One rule updates the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, or VEVRAA. The other updates Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Both rules add – for the first time – real metrics to the affirmative action obligations that federal contractors and subcontractors have been required to meet for nearly 40 years. By our estimation, if every company subject to these rules were to achieve the goals and benchmarks we’ve laid out, nearly 600,000 qualified workers with disabilities and 200,000 protected veterans would be added to the workforce in just the first year!

This Friday, September 13, I invite you to join the Labor Department (@USDOL) for a Twitter chat to discuss these new rules.

I will be tweeting along with my colleagues Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez from DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and National Programs Director Ruth Samardick from the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS). We are also excited to welcome our friends Mark Perriello, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities (@AAPD_CEO) and Jill Houghton, Executive Director of the US Business Leadership Network (@USBLN).

During this chat, you’ll have the chance to ask these experts questions about what the new rules mean for federal contractors and for millions of American workers.

To join the discussion, tweet using the hashtag #AccessJobs between 2 and 3 p.m. EDT on Friday. You can also submit your questions in advance by using that same hashtag or by sending an e-mail to OFCCP-Public@dol.gov. If you can’t make it to the chat, a full recap will be posted on the DOL blog next week.

I look forward to tweeting with you!

Sincerely,

Pat Shiu
Director