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Archive for May, 2015

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (May 22, 2015)

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

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Stay at Work/Return to Work JAN Webcast Now Archived

The Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN) May 12 webcast on stay-at-work and return-to-work programs and best practices is now available in the JAN archives. In the webcast, JAN consultants Elisabeth Simpson, M.S., and Lisa Mathess, M.S., explore the goals and effectiveness of these programs. They also discuss how, as part of a broader disability management program, stay-at-work and return-to-work initiatives should address the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other disability-related laws. The transcript and PowerPoint presentation are available along with the webcast.

PEAT Celebrates Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), observed the third Thursday of every May, encourages us to take the time to “experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (or lack thereof),” according to the GAAD website, which has a variety of suggestions on ways to participate. In celebration of GAAD, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) has launched an interactive video series of PEAT experts discussing what the future of accessible technology will look like as it relates to employment. They invite you to join the conversation and share your perspectives on the issue at the PEAT website.

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar — May 26, 1:00-2:30 PM EDT

The webinar “CIA IT Accessibility Program — A Case Study of an Accessibility Maturity Model,” to be presented May 26, 1:00-2:30 PM, EDT, will provide an overview of the IT Accessibility Program used at the CIA. It will discuss the revisions the CIA made to the original Accessibility Model and how the new revised Maturity Model provides an objective, measureable approach to incorporating Accessibility into an organization. This webinar is part of a series of free webinars that will address a variety of issues associated with ensuring federal agencies have the knowledge they need to meet their obligations under Section 508. The series is cosponsored by The Accessibility Committee of the CIO Council, the U.S. Access Board, and eFedLink/ODEP. Real-Time captioning and Video Sign Language Interpreter are available for each session and will be broadcast via the webinar platform. A non-toll free telephone option for receiving audio is also available.

Disability and Employment Symposium: Research Informing Practice — June 24, 8:00 AM-4:30 PM EDT

The Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) is hosting the Disability and Employment Symposium: Research Informing Practice on June 24, 8:00 AM-4:30 PM EDT, at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. The symposium will examine the state of the science and interactions among employment research, practice, and policy in terms of how research-based knowledge can affect practice and policy, and how practice and policy can influence research. Federal government representatives, researchers, individuals with disabilities and their representatives, employers, and workforce professionals are welcome to attend. Registration deadline is June 16.

Opportunity to Participate in Research — National Employment Survey

The U.S. Department of Education-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment Policy and Measurement (EPM-RRTC), in partnership with the Kessler Foundation, is conducting an online survey of employment issues for working-age adults with disabilities. This survey is open to individuals with disabilities or family members of individuals who are employed or seeking employment. The primary purpose of this survey is to understand the mechanisms by which individuals with disabilities strive to work and the challenges they face in doing so. Findings from this survey will inform research and advocacy efforts to develop innovative and sustainable approaches across stakeholder groups to maximize the employment opportunities of people with disabilities.

IEL Seeks Stories from the ADA Generation — Deadline June 1

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) is collecting stories from the ADA Generation — youth and young adults who came of age since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act — about what the ADA means to them. These stories will be published on the IEL website and shared through social media. IEL encourages creativity in format, media, and content. Stories can be in written, graphic, or video form. Videos should be no longer than three (3) minutes and written submissions should be no longer than 500 words. All pictures should include captions. Submissions are due by June 1. Submissions and questions can be sent to

Office of Disability Employment Policy Business Sense (May 18, 2015)

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

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Supporting the Mental Health of Workers

For many, the annual arrival of spring evokes the old adage “take time to smell the roses.” Indeed, research has long shown a positive correlation between savoring the little things in life and one’s overall health and wellbeing.

But for some people, mental health conditions may get in the way of an ability to do so, regardless of the season. In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four adults experience a mental health condition in a given year, and about one in 17 live with a serious illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.

Held each May, Mental Health Month presents an opportune time for employers to consider how they can support employees who may have mental health conditions. The Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Job Accommodation Network has several publications with accommodation ideas for people with mental health impairments, while the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a guide for businesses interested in creating mental health-friendly workplaces. Employers may also benefit from Mental Health America’s information on workplace wellness, including tips on how to support an employee with a mental health condition.

Clearly, mental health-friendly workplaces are good for workers. But the benefits don’t stop there — employers also profit. Because health and wellbeing are critical to one’s ability to stay productive and focused on the job, they’re just another example of good business sense — this month and every month.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (May 15, 2015)

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

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New Members Appointed to Disability Employment Advisory Committee

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has appointed two new members, James T. Brett and Ari Ne’eman, to the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the committee). The committee is a key provision of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Brett, who is President and Chief Executive Officer of The New England Council, an alliance of schools, hospitals, corporations, and other private organizations throughout New England working together to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region, will serve with the group of representatives from the employer community or national employer organizations. Ne’eman, President and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, an advocacy organization run by and for Autistic adults seeking to increase the representation of Autistic people across society, will be one of the representatives of national disability advocacy organizations for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Improving Mental Health for Workers, This Month and Every Month — DOL Blog

May is Mental Health Month, and in her May 14 Department of Labor blog, “Improving Mental Health for Workers, This Month and Every Month,” Elena Brown, special assistant in the Office of Disability Employment Policy, reflects on her recent trip to The Hague to participate in a policy forum on mental health and work sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). “Whether through an employee assistance program or a less formal method, supporting the mental health needs of workers is good for employees, employers and society at large. That was the resounding message at the forum — and an affirming one to those of us in the Office of Disability Employment Policy,” notes Brown.

Federal Partners in Transition’s 2020 Plan Discussed at Capacity Building Institute

Laura Ibañez, Policy Advisor from the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor and Melodie Johnson, Management Policy Analyst from the Office of Policy and Planning at the U.S. Department of Education, gave a federal perspective on interagency collaboration at the 9th Annual Capacity Building Institute: Improving Postsecondary Outcomes for All Students with Disabilities, on May 7 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Addressing an audience of about 200 members of interdisciplinary state teams, Ibañez and Johnson discussed their experience developing the Federal Partners in Transition’s 2020 Federal Youth Transition Plan: A Federal Interagency Strategy (2020 Plan). The purpose of the 2020 Plan is to enhance interagency coordination, develop compatible goals to improve outcomes for youth with disabilities in transition, and help the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Social Security Administration to approach transition in a more integrated way that will lead to improved outcomes by 2020.

PEAT Publishes Q&A on Proposed ICT Rule Update

The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) has published a list of six questions and answers related to a rule proposed by the U.S Access Board to update accessibility requirements for information and communication technologies (ICT). This rule refreshes standards for electronic and information technology in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It also updates guidelines for telecommunications equipment issued under Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934. PEAT compiled the Q&A list to assist those who are interested in submitting comments on the proposed rule. Comments must be submitted by May 28.

LEAD Center Releases Customized Employment FAQs

The LEAD Center has published a new resource, titled “Frequently Asked Questions: Using Customized Employment’s Discovery and Group Discovery Models to Promote Job Seeker Success in American Job Centers.” Customized Employment offers an approach consistent with the most innovative and cutting edge human resource practices. Its signature strategy, Discovery, offers an approach for job seekers with barriers to employment that is consistent with some of the most widely accepted strategies for successful career development. Customized Employment and Discovery are not necessarily appropriate or desirable for all AJC job seekers with disabilities or other complex barriers to employment, but the strategies provide non-traditional options and choices — both for job seekers and AJC staff.

Cultivating Talent for Tomorrow: The Value of Interns with Disabilities — EARN Blog

In a May 6 blog on the Employer Assistance and Resource Network’s EARN|Exchange site, Tiffany Jolliff, program specialist in the Office of Disability Employment Policy, recaps a webinar that she moderated on April 29 titled “Cultivating Talent for Tomorrow: The Value of Interns with Disabilities.” Presenters included representatives from DirectEmployers, Northrop Grumman, and Prudential Financial. All spoke about the benefits of internships for both the employers and the interns they hire. The presentation files are available along with the archived webinar.

EARN Releases May 13 Newsletter

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network’s (EARN) latest newsletter was released on May 13, featuring information on Mental Health Month, the National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme, two blogs on the importance of internships, notices on upcoming webinars, and more. EARN is a service of the National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities, which is funded by ODEP under a cooperative agreement with The Viscardi Center.

U.S. DOT to hold public workshop on Accessible Transportation Technology Applications (May 14, 2015)

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Event: Applications for the Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI)

Date: May 18-19, 2015

Time: 8:00 to 5:00 PM Eastern Time

Location: Holiday Inn Washington-Capitol, 550 C Street S.W., Washington, DC 20024

To register: Visit:

Contact: Carlos Alban, or 202-721-4223 for more information

This workshop will engage stakeholders in identifying specific technology applications to be further developed through future activities of the U.S. DOT’s Accessible Transportation Technology Research Initiative (ATTRI). The workshop will identify candidate technology solutions to address the travel needs of people with disabilities, older adults, and veterans with disabilities. The USDOT is looking for your feedback and help in identifying new technology solutions addressing the mobility challenges of all travelers.

All travel and per diem expenses, including meals, for persons attending the workshop must be paid by their agencies.

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Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (May 8, 2015)

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

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National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2015 Theme Announced

Planning for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) 2015 is now underway, following the announcement this week of its official theme — “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am.” NDEAM is held annually in October, but its theme is announced each spring to assist workplaces, individuals and communities across the nation in planning activities in advance. “This year’s theme encapsulates the important message that people with disabilities are just that — people,” said Jennifer Sheehy, acting assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy.

Employer TA Center Publishes Two New Fact Sheets

The National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities (Employer TA Center) recently published two new fact sheets for employers, one addressing the benefits of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in promoting a disability-inclusive work culture and one summarizing tax incentives for which employers who employ people with disabilities may be eligible. The Employer TA Center is funded by Office of Disability Employment Policy under a cooperative agreement with The Viscardi Center. Wins Awards for Communications Excellence, the federal government’s main portal to disability-related information, recently received several awards for activities on its blog, The first is a 2015 Silver Award of Distinction from the Communicator Awards for the “No Boundaries” blog post on Hector, a reading enthusiast and disability advocate from California. The others were a Gold Award and Honorable Mention from the Hermes Creative Awards for the same blog post and its accompanying portrait photograph, respectively.

Cultivating Talent for Tomorrow: The Value of Interns with Disabilities — Archived EARN Webinar

The webinar, “Cultivating Talent for Tomorrow: The Value of Interns with Disabilities,” is now available in the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) webinar archive. The April 29 webinar addressed the benefits of hiring interns with disabilities and how employers can take advantage of the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) — a free referral service — to connect with them. The presentation files are available along with the archived webinar.

LEAD Webinar Now Archived: WIOA and the Unified State Planning Process

On April 29th, the LEAD Center, through funding by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, hosted part two of a special four-part series titled “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) From a Disability Perspective.” Part two of the series, “WIOA and the Unified State Planning Process,” focused on identifying key components of a Unified State Plan, and explored strategies and approaches to ensure inclusion of disability stakeholders in the development of a Plan. The presentation slides and the transcript are available along with the archived webinar.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (May 1, 2015)

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

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How to Use the Schedule A Hiring Authority — Blog

In her blog “I’m a Federal Employee Thanks to Schedule A. You Can Be, Too!” Tiffany Jolliff, program specialist at the Office of Disability Employment Policy, takes the reader through the federal Schedule A hiring process. She lays out in great detail the steps necessary to apply for a federal job as a qualified person with a disability who is Schedule A eligible. “I am here to tell you that I was able to successfully jump through the hoops to get in,” says Jolliff.

EEOC Releases New Fact Sheet on the ABCs of Schedule A for Disability Program Managers and Selective Placement Program Coordinators.

A new fact sheet from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides information for federal Disability Program Managers (DPM) and Selective Placement Program Coordinators (SPPC) on using the Schedule A hiring authority for applicants with disabilities. The publication offers step by step information on the hiring process, a frequently asked questions section, and a listing of resources.

JAN ENews is Now Available

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has released its latest ENews online publication. May is American Stroke Month, so this edition of the ENews puts a spotlight on the different functional limitations that can be caused by a stroke, and potential workplace accommodations for these situations. Other ENews topics include wellness programs and the ADA, types of relay calls, and tips on converting a PowerPoint file to PDF. New JAN resources are also highlighted.

April LEAD Center Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability Is Out

The LEAD Center’s Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability provides policymakers, disability service professionals, individuals with disabilities and their families with information about relevant policy developments regarding Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and related topics, with a focus on improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The latest update features stories on a new CMS rule related to publicly-funded health plans, a new Mathematica Money Follows the Person program report, the State of Minnesota’s efforts to comply with the Olmstead community living standard, New Hampshire’s proposal to eliminate Medicaid expansion and much more. The LEAD Center Policy Update – Employment, Health Care and Disability is a project of the LEAD Center in collaboration with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

EARN Releases April 29 Newsletter

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network’s (EARN) latest newsletter was released on April 29, featuring information on DiversityInc’s list of top companies for diversity and disability, a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proposed rule, the upcoming Mental Health Month, and more. EARN is a service of the National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities, which is funded by ODEP under a cooperative agreement with The Viscardi Center.

Accommodating Employees with Mental Health Disabilities in Higher Education — Archived Webinar

The webinar “Accommodating Employees with Mental Health Disabilities in Higher Education” has been archived. Sponsored by the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) in coordination with the ODEP-funded Employer TA Center, it featured speakers from the Job Accommodation Network and The Viscardi Center. The webinar addressed why, how and when to accommodate employees with mental health disabilities in the higher education employment setting. Several real-life accommodation situations and solutions from colleges and universities across the country were presented. The presentation files are available along with the recorded webinar.

10 Things to Know about Becoming an Entrepreneur — Disability Connection Newsletter

The April edition of’s Disability Connection Newsletter is devoted to entrepreneurship for people with disabilities. The newsletter includes links to dozens of resources on topics such as finding a mentor, financing a business, and self-employment as customized employment. Special attention is given to young entrepreneurs as well as veterans.

The Role of Centralized Accommodations Funds — Archived Webinar

The Federal Disability Workforce Consortium (FDWC) News Hour webinar “Inclusion Across the Employment Lifecycle: The Role of Centralized Accommodations Funds” has been added to the webinar archives on the eFedLink website. The webinar explored strategies for encouraging the formation of centralized accommodations funds within the Federal Government. The presentation files are available along with the recorded webinar. eFedLink is a community of practice to advance federal employment for people with disabilities.

Harassment and Hostile Environment: Understanding the Basics

Friday, May 1st, 2015

If you are the Equal Opportunity (EO) professional charged with ensuring nondiscrimination in the delivery of federally-funded programs and activities, or you serve as the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Human Resources (EEO/AA/HR) professional charged with ensuring nondiscrimination in the workplace, you must have a working knowledge of “harassment” and “hostile environment.”

√ Two categories of harassment-related complaints.

Let’s start with an understanding that complaints of harassment-related discrimination fall into one of two categories: (1) quid pro quo harassment; or (2) hostile environment harassment.

Whether a complaint involves allegations of quid pro quo harassment or hostile environment, the conduct must be “unwelcome.” And, who defines whether conduct is “unwelcome”? Harassment is defined “through the eyes of the beholder”; namely, the person subjected to the harassing conduct defines whether the conduct is offensive and unwelcome.

√ Harassment is discrimination.

“Harassment” and “hostile environment” constitute forms of discrimination, regardless of whether the “harassment” or “hostile environment” occurs in federally-funded programs and activities, or in the workplace.

When we hear the word “harassment,” many of us first think of “sexual” harassment. To be sure, harassment on the basis of “sex” is a form of sex discrimination that is barred by federal law in the workplace, and in the delivery of federally-funded services, aid, training, and benefits.

That being said, it is equally important to keep in mind that harassment or hostile environment may occur on any prohibited basis of discrimination, including race, national origin, color, disability, age, and others. For example, you may see a complaint of race-based hostile environment, or a religion-based quid pro quo harassment complaint.

√ Quid pro quo harassment defined.

In the simplest of terms, quid pro quo harassment takes the form of bartering—“you give me this, and I’ll give you that.” A workplace example occurs where Jane, a supervisor, offers her assistant, Jason, a bonus in exchange for sexual favors. Jane has engaged in prohibited quid pro quo sexual harassment. Notably, Jane’s decision-making regarding whether to give Jason a bonus should be based on bona fide work-related criteria, not through bartering to get Jason to have sex with her.

Similarly, an example in the arena of federally-funded programs and activities is where Scott, the employment-referral counselor at a job bank, refuses to refer Khalid to available security guard positions unless Khalid renounces his Islamic faith. Here, Scott has engaged in quid pro quo religious-based harassment—Khalid must give up his Islamic faith in exchange for referral to the security guard positions. This discrimination is illegal because Scott is obligated to base his decision to refer Khalid to security guard positions on whether Khalid meets the essential eligibility requirements for the referral, not Khalid’s religious beliefs or practices.

√ “Hostile environment” defined.

Turning to “hostile environment,” this type of discrimination does not involve the bartering of “you give me this and I’ll give you that.” Rather, a hostile environment is created where one person, or a group of people, engages in offensive conduct that is “so severe and pervasive” that it adversely alters another person’s workplace environment, or the person’s enjoyment of, and participation in, federally-funded programs and activities.

In determining whether conduct is “severe and pervasive,” the following factors should be considered: (1) the frequency of the conduct; (2) the severity of the conduct; (3) whether the conduct is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; and (4) whether the conduct unreasonably interferes with an employee’s job performance, or with a person’s participation in, or enjoyment of, a federally-funded program or activity.

An example of “hostile environment” in the workplace is where Kristen works as a welder alongside eight co-workers, all of whom are men. Two of these co-workers are constantly telling sexist jokes, posting naked photos of women in the work area, and whistling at Kristen when she is working. Kristen is offended by the conduct, and she lets her co-workers know that it is unwelcome. When the conduct does not stop, Kristen files a complaint. Kristen’s complaint involves allegations of a “hostile sexual environment,” which adversely altered her working conditions.

In federally-funded programs and activities, an example of hostile environment occurs where a group of students at a public school posts derogatory remarks on Facebook about Josh, a student with a mobility disability. Moreover, they call him “crippled” and “stupid” in the hallways of the school, and deliberately place obstacles in front of his power chair. Josh files a disability-based hostile environment complaint. Here, the offending group of students created a “disability-based hostile environment” that, in turn, adversely altered Josh’s ability to enjoy, and participate in, the educational programs and activities offered at the school.

√ Retaliatory “hostile environment” is against the law.

Whether in the workplace, or in federally-funded programs and activities, creating a “hostile environment” against an individual in retaliation for filing an EEO complaint, or in retaliation for filing a discrimination complaint in a federally-funded program, also is prohibited. Every circuit court addressing this issue recognizes these complaints of “retaliatory hostile environment.”

If a person files a discrimination complaint, regardless of whether the complaint is ultimately successful or not, and then the person experiences “severe and pervasive” harassment from any member of your organization’s staff, your organization and the responsible staff members will be held liable. See Clegg v. Ark. Dep’t. of Corr., 496 F.3d 922 (8th Cir. 2007); Jordan v. City of Cleveland, 464 F.3d 584 (6th Cir. 2006); Jensen v. Potter, 435 F.3d 444 (3rd Cir. 2006), abrogated on other grounds by Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53 (2006); Hussain v. Nicholson, 435 F.3d 359 (D.C. Cir. 2006); Noviello v. City of Boston, 398 F.3d 76 (1st Cir. 2005); Von Gunten v. Maryland, 243 F.3d 858 (4th Cir. 2001), abrogated on other grounds by Burlington N., 548 U.S. 53; Ray v. Henderson, 217 F.3d 1234 (9th Cir. 2000); Richardson v. N.Y. State Dep’t. of Corr. Serv., 180 F.3d 426 (2nd Cir. 1999), abrogated on other grounds by Burlington N., 548 U.S. 53; Gunnell v. Utah Valley State Coll., 152 F.3d 1253 (10th Cir. 1998); Knox v. Indiana, 93 F.3d 1327 (7th Cir. 1996).

For example, in Gowski v. James Peake, MD (Sec’y., Dept. of Veterans Affairs, et al), 682 F.3d 1299 (11th Cir. 2012), the circuit court noted, after two hospital physician-employees filed EEO complaints of gender-based and religious-based discrimination, they were subjected to “severe and pervasive” retaliation at work, including the spread of demeaning rumors about the physicians by management that damaged their professional reputations, denial of hospital privileges to the physicians that could adversely affect their certifications, excluding the physicians from participating in work-related functions, and other similar acts. The court found, taken as a whole, this conduct created a retaliatory hostile environment, and damages were awarded against the hospital.

√ Obligations of EO and EEO professionals.

Thus, whether you work as an EO professional in federally-funded programs and activities, or as an EEO/AA/HR professional handling workplace discrimination, you must be familiar with the policies and procedures of your agency or organization pertaining to harassment and hostile environment. If no policies or procedures are in place, you must ensure that they are developed and published. Management and employees in your workplace, as well as beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries of your federally-funded programs and activities must have notice of these policies and procedures.

If you receive a discrimination complaint based on harassment or hostile environment, you are required to take action. These complaints are fact-intensive and there may be more than one appropriate response to a particular complaint of harassment. Although only hindsight offers perfect clarity of what worked and what did not, doing nothing is never acceptable.

About the author.

Seena Foster, award-winning civil rights author and Principal of the discrimination consulting firm, Title VI Consulting, LLP in Alexandria, Virginia, provides expertise and guidance in the areas of civil rights compliance and discrimination complaint investigations related to the delivery of federally-assisted workforce development programs and activities. Her customers include state and local governments, colleges and universities, private companies, private counsel, and non-profit organizations. You may contact her at, or visit her web site at for additional information regarding the services and resources she offers.

By way of background, in 2003, Ms. Foster served as a Senior Policy Analyst to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center (CRC). In that capacity, she led a team of equal opportunity specialists to conduct disability-based technical assistance reviews of One-Stop centers, and she assisted the CRC’s leadership in preparing for limited English proficiency-based compliance reviews. Ms. Foster also analyzed and weighed witness statements and documents to prepare numerous final determinations for signature by the CRC Director, which resolved discrimination complaints under a variety of federal civil rights laws such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act. In 2006, Ms. Foster received the Secretary of Labor’s Equal Employment Opportunity Award in recognition of “exceptional efforts to ensure that individuals with disabilities have full access to employment and related services and benefits at the Nation’s One-Stop Career Centers.” And, at the request of the CRC, Ms. Foster served as a popular workshop speaker at national equal opportunity forums co-sponsored by the CRC and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. Her presentations covered topics such as the WIA Section 188 disability checklist, conducting discrimination complaint investigations and writing final determinations, and conducting investigations of allegations involving harassment and hostile environment.

With a passion for ensuring nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in the delivery of federally-assisted programs and activities, Ms. Foster remains highly active in the field through her series of on-demand webcasts for equal opportunity professionals as well as through her mediation services, training, and assistance developing policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with applicable federal civil rights laws. Her training in the areas of compliance and complaint investigations has been described as “dynamic,” “hitting the nail on the head,” “well-organized,” and “informative.” And, her award-winning book on conducting discrimination complaint investigations is viewed as “eye-opening” and “the best on the market.” In 2007, Ms. Foster was certified as a mediator by the Virginia Supreme Court, and later obtained “Federal Workplace Mediation” certification through the Northern Virginia Mediation Service.

She is a member of the Discrimination Law and Human Rights Law Committees of the International Bar Association. Ms. Foster received her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, and she has a Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University Law School.