RSS Feed!

Archives

Archive for April, 2017

Office of Disability Employment Policy News Brief (Apr. 27, 2017)

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

“All About Skills: Tapping the Power of Neurodiversity”
Several major companies that engage in robust disability inclusion strategies are now pursuing efforts towards recruiting and hiring with a focus on neurodiversity, including people who are on the autism spectrum. In a blog in observance of National Autism Awareness Month in April, Dr. Susanne M. Bruyère, Professor of Disability Studies and the Director of the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University’s ILR School, examines a program called “Autism at Work” at enterprise software developer SAP, who has started hiring people with autism in a wide range of job categories. The program was highlighted at the recent “Autism at Work Summit,” which also featured similar initiatives in other businesses such as Microsoft, EY and Hewlett-Packard.

LEAD Center Sponsors Online Dialogue on ABLE Act – Through May 12
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act allows states to establish programs that offer tax advantaged savings accounts, known as ABLE accounts, to qualified individuals with disabilities. The LEAD Center is holding an online dialogue, “The ABLE Act: A Tool for Financial Stability and Employment Outcomes,” to help potential ABLE account owners, their families, and those who provide them with various supports and services to better understand and create plans for how these accounts can be used to assist youth and adults with disabilities in securing and maintaining competitive integrated employment. Dialogue topics include how ABLE accounts can be used to support employment or self-employment/entrepreneurship, and how ABLE accounts can be used to increase economic empowerment and financial self-sufficiency. The dialogue is open through May 12.

CDE and AUCD to Host May 11 Twitter Chat on Supporting Workers with Mental Health Disabilities
In recognition of Mental Health Month, ODEP’s Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) are hosting a Twitter chat on Thursday, May 11, from 1:00-2:00 PM ET. Titled “#CDEMentalHealth: Supporting People with Mental Health Disabilities in the Workplace,” the chat will feature special guest Andy Imparato, Executive Director of AUCD. Don’t miss this chance to engage with Andy and others in an online discussion about the importance of supporting the employment success of people with mental health disabilities, along with workplace strategies for doing so effectively. To participate in the conversation, please use the hashtag #CDEMentalHealth.

“Do-It-Yourself Accommodations” – New from the Ask JAN Blog
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has posted a new blog on its Ask JAN blog site. Matthew McCord, JAN Consultant, presents several ideas for accommodations that can be created by an individual without having to purchase any equipment or technology. Examples include raising or lowering the height of a desk using cinder blocks, and converting a tennis ball into an assistive writing device for someone with pain and cramping in the wrists and hands.

Employer Success Stories Featured on EARN Website
Employers who have had success in hiring, retaining and advancing employees with disabilities often have compelling stories to tell. The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) website features several of these first-hand experiences from small and large businesses in a variety of industries, including Best Buy, Kirtland Air Force Base, Lockheed Martin, Prudential and the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company.

Free Curriculum Helps Young Workers Strengthen “Soft” Skills
ODEP offers free career development materials designed to sharpen the interpersonal, or “soft,” skills of young workers. The “Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success” suite of materials includes a classroom-style curriculum and a set of videos with an accompanying discussion guide. Both resources can help young people, with and without disabilities, develop the critical attributes necessary for career success—such as communication, networking, enthusiasm and a positive attitude, teamwork, problem-solving skills, critical thinking and professionalism.

American Dental Association to Pay $1.95M to Resolve EEOC Discrimination Finding (Apr. 2017)

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

Federal Agency Found Reasonable Cause to Believe Two Association Execs Were Discharged in Retaliation for Voicing Concerns About Potential Discrimination

CHICAGO – The American Dental Association, which is headquartered in Chicago, has agreed to pay $1.95 million to resolve two charges of discrimination which were investigated by the Chicago District Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

Based on its investigation, EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that the ADA’s former chief legal counsel, Tamra Kempf, and the director of human resources were discharged in retaliation for com­plain­ing to the board of directors about potential violations of federal anti-discrimination laws: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The conciliation not only provides monetary relief to the charging parties, but also ensures that the association will take proactive measures to prevent discrimination and retaliation from occurring in the future. The association will conduct training on Title VII, the ADA and the ADEA for all employees at its Chicago headquarters, post a notice of EEOC finding and conciliation visible to all employees, and make all required records available to EEOC for inspection for the duration of the two-year agreement.

The American Dental Association denies that it engaged in unlawful conduct, but a representative for the American Dental Association released the following statement:

The American Dental Association is pleased to be able to reach this amicable resolution of the allegations raised by Tamra Kempf and the former director of HR, and sincerely regrets the events that led to this dispute. Ms. Kempf and the former director of HR were dedicated and loyal employees whose primary motivation was the protection and furtherance of the interests of the association. As sometimes happens in business, differences arose between them and other members of the management team as to how various issues should be approached and handled, but this does not diminish the value of the many contributions that each made to the American Dental Association during their tenure. The associ­ation regrets that its actions led them to believe that they were retaliated against, and apologizes for any conduct that they may have construed as retaliation.

According to Julianne Bowman, director of EEOC’s Chicago’s District Office, this resolution demonstrates the critical role that human resources professionals and legal staff play in ensuring that corporations comply with the nation’s equal employment opportunity laws.

“The position of EEOC is that human resources professionals and in-house lawyers who advise their employers to abide by anti-discrimination laws are engaged in protected activities, and any retaliation against them for doing so is illegal,” said Bowman.

EEOC Enforcement Manager Patricia Jaramillo added, “We are pleased that the American Dental Association chose to work with us to reach this conciliation agreement so that the charging parties have a meaningful resolution from which they can move forward.”

EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.

EARN-EEOC Twitter Chat on Disability Inclusion with EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum and Office of Federal Operations (Apr. 2017)

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

Wed, April 19, 2:00-3:00 p.m. (ET)

A strong federal workforce is an inclusive federal workforce – one that welcomes the skills and talents of all qualified individuals. Reflecting this, the Federal Government has taken steps over the years to increase the representation of qualified people with disabilities in its workforce and to be a model employer of people with disabilities.

To provide updates on recent efforts to strengthen disability inclusion in the federal workforce, EARN and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are co-hosting a Twitter chat with EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum and Dexter Brooks, Associate Director, Office of Federal Operations. EARN is the Employer Assistance Resource Network on Disability Inclusion.

The chat will discuss recent updates to Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act and other important topics related to the recruitment, hiring, advancement and retention of people with disabilities in the federal workforce.

Use hashtag #FedInclusion to join the discussion and let us know what your agency is doing to promote disability inclusion. People with disabilities, disability advocates, federal agency HR specialists, disability program managers, selective placement program coordinators, reasonable accommodation coordinators, EO specialists and others are encouraged to participate.

Mail - DAVID.GRINBERG@EEOC.GOV

Follow EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations on Twitter for federal sector news and updates on EEO issues. Twitter handle @EEOC_OFO

Further information about the EEOC is available online at www.eeoc.gov. Additional information about EARN can be found at www.askearn.org.

HUD Reaches Agreement with California Lenders to Resolve Claims of Unfair Lending Practices Against Hispanic Applicant (Apr. 2017)

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced an agreement with a group of California mortgage lenders to resolve allegations they discriminated against a mortgage applicant based on his national origin. The complainant alleged that American Financial Network of Brea, California; Benchmark Communities of Fresno; Brigantino Enterprise of Hollister; and an employee of Benchmark Communities failed to prequalify him to purchase a home in Hollister because he is Hispanic. Read the Conciliation Agreement.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in rental, sales or home lending transactions based on a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, sex, familial status or disability.

“Where a person comes from should not impact their ability to purchase a home,” said Bryan Greene, HUD’s General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s action reflects our nation’s promise of fair housing and equal access to credit for every qualified individual, regardless of their national origin.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when the applicant filed a fair housing complaint alleging that he was unfairly denied an opportunity to prequalify for a mortgage loan, precluding him from purchasing a home because he is Hispanic. American Financial Network will pay the man $5,000; Benchmark Communities will provide annual fair housing training for its employees who interact with prospective homebuyers; and American Financial Network will provide annual fair housing training to current and new employees as they are hired.

People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Apr. 21, 2017)

Friday, April 21st, 2017

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work National Online Dialogue — Extended Through Today, April 21
There is still time to participate in the Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work National Online Dialogue! You have until end of day today (11:59 PM ET) to post your ideas on ways states can develop initiatives or programs, or institute policy changes, that support workers in the transition back to work. This crowdsourcing event is hosted in support of the ODEP SAW/RTW Policy Collaborative’s efforts to develop strategies and practices to promote the return-to-work process for workers who become injured or experience disabling conditions. Your contributions to this virtual discussion will play an integral role in informing the efforts to develop policy steps to promote timely and effective strategies to support individuals who need SAW/RTW services and supports to remain in the labor force.

LEAD Center Webinar — “The ABLE Act: A Tool for Financial Stability and Employment Outcomes” — April 27, 3:00-4:30 PM ET
The LEAD Center, in collaboration with the ABLE National Resource Center, will be holding a webinar focused on how individuals with disabilities and their families can use ABLE Accounts to increase their financial stability and produce more positive employment outcomes. The webinar, to be held April 27, 3:00-4:30 PM ET, will demonstrate how provisions in the ABLE Act can enable people with disabilities to achieve competitive integrated employment, begin to save funds without fear of loss of SSI and Medicaid eligibility, and set longer term goals for financial stability and self-determined and self-directed lives. The presentation will review the basic elements of these new ABLE account programs, now open in 18 states, and will include the perspective of a current ABLE account owner.

CDE and AUCD to Host May 11 Twitter Chat on Supporting Workers with Mental Health Disabilities
In recognition of Mental Health Month, ODEP’s Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) are hosting a Twitter chat on Thursday, May 11, from 1:00-2:00 PM ET. Titled “#CDEMentalHealth: Supporting People with Mental Health Disabilities in the Workplace,” the chat will feature special guest Andy Imparato, Executive Director of AUCD. Don’t miss this chance to engage with Andy and others in an online discussion about the importance of supporting the employment success of people with mental health disabilities, along with workplace strategies for doing so effectively. To participate in the conversation, please use the hashtag #CDEMentalHealth.

JAN Releases Publication on Personal Assistance Services in the Workplace
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has released a publication on Personal Assistance Services (PAS) in the workplace, focusing on the provision of the updated Section 501 regulations that requires federal agencies to provide PAS to certain employees with disabilities. Presented in a question-and-answer format, the document addresses issues such as the definition of PAS, where employers can find PAS providers, and whether PAS providers can be given other work duties.

New PEAT Resource Offers Guidance on Accessible Technology-Related Public Policy
From the Section 508 refresh to progress around Section 501, the regulatory landscape influencing accessible information and communications technology (ICT) is ever evolving. To help employers, employees and technology providers learn about and understand the latest federal regulatory developments, the ODEP-funded Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) has launched “Policy Matters,” a centralized resource that covers what’s happening in the world of accessible technology-related public policy. Featuring plain language articles, policy briefs and analyses, “Policy Matters” explores how key policy developments apply to the workplace – from laws and regulations to court decisions and proposed legislation. The free tool is designed to keep stakeholders informed about government efforts to ensure workplace technology is accessible to all employees – including those with disabilities.

Are you Ready to Connect your Students with Disabilities to an Opportunity for Federal Jobs?
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to demonstrate their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. The WRP is the primary pipeline bringing students and recent graduates with disabilities into federal employment. Schools that would like to participate in the WRP must be accredited by one of the accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Registration for schools will close on May 31.

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available
EARN has issued its April 19 newsletter, featuring information on EARN’s Small Business Success Stories, a Deaf History Month blog, a PBS NewsHour segment on disability employment, and more.

Federal Transit Administration: Register for NTI Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment Course (Apr. 2017)

Friday, April 14th, 2017

FTA and the National Transit Institute (NTI) will offer a Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment course May 15-17, 2017 in Arlington, VA. The course will present FTA’s procedures and methods for predicting and assessing noise and vibration impacts from proposed mass transit projects.

The training modules in this three-day course closely follow the procedures contained in FTA’s guidance document, Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment (May 2006). The course provides an overview of the environmental review process and how noise and vibration assessment fits into FTA’s planning and project development processes.

For more information contact Barbara Van Dyke (NTI) or Antoinette Quagliata (FTA).

To see course description, go to https://ce-catalog.rutgers.edu/courseDisplay.cfm?schID=64981.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Apr. 7, 2017)

Friday, April 7th, 2017

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

EARN Webinar — “All About Access: The Business Case for Using Accessible Websites and Other Workplace Technologies” — April 13, 2:00-3:30 PM ET
Technology is a central driver of productivity in today’s workplace, for all workers. But if it’s inaccessible to employees with disabilities, it impedes them from performing to their fullest. This webinar from the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) will address the basics of employer tools related to accessibility of websites, online systems, mobile applications, and other forms of workplace information and communication technology.

Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work National Online Dialogue — Through April 14
You’re invited to participate in the Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work National Online Dialogue, hosted in support of the ODEP SAW/RTW Policy Collaborative’s efforts to develop strategies and practices to promote the return-to-work process for workers who become injured or experience disabling conditions. This latest in a series of dialogues is focused on supporting the transition back to work and will run through April 14th. We’re looking for your ideas on ways that states can develop initiatives or programs, or institute policy changes, that support workers in the transition back to work. Your input in this virtual discussion will play an integral role in informing the efforts to develop policy steps to promote timely and effective strategies to support individuals who need SAW/RTW services and supports to remain in the labor force.

The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology Presents “PEAT Talks: Making Taleo Accessible” — April 20, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
Taleo is the leading talent management system used by HR professionals worldwide. In this PEAT Talks webinar, Senior Director of Oracle’s Accessibility Program Peter Wallack and Product Management Director of Taleo Development Ali Moosvi will discuss the challenges and successes that their team has experienced, as well as the accessibility features currently in production.

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available
EARN has issued its March 31 newsletter, featuring information on EARN’s Section 501 InfoCenter, a new video produced by the South Dakota Retailers Association about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, a Society of Human Resource Management article on the Job Accommodation Network, upcoming web events, and more.

LEAD Center Publishes LEAD On! E-Newsletter
LEAD On! highlights news and innovations in employment, policy and economic advancement for people with disabilities. The March edition highlights the impact of Section 188 training in Missouri, the results of the LEAD Center’s National Online Dialogue on Promoting Inclusive Career Pathways, the recent Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program Conference, important new resources, and more.

U.S. Department of Justice: Immigrant & Employee Rights Section – April Webinar Schedule

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is offering a number of free, informative webinars for the public in April. These include webinars for workers, employers, and advocates. Please review the April schedule to choose the right presentation for you.

IER enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This law prohibits citizenship, immigration status, and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation. For more information visit www.justice.gov/ier.

Miércoles, 5 de abril, 2017 a las 3:30 pm ET
Seminario – IER Presentación para defensores del trabajador

Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 2:30 pm ET
IER Presentation for Worker Advocates + IER’s New Regulations webinar

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 10:30 am ET
IER Presentation for Employers & HR Representatives + IER’s New Regulations webinar

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm ET
IER’s New Regulations webinar

OFCCP: Annual VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark is 6.7 Percent (Mar. 31, 2017)

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

The 2017 Annual Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) hiring benchmark was updated on the VEVRAA Benchmark Database. The benchmark – 6.7 percent – is effective March 31, 2017.

Contractors who adopted the previous year’s national benchmark of 6.9 percent after March 4, 2016, but prior to this announcement, may keep their benchmark at 6.9 percent.

Looking for prior year effective dates? View them on the Annual VEVRAA Benchmark Effective Dates page.

National and state information has also been updated in the VEVRAA Benchmark Database for federal contractors and subcontractors who calculate an individualized hiring benchmark using the five-factor method.

Need more information on VEVRAA requirements? Visit our VEVRAA information page, or contact the OFCCP Help Desk at 1-800-397-6251 (TTY: 1-877-889-5627) or online.

For more information, go to https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/askofccp.htm.