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Archive for August, 2017

UPS TO PAY $2M TO RESOLVE NATIONWIDE EEOC DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS (Aug. 2017)

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Shipping Giant’s Rigid Leave Policies Forced Out Employees Who Needed Accommodations, Federal Agency Charged

CHICAGO – International shipping giant United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) has agreed to pay $2 million to nearly 90 current and former UPS employees to resolve a nationwide disability discrimination lawsuit filed in 2009 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well as to conciliate related administrative charges, the agency announced today.

The EEOC charged that UPS violated federal law failing to provide UPS employees with disabilities reasonable accommodations that would enable them to perform their job duties. The EEOC further alleged that UPS maintained an inflexible leave policy, whereby the company fired disabled employees automatically when they reached 12 months of leave, without engaging in the interactive process required by law.

Such alleged conduct violates Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Case No. 09-cv-5291) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to providing $2 million in monetary relief, UPS has also agreed to update its policies on reasonable accommodation, improve its implementation of those policies, and conduct training for those who administer the company’s disability accommodation processes. Furthermore, the company has agreed to provide the EEOC periodic reports on the status of every accommodation request for the next three years to ensure the efficacy of its procedures.

“The ADA requires companies to make a real effort to work individually with their employees with disabilities to provide them with the necessary and reasonable accommodations that will allow them to do their jobs,” said Greg Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “As a result of this lawsuit, UPS now has practices in place to better ensure that this happens.”

Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s Chicago District director, added, “Having a multiple-month leave policy alone does not guarantee compliance with the ADA. Such a policy must also include the flexibility to work with employees with disabilities who may simply require a reason­able accommo­dation to return to work. UPS has now made changes which will allow more people to keep their jobs.”

According to company information, Atlanta-based UPS has over 434,000 employees and had revenues of $61 billion in 2016.

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employ­ment discrimin­ation, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

Northeast ADA Center News (Aug. 2017)

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

The Northeast ADA Center is Updating our Website!The Northeast ADA Center’s website is getting a new look and expanding the ability to easily access resources regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act. To take a look at our Beta site under construction, please visit: http://beta.northeastada.org/

Free Webinar! Overview of the Final Rule for Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment
Thursday, September 28, 20171:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT

This webinar will review the accessibility standards developed by the U.S. Access Board for equipment used in medical settings by health care providers for diagnostic purposes, including: examination tables and chairs, weight scales, mammography equipment, and other imaging equipment. The webinar will also discuss the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ guidance information for health care providers regarding their responsibilities to make their services and facilities accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. To register, please visit: http://www.edi.cornell.edu/register/index.cfm?event=6401

What’s New in Our Region:

Regional International Sued by EEOC for Firing Employee Who Requested Leave for SurgeryRegional International Corporation, a commercial truck and trailer dealership with locations in Western New York, unlawfully fired an employee after he requested leave for hip replacement surgery. After requesting a short leave to have surgery on a degenerative hip that caused the employee excruciating pain that hindered his walking, climbing of stairs, and sleep, the employee was fired rather than being provided the accommodation to take care of the issue. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that employers provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities, and prohibits employers from discriminating against them. To read more about the case go to: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/7-27-17.cfm

NY City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Residents, Advocates Urge Cuomo Signature on Bill Allowing Residents with Disabilities to Take More Accessible UnitsThere’s a push to make public housing friendlier to some of its most vulnerable residents. The proposed legislation would allow residents that use wheelchairs to move into accessible apartments when they become available. As residents age or become disabled they may have greater challenges with mobility needs and ideally lower level apartments should be reserved to meet those resident’s needs. To see the article go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nycha-residents-urge-cuomo-sign-disability-housing-bill-article-1.3382383

Rev Up NJ Kicks off Disability Voter Registration Week 2017 in TrentonOn July 18th, approximately 50 people gathered at the State House Annex to kick off National Disability Voter Registration Week. The event, hosted by the Alliance Center for Independence (ACI) and REV UP NJ, included speeches by NJ Senate President Stephen M. Sweeny, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Rutgers Distinguished Professor, Douglas L. Kruse, NJ Council for Developmental Disabilities, Kevin Casey, and a host of advocates and civil rights activists. ACI and REV UP NJ will be holding voter registration and education events during the months leading up to the November 8th Gubernatorial Election. To read more go to: https://www.adacil.org/latest-updates/ndvrw-kickoff-2017?utm_source=July+2017+-+News&utm_campaign=Newsletter&utm_medium=email

What’s New in the Rest of the Country:

President Trump Nominates Iraq Veteran Daniel Gade to EEOC Commissioner Spot President Trump has nominated Daniel M. Gade to the last vacant slot on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Dr. Gade, who has a Master’s and Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Policy, is a veteran of the second Iraq War, and lost his right leg in 2005 after an explosion that occurred while he was carrying out a routine patrol. Based on his writings and some articles about him, Dr. Gade appears to be a strong advocate for self-reliance and getting disabled veterans back to work. How this philosophy will apply to issues that arise under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which the EEOC enforces, is not clear. It could mean that he will strongly advocate reasonable accommodation, which allows individuals with disabilities to be gainfully employed to the fullest extent possible. But he has also spoken out against the military definition of “disability,” contending that it is too broad and encourages veterans to stay out of the work force. To read more about his nomination go to: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=3b3de01d-d198-4bb4-9daa-982717b945f3

UPS to Pay $1.7M to Resolve EEOC’s ‘Maximum Leave’ LawsuitUnited Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) reached a $1.7 million agreement with the EEOC to settle a nationwide lawsuit challenging the delivery company’s policy of discharging workers who can’t return from medical leave after 12 months. The EEOC alleged in its 2009 lawsuit that UPS’s maximum leave policy, in addition to providing a basis for the company to unlawfully fire disabled workers, also acted as an illegal employment qualification standard that screened out or tended to screen out workers with disabilities. To read more about this go to: https://www.bna.com/ups-pay-17m-n73014462571/

New ADA-Accessible Trail Showcases Cedar Breaks SplendorIt’s not often that we see new trails in our national parks, but Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah recently opened the mile-long Sunset Trail. Designed to be ADA-ABA accessible, the Sunset Trail provides exploration opportunities for all people, including young children, seniors and those with physical disabilities, including people who use mobility devices. While there may be a long way to go in providing equal access to all of our national parks, the Sunset Trail is a good example of what is possible. To read more about this go to: http://www.thespectrum.com/story/sports/outdoors/backyard-ramblings/2017/08/03/new-ada-accessible-showcases-cedar-breaks-splendor/536924001/

Opportunities for You!

Open Q & A-Free Webinar
Thursday, September 7th, 20172:30 PM EDT – 4:00 PM EDT

This is a regular session in the Accessibility Online webinar series that provides an opportunity to ask questions on any topic related to the Access Board’s work and activities. Questions are welcome on the Board’s accessibility requirements and rulemaking activities, including the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards, new standards being developed for medical diagnostic equipment, and other topics related to the Board’s work. Accessibility specialists will answer questions submitted in advance during the first half of the session, leaving time in the second half to answer questions in the live session. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110599

Facebook Friends-Workplace Enemies Free Webinar
Tuesday, September 19th, 20172:00 PM EDT – 3:30 PM EDT

Can I Google applicants or use information posted on Facebook? Within social media and employment law the risk of social media in the employment world is a relatively new fad and form of communication. With the popularity of social sites like Facebook and Linkedin, employers can gain access to all sorts of information that would normally be “off limits” during an interview. Could this be creating a legal problem for employers? Are people with disabilities being “weeded out” by potential employers because of their “electric footprints”? In this lively session EEOC’s Joe Bontke will spell out the risks and offer some remedy for the new risk of social network “investigating” when an applicant has some “google issues” To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ADA-Audio/session/?id=110627

Special Spotlight: Web Accessibility

The internet is a source of entertainment, news, commerce, education and much more. However, many people with disabilities struggle to access this key resource. Web accessibility ensures that people with disabilities can use the web effectively no matter how they access the site. It asks that web developers consider alternative access methods when building sites, that forms are labeled, that alternative text is used to describe pictures that mean something on the page, and that pages are structured in a way that make sense to someone who can’t see them. Web accessibility has other benefits as well; well-designed pages load more quickly, take less space on your server, and will transport more easily to mobile devices. The Northeast ADA Center offers resources on web accessibility, accessed here: http://www.northeastada.org/pages/accessibility/website-access.cfm

As web access has been a “hot topic” in recent months, below are several articles on this topic that highlight new developments.

DOJ Disables Titles II and III Website Regulations The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has placed its once-planned website accessibility regulations under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on an inactive list, putting to rest speculation about what the Trump administration may do with respect to the long-promised regulations. No one knows for sure what relegation to the inactive list means, as this is the first time that federal agencies have prioritized their rulemaking agendas by dividing proposed regulations into three categories: (1) the regulatory plan, which highlights regulatory priorities for the coming year; (2) long-term actions, which are regulatory actions not expected within 12 months; and (3) the inactive list, which includes regulations that have not been formally withdrawn, yet seem to have no known place in the agency’s planned rulemaking. While the DOJ has placed this on a low priority list there is no assurance that this protects an entity from private lawsuits. To read more about this go to: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=b90be499-a45b-4a92-a0d6-2ac166b60d03

New Ruling Requires Websites to Make ADA AccommodationsIn June, a federal judge in Florida passed down an important Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website accessibility decision, finding that Winn-Dixie was liable under the ADA because its website was inaccessible. In Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., the plaintiff argued that Winn-Dixie’s website was inaccessible to visually-impaired individuals and thus violated the ADA because features such as the website’s online coupons and pharmacy could not be accessed using a screen reader. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff on all issues and awarded injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees. To read more, go to: https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2017/08/01/new-ruling-requires-websites-to-make-ada.html

Start Spreading the News – EDNY Denies Motion to Dismiss Website Accessibility ComplaintWhile the ADA finished celebrating its 27th anniversary at the end of July, for plaintiffs looking to bring website accessibility complaints in New York the party is still ongoing. Following on the heels of last month’s decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Five Guys, Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in Andrews vs. Blick Art Materials, LLC, recently denied a motion to dismiss a website accessibility action, holding that Title III of the ADA (“Title III”), the NYS Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law all apply to websites – not only those with a nexus to brick and mortar places of public accommodation but also to cyber-only websites offering goods and services for sale to the public. Read more at: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=0945b90a-eec8-4a5b-8b48-37c3564ee2f1

Acting U.S. Attorney Settles Civil Rights Suit Against Westchester Property Management Company And Cooperative Building For Discriminating On The Basis Of Disability

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Defendants to Pay $125,000 in Damages and Penalties, Adopt Reasonable Accommodation Policies and Implement Training Programs

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States has settled a federal civil rights lawsuit against Defendants WEST-EX ASSOCIATES, INC. (“West-Ex”), and 505 CENTRAL AVENUE CORP. (“505 Central Ave.”), for discriminating on the basis of disability and refusing to provide reasonable accommodations, as required by the Fair Housing Act.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “Every member of our society is entitled to equal access to housing and the independence and dignity that it provides. With this resolution, we again emphasize that condos, cooperatives, landlords, and property managers must provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities.”

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in the terms and conditions of the sale or rental of, or to otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling based on the prospective buyer or renter’s disability. The law also mandates that reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, and services be provided when necessary to afford equal opportunity to housing to persons with disabilities.

According to the allegations in the Complaint, filed in January 2017, 505 Central Ave. maintains a 155-unit housing cooperative located in White Plains called Thompkins Manor. West-Ex acts as 505 Central Ave.’s property management company, and handles applications for housing at Thompkins Manor. Between August 2013 and July 2014, West-Ex and 505 Central Ave. repeatedly denied the application of a 34-year-old individual (the “Complainant”) to purchase a one-bedroom unit at Thompkins Manor based on his disabilities. The Complainant has suffered numerous heart attacks and lives with congenital heart problems, developmental language disorder, learning disorders, and depression. The Complainant and his family requested that ownership of his unit be placed under a legal trust, which would assist the Complainant in managing the requirements of cooperative housing. West-Ex and 505 Central Ave. unlawfully rejected this reasonable accommodation request on numerous occasions, summarily and without adequate explanation. The Complaint further alleges that West-Ex, which acts as a management company for numerous other properties in Westchester County, engaged in a pattern and practice of discriminatory conduct by maintaining a stated policy of not considering requests for reasonable accommodations by applicants like the Complainant. Following Defendants’ unlawful denial of the Complainant’s application for housing, the Complainant was forced to continue living in a boarding house with abysmal conditions, grew increasingly depressed, and suffered another heart attack.

* * *

Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, filed yesterday with an order resolving the case entered by U.S. District Judge Nelson S. Román, West-Ex and 505 Central Ave. must:

Pay a total of $125,000, including compensatory damages and attorney’s fees to the Complainant and civil penalties to the United States;
Adopt reasonable accommodation policies and application forms approved by the United States, which must be included with all future applications for housing handed out to prospective buyers; and
Provide annual training regarding the Fair Housing Act and reasonable accommodation policies to all current and future employees and agents.

In addition, 505 Central Ave. must only employ property management companies with adequate reasonable accommodation policies in place, and West-Ex may not take any action as property manager for any other property that violates its newly adopted reasonable accommodation policy.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Cha-Kim is in charge of the case.

For more information, click here.

Federal Transit Authority Webinar on Planning and Managing Park-and-Ride Facilities (Aug. 2017)

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

2-4 p.m. EDT, Tuesday September 19, 2017 | Register

Explore issues related to planning and managing park-and-ride facilities for public transportation during this webinar with contributors to the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Research Report 192: Decision-Making Toolbox to Plan and Manage Park-and-Ride Facilities for Public Transportation: Guidebook on Planning and Managing Park-and-Ride.

The webinar will discuss how transit agencies can better plan and manage park-and-ride facilities for public transportation by incorporating improved strategies and best practices. Topics include design and implementation, operations, pricing, community impacts, asset management, land use, and transit-oriented development. The presenters will provide an introduction to the guidebook content and explain how to use it.

This webinar is hosted through the Transportation Research Board. FTA sponsors the Transit Cooperative Research Program to develop innovative solutions and adapt technologies and approaches to help meet the demands placed on the nation’s public transit systems. This free webinar is eligible for two Certification Maintenance Credits from the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Webinar Presenters

Linda Cherrington, Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Kathryn Coffel, Kathryn Coffel Consulting, LLC
Paul Ryus, Kittelson & Associates, Inc.
Michael Walk, Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Katherine Turnbull, Texas A&M Transportation Institute (Moderator)

OFCCP Compliance Assistance Town Halls (Aug. 2017)

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

The compliance assistance that OFCCP provides is free and critically important to ensuring that federal contractors have the tools and resources they need to voluntarily comply with the equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination obligations required by Executive Order 11246, Section 503, and VEVRAA. We are redesigning all of our fact sheets, educational webinars, frequently asked questions, and staffed Help Desk to assist contractors with understanding and implementing these obligations.

To enhance the scope and quality of our compliance assistance through contractor outreach and education materials, OFCCP is holding three Town Hall meetings. These meetings are open to the public but will be of particular interest to human resource managers, equal employment opportunity specialists, chief compliance officers, and other personnel who are directly involved with ensuring their company’s compliance with OFCCP’s requirements. Workers, jobseekers, community groups and anyone interested in the scope of OFCCP’s work are also encouraged to attend.

During the Town Hall meetings, we want to obtain your views and learn more about the experiences of federal contractors when implementing and managing their nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunity requirements, and how we can help. If you are a worker, jobseeker, or interested organization we also want to hear from you about how we can improve our outreach to you or your organization.

The dates, city locations, and registration links for the Town Halls are listed below. Additional event details can be viewed in Event Brite. Seating will be limited, so register early.

1. Date: September 19, 2017
Time: 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM
City Location: Washington, DC
Registration Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ofccp-compliance-assistance-town-hall-registration-35797146228

2. Date: September 26, 2017
Time: 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM
City Location: San Francisco, California
Registration Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ofccp-compliance-assistance-town-hall-registration-36208818551

3. Date: September 28, 2017
Time: 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM
City Location: Chicago, Illinois
Registration Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ofccp-compliance-assistance-town-hall-registration-36209277925

If you have questions about the event please contact Priscilla Johnson at 202-693-0104 or 202-693-0101 in OFCCP’s Division of Policy and Program Development. Should you need disability accommodations to participate fully in the event you may provide that information at the time of registration in Event Brite.

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

Office of Disability Employment Policy News Brief (Aug. 11, 2017)

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

New ODEP Policies in Practice Profile — Amir Rahimi
Meet Amir Rahimi, Communications Manager at the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (ECNV), a community resource and advocacy center run by and for people with disabilities. Amir, who is blind, manages ECNV’s social media accounts, maintains the center’s website and writes news releases, as well as doing development and fundraising work. “Seeing the difference ECNV makes in people’s lives, that my colleagues make — helping people with disabilities find employment and housing and live independently — it makes me happy,” Amir said. “That’s what I love about my job.”

PEAT Talks: Neurodiversity & Workplace Technology — Archived Webinar
This PEAT Talks presentation, recorded on July 20, 2017, featured Emily Shea Tanis, PhD. She is a longtime PEAT contributor, PEAT Policy Think Tank member, and the Associate Director of the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities. During the webinar, Shea Tanis discussed why technology and information access is a critical right for everyone, and how technology solutions are changing employment opportunities for people with cognitive disabilities.

“Skills to Pay the Bills” Helps Youth Achieve Workplace Success
“Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success,” is a curriculum developed by ODEP focused on teaching “soft” or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. Created for youth development professionals as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills, the curriculum is targeted for youth ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The basic structure of the program is comprised of modular, hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

Job Accommodation Network Workplace Accommodation Toolkit Provides Resources for Businesses
The Job Accommodation Network’s suite of products includes an online tool to help businesses successfully recruit, hire and retain applicants and employees with disabilities. The Workplace Accommodation Toolkit includes sample accommodation procedures, examples of policies and forms from leading U.S. businesses, training presentations, roleplay videos, and best practices for creating an inclusive workplace for people with disabilities. The Toolkit provides inclusive practices at various phases of the employment life cycle for hiring managers and supervisors, human resource professionals, accommodation consultants, and allies of employees with disabilities.

Business Strategies That Work: A Framework for Disability Inclusion
While many employers open their doors to all qualified individuals, including those with disabilities, not all are familiar with how to ensure a disability-inclusive workplace. To help, ODEP developed “Business Strategies That Work: A Framework for Disability Inclusion.” Developed with input from a range of employers with exemplary track records in disability employment, this resource outlines numerous promising policies and practices for recruiting, hiring, retaining and advancing qualified individuals with disabilities, all framed around seven core components of an inclusive workplace.

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

FAIR HOUSING NEWS (Aug. 2017)

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Dear Colleague,

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced an agreement between a Northern California fair housing organization and the owners and managers of two apartment complexes in Greenbrae, California. The agreement resolves allegations the owners and their agents discriminated against a female tenant with disabilities who requires an assistance animal. Read the Conciliation Agreement.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing opportunities to persons with disabilities or imposing different rental terms and conditions. This includes refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices for people with disabilities.

“Landlords are required to provide a reasonable accommodation for individuals who require assistance animals,” said Bryan Greene, HUD General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to make certain that landlords meet this obligation under the nation’s fair housing laws.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when the group Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California filed a complaint alleging that the owner of the properties (Shultz Investment Co.), representatives of its management company (Greenbrae Management, Inc.) and its leasing agents discriminated against a resident who has a medical condition and requires a service dog. The animal alerts her when she is experiencing physiological changes and helps to ameliorate many of her disability-related symptoms.

The fair housing group also claimed the woman, who had lived at the property for more than 15 years, was subjected to discriminatory statements and retaliation due to the presence of her assistance animal, including false accusations that the animal was disruptive, that it bit maintenance workers, and that it was not a service animal under California law. The woman’s Housing Assistance Program voucher was ultimately cancelled, forcing her to find housing elsewhere.

A subsequent HUD investigation corroborated the woman’s need for the dog and discovered written discriminatory statements made by the property managers. HUD found no evidence indicating that the animal was disruptive or had bitten anyone.

Under the Conciliation Agreement, the respondents will pay the woman $31,000; pay Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California $41,000; and develop and implement a reasonable accommodation and reasonable modification policy consistent with the Fair Housing Act. The owners will also revise their standard lease to be consistent with the new accommodations policy; send a letter to current tenants notifying them of the new policy; and obtain fair housing training.

In addition to the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition against discrimination based on disability, HUD provided guidance in April 2013 reaffirming that housing providers must provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities who require assistance animals. Read HUD’s notice.

Disability is the most common basis of fair housing complaint filed with HUD and its partner agencies. Last year alone, HUD and its partners considered over 4,900 disability-related complaints, or more than 58 percent of all fair housing complaints that were filed.

fheo125People 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.

On-Demand Civil Rights Webcasts Available: Delivering Public-Facing Programs and Activities in Compliance with Federal Law

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Delivered by Civil Rights Expert and Author Seena Foster

In 2017, State and local government officials are applauding the webcasts, stating they are “outstanding,” “very informative,” and “extremely useful.” Each webcast is only $29.00.

Available Selection

Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act: An Overview

Compliance with the Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: A Comprehensive Overview

Discrimination Complaint Investigations under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act:  Proper Process and Technique

State and local government officials responsible for the delivery of, or monitoring the delivery of, services, aid, training, or benefits to the public must comply with Federal civil rights laws. These laws also apply to service providers, on-the-job trainers, contractors, and partners that assist in delivering public-facing programs and activities. Our webcasts provide practical training for new and experienced professionals working in the area of equal opportunity.

Because the webcasts are on-demand and certificate-based, they provide a convenient and inexpensive way to acquire and document training of staff, contractors, service providers, and partners.

How to register:
To register, simply click on the “Webcast Registration” icon on the left side of this blog. Or, go to https://engage.vevent.com/rt/titleviconsulting.

Cost-effective.  Only $29.00 each. No travel costs.  No lost time from work. These webcasts are absolutely the best value for your dollar!

Content-rich.  Each webcast is packed with useful information, guidance, and helpful tips. Each participant receives a copy of the detailed PowerPoint presentation for the webcast, which may be used as a checklist going forward.

Certificate-based.  Within three to five weeks, each participant who registers and attends the webcast will receive a personalized, signed “Certificate of Completion” to document the training.  

Title: Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act: An Overview
Description:
This popular webcast provides an informative overview of how to comply with the nondiscrimination mandates of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI applies to the administration, oversight, and delivery process of all state and local programs and activities that are federally-assisted. In this webcast, we’ll focus on the scope and meaning of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and we will touch on a variety of compliance-related issues, including environmental justice, serving limited English proficient populations, contracting and procurement, discrimination complaints, harassment and hostile environment, training, monitoring, and data collection. Participants will understand the meaning of race, color, and national origin-based discrimination through Ms. Foster’s use of a variety of easy-to-understand examples. And, participants will learn about surprising federal enforcement policies to include certain types of religious-based discrimination as prohibited under Title VI. A detailed PowerPoint is available for download to viewers of this webcast.

Title: Compliance with the Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: A Comprehensive Overview
Description: 
This webcast provides a wealth of information, guidance, and tips to help you ensure compliance with the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions of Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and related Federal civil rights laws that apply to the administration, oversight, and delivery process for WIOA Title I-financially assisted programs and activities. In this webcast, we’ll cover a broad range of compliance issues, including taglines, assurances, Equal Opportunity officers (their selection and duties, and the recipients’ obligations in support of EO officers), serving persons with disabilities, serving LEP populations, differences between program complaints and discrimination complaints, harassment and hostile environment, and data collection, including requirements for the discrimination complaint log and storage of medical information. A detailed PowerPoint, updated after promulgation of the final version of the WIOA regulations at 29 C.F.R. Part 38, is available for download to viewers of the webcast.

Title: Discrimination Complaint Investigations under the Workforce Investment Act:  Proper Process and Technique
Description:
This webcast covers the discrimination complaint investigation process from start to finish, including determining jurisdiction, developing a complaint investigation plan, framing the issue of an investigation, developing interrogatories, preparing a letter of acceptance, gathering and analyzing information, interviewing the parties and witnesses, and writing the notice of final action.  Each participant of this webcast will receive a set of templates that they may customize and use for their investigations, including a jurisdiction checklist, sample complaint investigation plans, sample notices rejecting a complaint, a sample letter of acceptance, and a sample notice of final action. Complaint investigation templates and a detailed PowerPoint are available for download to viewers of the webcast. Complaint processing templates and a detailed PowerPoint are available for download to viewers of the webcast.

About Seena Foster
Seena Foster, award-winning civil rights author and Principal of the discrimination consulting firm, Title VI Consulting in Alexandria, Virginia, provides expertise and guidance in the areas of compliance and civil rights investigations to state and local governments, colleges and universities, private companies, and non-profit organizations. To that end, she offers one-hour on-demand webcasts, full-day and half-day in-person training sessions, discrimination complaint investigation assistance, and mediation services addressing a variety of types of discrimination such as racial discrimination, sex discrimination, disability discrimination, age discrimination, and religious discrimination. Federal non-discrimination laws are complex, and they affect our workplaces as well as the delivery of our Federally-funded programs and activities. Her book, Civil Rights Investigations under the Workforce Investment Act and Other Title VI Related Laws: From Intake to Final Determination, has been described as an “eye-opening” reading experience and a “stand-alone” training resource. Ms. Foster’s resources and materials are designed to support the work of civil rights and discrimination professionals in the public and private sectors.

Her background includes 24 years as Senior Legal Advisor to the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, where she drafted decisions and orders and developed resources and aids promoting consistency and efficiency in several national adjudication programs. In 2012, Ms. Foster received the U.S. Secretary of Labor’s Exceptional Achievement Award “for outstanding leadership and legal guidance in helping the Office of Administrative Law Judges address the major changes in law” stemming from enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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 CRC Director Annabelle Lockhart, 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 Section 188 disability checklist, conducting discrimination complaint investigations and writing final determinations, and conducting investigations of allegations involving harassment and hostile environment.

Ms. Foster is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School, and she carries certification in federal workplace mediation from the Northern Virginia Mediation Service as well as mediation certification from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI). Ms. Foster also is a member of the Human Rights and Discrimination Law committees of the International Bar Association. You may contact her at seena@titleviconsulting.com.

Office of Disability Employment Policy News Brief (Aug. 2017)

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

ODEP Announces National Disability Employment Awareness Month Theme — “Inclusion Drives Innovation”
“Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition, and drives innovation.”

The 2017 NDEAM poster will be coming soon!

PEAT Talks: Making Tech Fields Accessible — August 17, 2-3 PM ET
PEAT Talks, hosted by the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT), is a monthly virtual speaker series to showcase organizations and individuals whose work is advancing accessible technology in the workplace. In the August PEAT Talks, EvoXLabs founder Ather Sharif will discuss his experiences in making tech-focused workplaces more inclusive, from building technology solutions to how and why EvoXLabs developed a partnership with Access Computing at the University of Washington that connects students with disabilities with mentors and internships in tech.

EARN & HERC to Host “Creating Inclusive Higher Education Work Environments for People with Mental Health Disabilities” — September 14, 1-2 PM ET
In higher education, as in all industries, workplace policies and practices that support employment success for people with mental health conditions are also sound management practices that benefit all workers and employers. To explore this issue in depth, the ODEP-funded Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) and the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC), an ODEP Alliance partner, will host a free webinar on September 14, 2017, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET. While this webinar is geared toward the higher education environment, much of the information that will be shared is applicable to any industry, and all interested employers are encouraged to participate.

NCWD/Youth Highlights YouthACT Teams
The Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT) is a national initiative to get more youth with disabilities and their allies involved as leaders who partner with adults and organizations to improve opportunities for youth to succeed in life. Led by ODEP’s National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), YouthACT aims to increase positive youth-adult partnerships where young people and adults work together, share power, and support and learn from each other to build stronger communities. NCWD/Youth has posted profiles of seven YouthACT teams from around the country.

JAN Releases Quarterly E-News
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has released its quarterly E-News, designed to inform readers about low-cost and innovative accommodation approaches; the latest trends in assistive technologies; announcements of upcoming JAN presentations, media events, trainings and webcasts; and legislative and policy updates promoting the employment success of people with disabilities. Featured articles include “Service Dog Breed Exclusions and the ADA,” “Postpartum Depression,” “What Does Reasonable Mean? – A Deconstructive Series for ADA Terminology,” and more.

HUD Housing Discrimination Grants Available! (Aug. 2017)

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today it is making $38 million available to fight housing discrimination through the Department’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP). The grants offered through three FHIP funding notices will support a variety of critical fair housing activities, including fair housing testing in the rental and sales market, public education efforts, capacity building, and education and outreach activities. Read HUD’s Notices of Funding Availability. Applications must be received by September 18, 2017.

Each year, HUD makes funding available to support organizations interested in enforcing fair housing laws and policies, as well as educating the public, housing providers, and local governments about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
The categories of grants announced today are:

Education and Outreach Initiative grants (EOI) – $7,450,000 is available to organizations that educate the public and housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under federal law. The grants can also support state and local organizations that enforce fair housing laws that are equivalent to the federal Fair Housing Act. This year’s EOI funds include $1 million for a national media campaign. (Search FR-6100-N-21-A on Grants.gov)

Fair Housing Organizations Initiative (FHOI) – $500,000 is available to help build the capacity and effectiveness of non-profit fair housing organizations, particularly organizations that focus on the rights and needs of underserved groups, such as rural and immigrant populations. (Search FR-6100-N-21B on Grants.gov)

Private Enforcement Initiative grants (PEI) – Total PEI multi-year funding is $30.35 million is available to organizations that conduct intake, testing, investigation and litigation of fair housing complaints under the Fair Housing Act. (Search FR-6100-N-21C on Grants.gov)

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.