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Archive for June, 2016

New “Digest of EEO Law” Issued by EEOC (June 30, 2016)

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Includes Key Federal Sector Decisions, Article on Compensatory Damages

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the latest edition of its federal sector Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEO Digest), which is available online.

This edition (Fiscal Year 2016, Volume 3) features a special article entitled, Compensatory Damages: An Overview of the Law and Recent Commission Decisions.

“The article on compensatory damage awards is a ‘must read’ for all federal agencies and employees alike,” said Carlton M. Hadden, Director of EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO). “This article is a great resource and identifies recent case law on this important topic.”

The EEO Digest, a quarterly publication prepared by OFO, features a wide variety of recent Commission decisions and federal court cases of interest. The Digest also includes hyperlinks so that stakeholders can easily access the full decisions which have been summarized.

This edition of the Digest contains summaries of noteworthy decisions issued by the EEOC, including cases involving: Agency Processing, Findings of the Merits, Attorney’s Fees, Remedies, Compensatory Damages, Sanctions, Remedies, Dismissals, Settlement Agreements, Stating a Claim, and Timeliness.

The summaries are neither intended to be exhaustive or definitive as to the selected subject matter, nor are they to be given the legal weight of case law in citations. In addition to the quarterly Digest, Commission federal sector decisions are available on EEOC’s website. The public may also receive federal sector information updates and news items via Twitter: @EEOC_OFO.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination in the public and private sectors. Further information about EEOC is available online at

Justice Department Issues Updated Guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act Checklist for Polling Places (July 1, 2016)

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Yesterday the Justice Department published updated guidance on the accessibility of polling places under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The publication, “ADA Checklist for Polling Places,” aims to help state and local government election officials, poll workers and voters better understand the basic accessibility features necessary to allow voters with mobility and vision disabilities to access their polling place.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division works vigorously to protect the right of all eligible voters to participate in our democracy. Unfortunately, exclusions and barriers to the ballot box, including inaccessible polling places, still exist for voters with disabilities. In 2008, GAO reported that across the United States, only 27% of polling places were accessible to voters with disabilities during the presidential election. The revised ADA Checklist for Polling Places provides helpful guidance to election officials so they can improve polling place accessibility and provide voters with disabilities the same opportunities as other voters to cast their ballots at polling places, alongside their neighbors and friends.

Title II of the ADA requires state and local governments to ensure that people with disabilities have a full and equal opportunity to vote. With respect to polling places, counties and cities are required to select and use polling places that are physically accessible to people with a variety of disabilities, such as those who use wheelchairs, scooters or other devices; those who have difficulty walking or using stairs; or those who are blind or have vision loss.

In 2010, the department published revised ADA regulations, including the Standards for Accessible Design. The ADA Checklist for Polling Places incorporates these changes. The checklist includes a discussion on polling place accessibility with a focus on those areas of a facility that may be used as a polling place on election day; a list of tools, helpful tips and temporary remedies for making polling places accessible; and a revised checklist formatted as a stand-alone survey document that may be used by election officials to assess the accessibility of their polling places.

The updated checklist is a component of the department’s efforts to secure equal voting rights for people with disabilities. Last year, the Civil Rights Division, partnering with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the nation, launched the ADA Voting Initiative to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in the voting process, including in this year’s presidential elections. The ADA Voting Initiative covers all aspects of voting, from voter registration to casting ballots at neighborhood polling places. U.S. Attorneys’ Offices may investigate the physical accessibility of local polling places, review state and local voting policies and procedures impacting voters with disabilities and assess whether actions taken by officials and others deny voters with disabilities the full and equal exercise of their voting rights.

The Civil Rights Division has published additional technical assistance publications about federal laws that protect the rights of voters with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act and the Help America Vote Act. The publication, “The Americans with Disabilities Act and Other Federal Laws Protecting the Rights of Voters with Disabilities,” is intended to help election officials, poll workers and voters understand how the ADA and other federal laws ensure equality in the voting process for people with disabilities. A second document, “Solutions for Five Common ADA Access Problems at Polling Places,” discusses physical barriers to access to voters with disabilities in five commonly found areas at polling places and offers solutions for addressing them.

To view the ADA Checklist for Polling Places, visit

To learn more about the ADA and other laws protecting the rights of voters with disabilities, visit Those interested in finding out more about the ADA can call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD), or access the ADA website at

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (June 24, 2016)

Friday, June 24th, 2016

For more information, go to

Celebrating the 17th Anniversary of the Olmstead Decision
In a June 22 post on the White House blog, Maria Town, Associate Director for the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights, reflect on the 17th anniversary of the Olmstead v. L.C. Supreme Court decision that ruled that, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities cannot be unnecessarily segregated and must receive services in the most integrated setting possible. The blog discusses the Obama administration’s efforts in enforcing Olmstead over the past eight years, including filing briefs in 50 Olmstead integration matters in 25 states. It also tells the stories of two individuals whose lives were changed because of Olmstead.

National Family and Community Engagement Conference Welcomes ODEP Chief of Staff Taryn Williams
On June 21, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Chief of Staff Taryn Williams served on a panel at the 2016 National Family and Community Engagement Conference in Pittsburgh, PA., focusing on ways that family involvement is a critical element in predicting successful transition from adolescence to adulthood and the world of work for all young people, including youth from disadvantaged populations. The conference was sponsored by the Institute for Educational Leadership, which also houses ODEP’s youth technical assistance center, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth).

BLS Releases Labor Force Characteristics for Persons with a Disability
The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has issued an Economic News Release on “Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics,” which shows, among other statistics, that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities fell to 10.7% in 2015 from 12.5% in 2014. The data on persons with a disability are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides statistics on employment and unemployment in the United States. The collection of data on persons with a disability is sponsored by DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

LEAD Center to Host Twitter Chat on Promoting Inclusive Career Pathways — #LEADChat — June 30, 3:00-4:00 PM ET
The LEAD Center will hold its inaugural Twitter chat on Promoting Inclusive Career Pathways on June 30, 3:00-4:00 PM ET. Over the next several months, the LEAD Center will focus on strategies and practices to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities, and others who face barriers to employment, in career pathways initiatives. The goal of this Twitter chat is to provide participants the opportunity to inform the LEAD Center’s work, by posing questions, sharing successes, and identifying barriers. To join the Twitter chat, use the hashtag #LEADChat or visit the LEAD Center’s Twitter page (@LEADCtr).

AAPD Seeks Disability Mentoring Day Coordinators
Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is a large-scale national effort coordinated by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) to promote career development for students and job-seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration and ongoing mentoring relationships. While DMD has been and continues to be officially launched the third Wednesday of each October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the foundation of the program has expanded from a one-day event to an extensive national mentoring program for young professionals with disabilities across the United States, territories, and abroad. The growth of DMD is made possible by the unwavering work of DMD Coordinators across the country who volunteer their time to host and manage the logistical requirements for local and regional programs. If you or anyone you know may be interested or want additional information on becoming a DMD coordinator, please send an email to

ADA National Network Celebrates the ADA Anniversary
The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)-funded ADA National Network has released the ADA Anniversary Tool Kit in anticipation of the 26th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26. The tool kit includes links to resources, publications, and ADA events and celebrations. Visitors are also invited to take the ADA Anniversary Pledge. The ADA National Network provides information, guidance, and training on the ADA, including a diverse collection of factsheets, guides, webinars, webcourses, and more.

Justice Department Reaches Settlement to Reform Criminal Justice System in Hinds County, Mississippi (June 2016)

Friday, June 24th, 2016

The Justice Department today reached a landmark settlement agreement to reform the criminal justice system in Hinds County, Mississippi. The agreement resolves the department’s findings that the Hinds County Adult Detention Center and the Jackson City Detention Center – which together form the Hinds County Jail – failed to protect prisoners from violence and excessive force and held them past their court-ordered release dates, in violation of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA).

The settlement agreement is the first of its kind to incorporate broader criminal justice system reform through diversion at the front end and reentry to the community after incarceration. It creates a criminal justice coordinating committee that will help ensure the county’s systems operate effectively and efficiently, develop interventions to divert individuals in appropriate cases from arrest, detention and incarceration, and engage in community outreach. To promote successful reentry, the agreement includes mechanisms for notifying community health providers when a person with serious mental illness is released to help the person transition safely back to the community. The agreement also addresses unlawful enforcement of court-ordered fines and fees by ensuring that the county cannot incarcerate an individual for non-payment if the court does not first assess whether the individual is indigent.

“Across the board, this settlement will make the Hinds County criminal justice system smarter and fairer,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “If implemented, these reforms will make pretrial detainees, prisoners, corrections staff and the entire community safer, while also ensuring that vulnerable individuals get access to the treatment, care and community services they need and deserve. We commend the county for its commitment to making these reforms a reality.”

“For too long, the conditions in the Jail have posed a serious challenge to law enforcement and the safety of our community,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis of the Southern District of Mississippi. “I appreciate the commitment made by Hinds County officials to turn the page and begin making necessary reforms.”

The settlement agreement – subject to approval by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Mississippi – requires the county to implement a series of reforms across various stages of the criminal justice system, including the following:

Improve safety and security within the jail through better staffing and supervision, revised policies and physical plant improvements;
Limit the use of segregation and improve access to screening, treatment and community-based services for special needs prisoners, including juveniles and prisoners with serious mental illness;
Improve mental health and youth services, including better integration of jail operations with local community mental health and youth programs;
Enhance communication and coordination among different agencies involved with the criminal justice process; and
Ensure compliance with due process liberty protections as prisoners navigate the criminal justice system.

Together these reforms aim to improve communication and coordination among criminal justice entities and community service providers to help individuals with mental illness transition back to the community and to reduce recidivism. If approved by the federal district court, an independent monitor will be appointed to assess the county’s compliance.

In May 2015, the Justice Department completed a comprehensive investigation – which included on-site inspections, document reviews and stakeholder interviews by department experts and staff – and issued a findings letter that determined that Hinds County Adult Detention Center and the Jackson City Detention Center violated CRIPA by failing to protect prisoners from violence by other prisoners and from improper use of force by staff. The department also found that inadequate staffing and training, a backlog in record filing and a lack of centralized information resulted in prisoners being held beyond court-ordered release dates.

CRIPA authorizes the department to seek a remedy for a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the constitutional rights of persons confined in a jail, prison or other correctional facility. For more information on the Civil Rights Division’s work in this area, please visit

The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity Hails the Supreme Court’s Decision in the Fisher v. University of Texas Case (June 2016)

Friday, June 24th, 2016

The University Properly Demonstrated its Consideration of Race Was Narrowly Tailored to Achieve Diversity

For Immediate Release: June 23, 2016
Contact: Shirley J. Wilcher, Executive Director

Washington, DC, June 23, 2016 – The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED), an organization of equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity professionals, is very pleased that the United States Supreme Court has upheld the consideration of race as one of many factors in the admissions program of the University of Texas at Austin. In a 4 – 3 opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court ruled in favor of the University of Texas at Austin and its efforts to achieve a diverse student body.

Abigail Noel Fisher, an applicant who was denied admission to the University in 2008, sought the Supreme Court’s re-review after the lower court upheld the University’s program when the case was remanded in 2013. Fisher asserted that she was denied admission because the university impermissibly considered race as a factor in its decision. She sought to bar any consideration of race in the admissions process.

In 2013 and 2015, AAAED filed amicus curiae briefs in support of the University of Texas. The association argued, inter alia, that the University of Texas at Austin worked hard to develop a fair and inclusive admissions program that contributed to diversity on campus in the broadest sense of the word without unduly burdening anyone. The association also argued that the steps the University took to promote diversity were “narrowly tailored,” – another constitutional requirement – and necessary to achieve the compelling state interest.

AAAED President Marshall Rose stated: “Now that the Supreme Court has handed down its second decision in Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, we wish to underscore that diversity remains a compelling interest, that colleges and universities may take race into account among many factors as part of a holistic admissions program, and that the limited inclusion of race can be done in a way that passes constitutional muster.”

In today’s decision the Supreme Court ruled that the University made the requisite showing that it had explored race-neutral alternatives, including the Texas Ten Percent Plan (top ten percent of Texas high school graduates are automatically admitted) and justified the consideration of race, among other factors, in order to achieve a diverse student body.

The Fisher case was unique in that the University’s admissions process was governed in part by the Texas Ten Percent Plan passed by the Legislature. In that plan, UT Austin had to admit students from Texas who graduated in the top ten percent of their classes. This plan was instituted after the Fifth Circuit in Hopwood (1996) struck down the inclusion of race in admissions decisions. Due to the existing racial segregation in the State, the plan had the effect of affording an opportunity for students of color to attend the flagship institution. Three quarters of the student body were admitted through this plan.

The Court rejected Ms. Fisher’s argument that the University must set forth more precisely the level of minority enrollment that would constitute a “critical mass.” The Court stated that, “The compelling interest that justifies consideration of race in college admissions is not an interest in enrolling a certain number of minority students. Rather, a university may institute a race-conscious admissions program as a means of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from student body diversity” (Emphasis added). It also reiterated the Court’s previous decision in the Grutter v. Bollinger case that, “enrolling a diverse student body promotes cross-racial understanding, helps to break down racial stereotypes, and enables students to better understand persons of different races.” UT’s explanation of its diversity goals was also “reasoned and principled,” based on a comprehensive study that showed its race-neutral approach was not successful.

“In this increasingly diverse nation, our future depends upon all qualified individuals receiving a chance to compete in education, employment and business and we commend the University of Texas at Austin for its courage and the Court for its wisdom in reaching the right result for this nation,” added President Rose.

Office of Disability Employment Policy: Business $ense (June 24, 2016)

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Small Business Spotlight: Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

At the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company — a craft beer brewery in Bloomfield, Connecticut — employees with disabilities are an integral and productive part of the workforce. The company credits much of its success on the diversity and inclusion front to community partnerships, which are a proven strategy for building a pipeline of talented job candidates with disabilities.

Over the past five years, the brewery has benefitted from a winning recruitment partnership with Oak Hill, a service provider to people with disabilities throughout Connecticut. Oak Hill helps Thomas Hooker fill positions with qualified individuals with disabilities, and the relationship has yielded excellent results that are a true “win-win.” The company benefits from the work of great employees with disabilities, while the workers themselves experience life-changing employment opportunities.

The employees sourced through Oak Hill are engaged in meaningful work, performing integral business tasks for the company. In addition to training them on their specific job tasks, Thomas Hooker also educates its employees on effective ways of working together, while reinforcing the values of independent living.

“Words can’t explain how proud I am of our partnership with our Oak Hill team members, and how they have become an integral part of not only our operation, but the culture of our company,” says Curt A. Cameron, Thomas Hooker Brewing Company president and member of the Connecticut Business Leadership Network.

For more information on effective recruitment partnerships, and other promising practices, access Small Business and Disability Employment: Steps to Success, which provides practical guidance for small businesses on how to recruit and retain qualified people with disabilities.

Editor’s Note: In our efforts to update small businesses on valuable disability employment resources and exemplary practices, “Business Sense” is launching a Small Business Spotlight feature. This is the first in a periodic series of issues showcasing the experiences of actual small businesses that are working to foster a disability-inclusive workplace culture. If you know of additional small businesses we should feature here, please tell us about them by contacting the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN).

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (June 17, 2016)

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities to Meet July 20-21, 2016

The next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) will take place on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, and Thursday, July 21, 2016. The meeting will be open to the public on Wednesday, July 20 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM EDT. On Thursday, July 21, the meeting will be open to the public from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM EDT. The meeting will take place at the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004-1111. On July 20th and 21st, the Committee will review, discuss, and finalize the latest draft of the final report. The Committee will also hear from a panel of experts regarding the most recent developments in increasing competitive integrated employment at the state level. In addition, a representative of the Department will thank the Committee members for their work. Public comments must be submitted by July 8, 2016.

Wage and Hour to Offer Free Seminars to Assist Employers and Community Rehabilitation Programs in Complying with Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) will offer free seminars in July, August, and September to assist employers and community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) in complying with section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Guardians and family members of workers with disabilities are invited and encouraged to attend as well. These compliance seminars will cover a range of topics including the certification process, performing prevailing wage determinations and conducting time studies. The Department’s online calculators will be featured. Discussions will also include areas where WHD staff have found compliance problems in past years, such as common errors made by section 14(c) certificate holders, calculating commensurate wages and accurately tracking hours worked. Seminars will also address impacts of Executive Order 13658, which establishes a minimum wage for certain federal contractors, as well as the provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) that restrict the payment of a subminimum wage. There is no fee to attend this conference; however, space is limited. Registration links for each location are listed below.

Follow the CDE — In an Instant!

The Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) is now on Instagram! A multifaceted outreach campaign funded by ODEP and supported by several leading business and disability organizations, the CDE helps educate about the value and talent people with disabilities add to America’s workplaces and economy. With a strong focus on positive imagery and messages about disability and employment, the campaign’s Instagram presence will help further showcase its core message that “at work, it’s what people CAN do that matters.” Whatever social media platforms you use, be sure to follow the CDE today!

Employers Gather to Discuss Accessible Technology

On June 16, a group of companies known as the “Circle” gathered at U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) offices in Alexandria, Va. for their semi-annual in-person meeting. The agenda focused on the expanding definition of accessibility in the digital age and the importance of ensuring workplace technologies, including online application platforms, are accessible to employees and potential employees with disabilities. The presenters included Timothy Creagan, Senior Accessibility Specialist with the U.S. Access Board, and Josh Christianson, Project Director of the ODEP-funded Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT). The Circle is managed by USBLN as part of its partnership in the ODEP-funded Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion.

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) has issued its June 13 newsletter, featuring information on submitting nominations for the Viscardi Achievement Awards, an online course on ADA and employment, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, upcoming web events, and more.

ACL Celebrates 17 Years of Olmstead in Action

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is celebrating the 17th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v LC that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities cannot be unnecessarily segregated and must receive services in the most integrated setting possible. From June 6th to 24th, ACL is inviting individuals and organizations to share stories of the impact of Olmstead on the lives of people with disabilities and older adults. Use the hashtag #OlmsteadAction on blogs and social media to share individual stories or highlight organization efforts to promote independence and community living for older adults and people with disabilities.

National Work Incentives Seminar Event — June 22, 3:00-4:30 PM ET

The Social Security Administration’s National Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) webinar, “Ticket to Work: Free Employment Support for Young Adults with Disabilities,” will be presented on Wednesday, June 22, 3:00-4:30 PM ET. The webinar is aimed at those who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to make more money through work. Information will be provided on Social Security programs and rules such as Ticket to Work and Work Incentives, and resources especially for young adults such as tips for transitioning to employment and information on the Youth Transitions Collaborative.

OFCCP Publishes 2016 Annual VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark (June 2016)

Friday, June 17th, 2016

OFCCP has published the 2016 Annual Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) Benchmark on its Web site based on data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on March 4, 2016. The benchmark – 6.9 percent – is effective as of that BLS release date.

Contractors who adopted the previous year’s national benchmark of 7 percent after March 4, 2016, but prior to this announcement may keep their benchmark at 7 percent. Going forward, the effective date for the Annual VEVRAA Benchmark will match the date that BLS publishes the data from which OFCCP calculates the Annual VEVRAA Benchmark – around the beginning of March.

Effective dates for all Annual VEVRAA Benchmarks are available at

OFCCP Announces its Final Rule Updating Sex Discrimination Guidelines (June 2016)

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Today, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a Final Rule that sets forth the requirements that covered contractors must meet under the provisions of Executive Order 11246 that prohibit sex discrimination in employment.

This Final Rule replaces the outdated sex discrimination guidelines from 1970 with new regulations that align with current law and address the realities of today’s workplaces. The Final Rule deals with a variety of sex-based barriers to equal employment and fair pay, including compensation discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, a lack of workplace accommodations for pregnant workers, and gender identity and family caregiving discrimination. The effective date of the Final Rule is August 15, 2016.

View the Final Rule, frequently asked questions, fact sheets, and other helpful resources on OFCCP’s Sex Discrimination Rule Web page at

Register for a Webinar introducing the general requirements of the Final Rule at:

Justice Department: New Webinar! Form I-9 & E-Verify Employer Responsibilities (June 2016)

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Join the virtual presentation on Form I-9 & E-Verify Employer Responsibilities to:

Get answers to Form I-9 & E-Verify questions
Hear how to prevent immigration-related employment discrimination
Learn about Form I-9 compliance and fines, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) IMAGE program
Gain access to free employer resources and tools

This webinar is hosted by USCIS, the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), and ICE. Space is limited. Click to register now for FREE. Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 12:00 PM ET

View a complete list of OSC’s upcoming webinars. Sign up here to receive future OSC news and upcoming events.

Feel free to contact us:

Worker hotline: 1-800-255-7688

Employer hotline: 1-800-255-8155

TTY: 1-800-237-2515


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