Disability Law - Archive

EEOC Lawsuit Against FedEx Ground on behalf of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

November 20, 2014 in Disability Law, Transportation



The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently filed a nationwide lawsuit against FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. (“FedEx Ground”) alleging that FedEx Ground discriminated against deaf or hard-of-hearing Package Handlers or applicants for the Package Handler position in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  EEOC alleges that FedEx Ground violated the ADA by, for example, failing to provide deaf or hard-of-hearing Package Handler applicants or employees with effective communication accommodations during the hiring process, in orientation and training, and for work-related meetings and communications.   You can find more information about this lawsuit at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/10-10-14.cfm.

We are attempting to reach deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals nationwide who may have applied for, or worked as, a Package Handler with FedEx Ground and who may be covered by the lawsuit.  We would appreciate your assistance in circulating information about this lawsuit to your members, including by posting about it on your website and including it in newsletters, e-mails, or other communications with your members.  In notifying your members about this lawsuit, we ask that you include the following link – http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/litigation/fedex.cfm – which contains an ASL informational video about the lawsuit.  Persons who think they are covered by the lawsuit should contact the EEOC by e-mailing fedexgroundlawsuit@eeoc.gov or by leaving a message, through Video Relay Service, at 215-440-2670.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank You.

Thomas D. Rethage, Jr.
Senior Trial Attorney
U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission
801 Market St., Suite 1300
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3127
Ph: 215.440.2683
Fax: 215.440.2848



VAD Sponsored Legislative Training on Sat, Nov 15

October 2, 2014 in Community Events, Disability Law



Virginia Association of the Deaf and Gallaudet University Regional Center – Southeast is sponsoring a Legislative Training event on Saturday, November 15th.

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided by VAD
* First come, first served up to 40 participants
* Participants will receive Certificate of Attendance NAD Legislative Training

Workshop will be held at:
VA Dept. for Aging and Rehabilitative Services 8004 Franklin Farms Drive Henrico, VA 23229


Register today or before November 1st to book one of the 40 available seats! 

See attachment for more information.

Download PDF Attachment


Sent by Virginia Association of the Deaf, Inc.


Rally Friday Sept 12th for Deaf and Hard of Hearing to serve in U.S. military

September 11, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law

Advocacy Alert -

Come to the Rally To Celebrate Legislation Supporting a Department of Defense Demonstration Program For the Accession to Active Duty of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals

September 12, 2014 Friday
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Assembling at Lafayette Park at the northern lawn of the White House

Directions and Route of Rally

Rally Information


Mom-To-Be Sues To Have Accommodations In Delivery Room

September 5, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law



Disability Scoop
By September 2, 2014
Article in Disability Scoop

Sometime this month or next, Cheylla Silva will be admitted to Baptist Hospital in Miami to give birth to her second child. The delivery will be high-risk: Silva suffers from high blood pressure and other complications.

Silva is hoping the delivery goes smoothly because if there are serious problems, she might be at a loss to communicate with her doctors and nurses. Silva is profoundly deaf, and, for months, Baptist administrators have refused to provide her with an American sign language interpreter, she says.

Late last week, Silva filed an emergency motion in federal court, asking U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams to order Baptist to provide the interpreter, arguing the hospital’s refusal to do so violates the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, a landmark civil rights law signed by then-President George Bush in 1990.

Baptist’s obligation, the suit says, “is to ensure that deaf patients be provided an equal opportunity to participate in their care and treatment.”

“One of the essential elements of personal dignity,” the pleading adds, “is the ability to obtain the necessary information to make an adequate and informed choice about one’s own medical treatment. Medical treatment and childbirth are some of the most intense and important experiences for a person.”

Through a telephonic interpreter, Silva said her experiences at Baptist, which is near where she lives, have frequently been frustrating. “Can you imagine going to a doctor’s office and not being able to understand what they are talking about? And it’s about your care. How would you feel?”

Read more . . . →

26-Year-Old Deaf-Blind Lawyer Sues Scribd For Alleged Discrimination

August 28, 2014 in Disability Law


Business Insider
AUG. 20, 2014

A deaf-blind attorney who made Business Insider’s 2013 list of the 20 most impressive Harvard Law students is now fighting for the rights of blind readers in a lawsuit against digital subscription reading service Scribd, seeking equal access for the blind. 

Haben Girma made Business Insider’s 2013 list for her work advocating on behalf of people with disabilities. Now, at 26, she is continuing her efforts as a Skadden Fellowship Attorney with the nonprofit law firm Disability Rights Advocates. There, Girma is representing the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and blind Vermont mother Heidi Viens in a lawsuit against Scribd for allegedly depriving blind readers access to its online services in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/haben-girma-sues-scribd-2014-8



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/haben-girma-sues-scribd-2014-8#ixzz3BhNLnPDi

Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Baltimore to Prevent Disability Discrimination

August 28, 2014 in Disability Law


Justice News, Department of Justice
Article Source

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Justice Department Reaches Agreement with the City of Baltimore
to Prevent Disability Discrimination

City of Baltimore to Pay $65,000 in Damages and Adopt New Policies and Procedures

The Justice Department today announced that it has reached an agreement with the city of Baltimore, Maryland, to end hiring practices that discriminate against people with disabilities.  The agreement, filed as a consent decree along with a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, resolves allegations by the department that the city engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability in various aspects of employment, including hiring.

Read more . . . →

Coverage For Bone-Anchored Hearing Devices To End ?

August 21, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology


AG Bell Learn

Thursday, August 21, 2014 / ListeningandSpokenLanguage.org

On July 11, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a new rule that would reclassify bone-anchored implants (i.e., osseointegrated hearing implants) from a prosthetic device to a hearing aid. This would effectively end Medicare reimbursement, since hearing aids are not covered under Medicare.

If the rule is adopted, it will affect thousands of people who do not benefit from hearing aids and people who need to replace or update their bone-anchored implant. The proposed changes threaten to eliminate what may be the best—and only—option for individuals with microtia, atresia, conductive hearing losses and single-sided deafness. Click here and here for more background and information.

There are only 10 days left to submit comments to CMS on the proposed rule! The comment period ends on September 2, and the final ruling by CMS is expected sometime around November 1. Click here to submit comments. Click here for guidance on comment submission for professionals, candidates, recipients, caregivers and supporters.


Petition to have Medicare cover hearing aids under HR 3150

August 14, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Disability Law, Technology



Petition To Pass HR 3150

We need Congress to pass HR 3150 so that hearing aids are covered by Medicare.

To be delivered to The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate

We need Congress to pass HR 3150 so that hearing aids are covered by Medicare.


Hearing aids should not be the new status symbol for the rich. The right to hear is a civil or human right.

Thanks to Janice Schacter Lintz, Chair, Hearing Access Program

Deaf advocacy groups to Verizon: Don’t kill net neutrality on our behalf

July 31, 2014 in Disability Law, Technology



Verizon claimed Internet fast lanes will help deaf, blind, and disabled.

ars technica
by Jon Brodkin
July 22 2014
Article Source

No company has lobbied more fiercely against network neutrality than Verizon, which filed the lawsuit that overturned the FCC’s rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking and discriminating against Web content. But the absence of net neutrality rules isn’t just good for Verizon—it’s also good for the blind, deaf, and disabled, Verizon claims.

That’s what Verizon lobbyists said in talks with congressional staffers, according to a Mother Jones report last month. “Three Hill sources tell Mother Jones that Verizon lobbyists have cited the needs of blind, deaf, and disabled people to try to convince congressional staffers and their bosses to get on board with the fast lane idea,” the report said. With “fast lanes,” Web services—including those designed for the blind, deaf, and disabled—could be prioritized in exchange for payment.

Now, advocacy groups for deaf people have filed comments with the FCC saying they don’t agree with Verizon’s position.

“We also take this opportunity to express our concern over the reported contentions of at least one broadband provider that the Commission should facilitate ‘fast lanes’—essentially permitting paid prioritization—for the sake of accessibility,” the groups wrote . . .

Read more 

NDI Report Finds Adults with Disabilities Continue to be Economically Shortchanged

July 31, 2014 in Disability Law, Research



As the U.S. celebrates the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, a first-of-its-kind report shows people with disabilities are less financially stable than people without disabilities

(Washington, D.C. – July 22, 2014) – A new report released today from National Disability Institute (NDI) shows 24 years after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law and guaranteed all individuals with disabilities the opportunity to achieve “economic self-sufficiency,”people with disabilities are less financially stable than people without disabilities.

Based on data collected from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s 2012 National Financial Capability Study released last year, this groundbreaking report highlights for the first time a nationwide snapshot of the financial capability and financial wellness of adults with disabilities.

National Disability Institute’s report, Financial Capability of Adults with Disabilities – Findings from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation 2012 National Financial Capability Study,analyzed data from 1,363 of the more than 25,000 respondents to the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS) self-identifying as “permanently sick, disabled or unable to work.” While the report analyzes one segment of people with disabilities, the results provide an important lens on the financial capability of many Americans with disabilities. According to U.S. Census data, nearly one in three people with disabilities in the United States live in poverty, a figure nearly double the national poverty rate.

Read more . . . →

DOJ pushes rules for movie theaters on serving blind & deaf

July 29, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Disability Law



The Hill
By Benjamin Goad
Article Source

The Justice Department moved Friday to open up the nation’s cinemas to the visually and hearing impaired with a slate of draft regulations requiring movie theaters to offer closed captioning and audio description technology. 

“This proposed rule will allow all Americans, including those with disabilities, to fully participate in the moviegoing experience,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in unveiling the plan.

The DOJ’s bid to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act comes four years after the agency signaled plans to move forward with new regulations, drawing more than 1,000 public comments. 

The agency is seeking to require all theaters with digital screens to comply with the new regulations six months after the rule is finalized. The proposal asks for comment on whether a four year compliance date is appropriate for theaters with analog screens, or whether regulations for those movie houses should be shelved until a later date. 

Estimates of the costs of the rule fall somewhere between $177.8 million and $225.9 million over 15 years, the agency said. 

Under the rules, captions would be delivered directly to the seat in a manner only visible to only a requesting patron. Audio description, transmitted via a wireless headset, allows individuals who are blind or have low vision “a spoken narration of important visual elements of a movie, such as actions, settings, facial expressions, costumes and scene changes.”

The Justice Department stressed that the regulations would . . .

Read more: http://thehill.com/regulation/213330-doj-pushes-new-movie-theater-rules-for-blind-and-deaf#ixzz38sEAlSwj
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

Soon Federal contractors will have to employ people with disabilities.

July 29, 2014 in Disability Law


Given all the troubles in the world, I hope you and yours are well!

Not only was this a very exciting week because President Obama signed WIOA, starting on January 1, 2015 all Federal contractors will need to follow Rule 503, which asks for 7% of their employees in all job categories to be people with disabilities. This is very good news on inclusion. So what are the rules? Go HERE to see.

If you want to hear a webinar on this go HERE.

Also, if you want to know what companies in your area get federal government grants, and thus need to follow the rule and have inclusive workforces, go to www.fedspending.org. You can get an easy to use list of all the companies who will be looking to hire and/or identify employees with disabilities!

All the best,

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

P.S. Happy ADA Anniversary!



FCC Requires Closed Captioning Of IP-Delivered Video Clips

July 23, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Captioning / Relay, Community News, Disability Law



News Release – July 11, 2014
Proposed Ruling Released – July 14,2014

New Rules Will Require Captioning of Certain Online Video Clips Beginning in 2016

Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission today approved new rules that will require closed captioning of video clips that are posted online. The new rules further the purpose of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) by helping to ensure equal access to all forms of programming by individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing when they watch video content online.
Specifically, the rules extend the Commission’s IP closed captioning rules adopted in 2012, which cover full-length videos online, to video clips if the original programming was shown on television in the United States with captions. The new rules apply to video programming distributors that air programming – including broadcasters and cable and satellite distributors— on television and then post clips of that programming on their own website or via their own mobile app. The new rules do not extend to third party websites or apps. Compliance deadlines vary based on the type of video clip. Specifically, a deadline of:

  • January 1, 2016, will apply to “straight lift” clips, which contain a single excerpt of a captioned
    television program with the same video and audio that was presented on television;
  • January 1, 2017, will apply to “montages,” which occur when a single file contains multiple straight lift clips; and
  • July 1, 2017, will apply to video clips of live and near-live television programming, such as news
    or sporting events. Distributors will have a grace period of 12 hours after the associated live
    video programming was shown on television and eight hours after the associated near-live video
    programming was shown on television before the clip must be captioned online in order to give
    distributors flexibility to post time-sensitive clips online without delay.

Finally, the requirements do not apply to video clips that are in the distributor’s online library before the
applicable compliance deadline because compliance for this category of video clips is considered to be
economically burdensome.

The Commission also issued a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that asks for comment on
four related issues, including:

  • Application of the IP closed captioning rules to the provision of video clips by third party distributors not subject to today’s Order;
  • Whether to decrease or eliminate over time the grace periods that apply to video clips of live and near-live programming, as technological advancements facilitate the prompt online posting of such clips with captions;
  • Application of the IP closed captioning requirements to “mash-ups,” which are files that contain a combination of one or more video clips from captioned programming that has been shown on television along with other content (such as online-only content) that has not been shown on television with captions; and
  • Application of the IP closed captioning rules to “advance” video clips, which are those that are added to the distributor’s online library after the applicable compliance deadline but before the video programming is shown on television with captions, and which then remain online.

Action by the Commission July 11, 2014, by Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 14-97). Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel issuing separate statements. Commissioner Pai concurring and issuing statement. Commissioner O’Rielly approving in part and concurring in part and issuing statement.



List of related documents, background information and announcements:

FCC July 11, 2014 News Release (PDF) 

iDeafnews announcement from NAD (ASL video with captions)

Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT)  announcement

FCC Commission Document FCC 14-97 Released July 14, 2014

CEA Study Announcement – Arlington, VA – 06/05/2014 Change is in the Air: U.S. Households Viewing TV Programming only via the Internet are Poised to Surpass those Viewing only via Antenna


Hastings, MN – YMCA to provide interpreter for deaf couple

July 15, 2014 in Disability Law, Interpreting & Transliterating



StarTribune, Minneapolis, MN

Concession follows lawsuit filed over swim classes at Hastings YMCA.

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities has agreed to provide an American Sign Language interpreter for deaf parents Jacob and Calena Lingle so they can fully participate in their daughter Aria’s swim classes at the Hastings Y.

After trying to negotiate for a year, the Lingles and their daughter, now 2½, sued the YMCA earlier this month, alleging that its refusal to provide an adequate means for them to communicate violated state and federal laws.

A day after the lawsuit was filed June 12 in Hennepin County District Court, the Lingles received an e-mail from the Y saying an interpreter would be made available, but only for the first of the seven-session Seahorse classes.

The Lingles’ attorney, Rick Macpherson, of the Minnesota Disability Law Center, said Wednesday that he received an e-mail Monday from the Y’s attorney saying the organization had decided to provide an interpreter for all the classes.

While the lawsuit has not been settled, Macpherson said the Y proposed putting the litigation on hold while it develops a new policy and resolves the other issues in the case.

“The Lingles are fine with that arrangement,” Macpherson said. “The Y has said they plan to involve representatives from the deaf community in coming up with the policy.”

The Lingles will have a role in that and the policy must be acceptable to them before they decide to settle the lawsuit. Because the suit has been filed, a judge will have to approve a timetable for the negotiations, the attorney said. Those details have not been worked out yet.

“The clients are happy they will be able to participate in the rest of the classes,” Macpherson said. “They’re committed to doing whatever they can so that the policy is a good one and works for everybody. There are lots of ways to work out cost-effective ways of doing it.”

Jacob and Calena Lingle, 27 and 25 respectively, have been deaf since birth. Their daughter can hear; her first language was ASL.

The family vacations each year on Cass Lake in northern Minnesota and wanted Aria to be comfortable in the water so she could play with her 20 cousins.

Read more . . .

Aussies debate whether to allow deaf jurors

July 11, 2014 in Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness



Deaf News Today (Australia)
July 9, 2014

Article Source

Should Australian courts allow deaf citizens to serve on juries? That’s what a professor at the University of New South Wales is hoping to find out during a mock trial that will take place in Sydney. The topic became a national issue when a Queensland judge ruled a deaf woman could not sit on a jury. You can read about that here. Two of the 15 jurors in the mock trial will be deaf. Read more details about the study in the Guardian here. The deaf started sitting on juries in the U.S. 24 years ago.