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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Aug 02, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
When Tony Coelho wrote the American with Disabilities Act 31 years ago, his goal was to ensure that people with disabilities could participate in the workforce with equal opportunities of inclusion and success. Three decades later, people with disabilities — the largest minority group in the country — remain underrepresented in the workforce, particularly within the federal workforce. Four years ago, the government set a benchmark calling for every agency to commit to having no less than 12% of its employees made up of people with disabilities. But even that number fell below parity, given that 26% of American adults, or 61 million people, have a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tracking the government's progress has also proven difficult. Despite the 12% benchmark, the Office of Personnel Management "does not routinely track or report retention data on employees with disabilities," according to the Government Accountability Office. Some of the clearest figures come from a 2020 report from the GAO, which found that while hiring of people with disabilities increased from 2011-2017, more work needed to be done to boost retention, training and reasonable accommodation efforts. Coelho says progress has been made: nearly every presidential candidate provided a disability policy plan in the 2020 election. For the first time, there are sign language interpreters for every White House press briefing, and the White House Domestic Policy Council has its first ever director of disability policy. But advocates say it's important to continue the momentum. The government, as the nation's largest employer, has worked toward being a model workplace for people with disabilities for decades, even before the ADA was signed. The Biden administration has pledged that their hires and appointments will reflect what America looks like, but advocates say change is not just about hiring practices — it is measured by changes in workplace culture around how people with disabilities are perceived, and in building workplaces that address accessibility within the framework of equity and inclusion. #accessibility #disabilityrights #workplace #
Across Federal Workforce, People With Disabilities See Need For More Representation content media
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jul 27, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
President Biden said the benefits and protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act would now extend to people facing ongoing health problems caused by a coronavirus infection that occurred weeks or months before Americans suffering from “long Covid” — a term referring to new or ongoing health problems from a coronavirus infection that occurred weeks or months ago — will have access to the benefits and protection provided under federal disability law, President Biden said on Monday. Speaking in the Rose Garden to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Mr. Biden listed some of the lingering effects that have been seen in coronavirus survivors, including “breathing problems, brain fog, chronic pain or fatigue,” and noted that the effects sometimes rise to the level of a disability. “We are bringing agencies together to make sure Americans with long Covid, who have a disability, have access to the rights and resources that are due under the disability law,” Mr. Biden said, noting that they would include special accommodations and services in the workplace, in schools and in the health care system. In some cases, the health effects of Covid-19 can persist for months after initially causing only mild symptoms. A study published in April found that a coronavirus infection also appears to increase the risk of death and chronic medical conditions afterward, even in people who were never sick enough with the virus to be hospitalized. The research, based on records of patients in the Department of Veterans Affairs health system, also found that non-hospitalized Covid survivors had a 20 percent greater chance of needing outpatient medical care in the six months following infection than did people who had not contracted the coronavirus. #disability #covid #covid19 #health
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jul 19, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
Walmart must pay damages in a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency said Friday. A Wisconsin federal court jury ruled that Walmart must pay more than $125 million in damages in a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency announced Friday. That verdict was quickly reduced Thursday to a statutory maximum of $300,000 by the judge in the case, which involved the termination of Marlo Spaeth, a 16-year employee who has Down syndrome, from the Walmart Supercenter in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. But Walmart still may have to pay additional money for Spaeth’s back pay, front pay, as well as for interest and litigation costs, an EEOC spokeswoman told CNBC. The judge will determine those amounts at a later date. The EEOC’s complaint in Green Bay court alleged that Walmart in its firing of Spaeth violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s disability. In the lawsuit, the federal agency said the retailer changed Spaeth’s longtime work schedule and refused to accommodate her requests for different hours, even though she faced challenges because of her disability. The complaint also said she struggled to keep up with the new hours, leading to disciplinary action for absenteeism. Ultimately, the company fired Spaeth, despite her having received positive performance reviews from managers. It also declined to rehire her, even after her mother and sister tried to intervene and find a solution, the EEOC said. #disability #accessibility #workplace
Walmart loses EEOC disability lawsuit that alleged discrimination against a longtime employee with Down syndrome content media
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jul 12, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for the employment of certain individuals at wage rates below the statutory minimum. Such individuals include student-learners (vocational education students), as well as full-time students employed in retail or service establishments, agriculture, or institutions of higher education. Also included are individuals whose earning or productive capacities are impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those related to age or injury, for the work to be performed. Employment at less than the minimum wage is authorized to prevent restriction of opportunities for employment. This has become a huge problem for the disabled community as thousands of people with disabilities get paid less than 1 dollar for their work. States like Minnesota, who has a large population of people with disabilities working in these "sheltered workshops", are working towards ending the sub minimum wage as it is exploitive and many deem it as a violation of ADA.
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jul 12, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
Change could affect 8,000 in Minnesota's sheltered workshops by 2025. Krystal Halford recalls feeling jubilant after landing a job at an assembly plant in Eagan that employs people with disabilities. But after opening her paycheck, Halford's excitement turned to dismay. For two weeks of work, Halford discovered that she had made just $100 — amounting to less than $4 an hour. "It sent a message that I wasn't valued, that I didn't deserve what others have because I happen to be different," said Halford, 32, who has Asperger's syndrome, a developmental disorder. Halford is among thousands of Minnesotans who have been paid less than the minimum wage solely because they have a disability. They work at dozens of centers across the state, known as sheltered workshops, that are allowed under a loophole in federal law to pay people with disabilities based on their productivity, rather than a fixed hourly rate. In many cases, their pay amounts to less than $1 an hour for basic tasks such as sorting and packaging merchandise, shredding paper or picking up garbage on work crews. More than 8,000 Minnesotans with a range of disabilities, including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorder, attend these cloistered workplaces — among the most of any state, according to federal workforce data. Now, this separate and unequal payment regime is coming to an end. This month, after years of pushing by disability advocates, Minnesota became the latest state to move to abolish the practice of paying people with disabilities a subminimum wage. Tucked deep inside a 533-page budget bill is a measure that establishes a task force to develop a plan to phase out subminimum wages by August 2025. Lawmakers also approved $14.1 million in grants to help disability service providers transform their business models and boost work options in the community. #accessibility #disabilityrights #disability #workplace #minimumwage
Minnesota to phase out unequal pay jobs for people with disabilities content media
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jul 06, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
The justices let stand a gay couple’s victory against a florist who said her religious beliefs did not allow her to create floral arrangements for same-sex weddings. The justices let stand a gay couple’s victory against a florist who said her religious beliefs did not allow her to create floral arrangements for same-sex weddings. WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would not hear an appeal from a florist in Washington State who said she had a constitutional right to refuse to create a floral arrangement for a same-sex wedding. The move left open a question the court last considered in 2018, when a similar disputebetween a Colorado baker and a gay couple failed to yield a definitive ruling. As is its custom, the court did not give reasons for declining to hear the case, which social conservatives had hoped the justices would use to make a clearer statement favoring religious beliefs over gay rights. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch said they would have granted the florist’s petition seeking Supreme Court review. Lower courts have generally sided with gay and lesbian couples who were refused service, ruling that they are entitled to equal treatment, at least in parts of the country with laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation. The owners of businesses challenging those laws have argued that the government should not force them to choose between the requirements of their faiths and their livelihoods, citing constitutional protections for free speech and religious liberty. #freespeech #firstamendment #lgbtq #supremecourt
Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal in Clash Between Florist and Gay Couple content media
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jul 06, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
For Tiffany Yu, Disability Pride Month is about recognizing her disability as an integral part of who she is. For Anthony Rios, it's about accepting that his disability makes him different, not worse. The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990, a landmark law that prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities. In that same year, Boston held the first Disability Pride Day. Although Disability Pride Day isn't nationally recognized, parades are held in a number of places nationwide, such as Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, San Antonio and more. In 2015, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared July Disability Pride Month in celebration of the ADA’s 25th anniversary. The month is a chance to honor each person's uniqueness as "a natural and beautiful part of human diversity," according to America's Disability Community. #accessibility #disabilitypride #ADA #disabilityprideday
A chance to 'amplify one another': What is Disability Pride Month? content media
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jul 01, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
The National Federation of the Blind, America’s most powerful civil rights and advocacy group for the visually impaired has launched a scathing attack on web accessibility overlay market leader accessiBe, accusing the company of engaging in “harmful” practices. Israel-based accessiBe provides a web overlay solution that sits on top of web pages for the purposes of automatically scanning and reformatting them to ensure they are accessible and able to work with assistive solutions such as screen readers and keyboard navigation. The company’s core proposition is that it can help a site achieve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for as little as $49 per month through the deployment of an AI-based solution that involves injecting one line of code into a website’s backend. On Thursday, the NFB issued a statement including the following: “This week, the Board of Directors reviewed accessiBe’s business practices at the urging of members who have researched and interacted with the company, and the Board believes that accessiBe currently engages in behavior that is harmful to the advancement of blind people in society.”
Largest U.S. Blind Advocacy Group Bans Web Accessibility Overlay Giant AccessiBe content media
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jun 30, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
The coronavirus pandemic changed how the United States and countries around the world celebrate Pride month. This summer, many American cities opted for a hybrid celebration, hosting socially distanced marches or completely virtual events. But activists are still pushing organizers to make events accessible for the disabled community. Annie Segarra, a disability activist, who has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and uses a wheelchair, said things like video captions, translators and audio descriptions of visual events can mean the world to disabled individuals who want to join the celebrations but are afraid of being left out. "Accessibility is not just about physical spaces," Segarra told CBS News. "Depending on your disability, your access needs are going to be different, and unfortunately, that's something that a lot of people just don't consider. I think that people see accessibility as solely a physical experience. So typically, I guess, a representation issue for wheelchair accessibility. But it's just so much larger than that and it's such an important conversation to be able to include a number of various disabilities so that the conversation of accessibility doesn't in itself become exclusive."
Disability activists push for more inclusive Pride celebrations content media
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jun 30, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Advocates for kids with disabilities and minority children sued Palm Beach County’s public schools this week over their practice of forcing hundreds of students a year to undergo mental health exams at psychiatric facilities. Calling the involuntarily exams “excessive and illegal,” the advocacy groups said in a federal lawsuit that the school district had deprived hundreds of children of educational opportunities and inflicted unnecessary trauma by forcing them into mental health centers over unthreatening behavioral incidents. Florida’s Mental Health Act, commonly known as the Baker Act, gives police, judges and mental health professionals power to require people to undergo mental health exams if they appear to be suffering from a mental illness and there is a “substantial likelihood” that they could cause serious harm to themselves or others.
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jun 29, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
A triathlete who became the first Ironman with Down syndrome will receive a prestigious award from ESPN on national television. The network said that it will honor Chris Nikic with its Jimmy V Award for Perseverance next month. The award is given annually to a “deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination.” Nikic made history last November when he completed a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon run to complete the Ironman Florida competition in Panama City Beach, Fla. Wow, what an honor to receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and to be included with such an amazing group of people,” Nikic said in a statement. “As a Special Olympics ambassador, I represent millions of athletes around the world who can now believe that inclusion is real for all of them. Thank you for me, but more importantly for the Down syndrome community and my fellow Special Olympics athletes.” #accessibility #espn
ESPN To Honor Athlete With Down Syndrome content media
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jun 28, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
Whether it's a dance class, a work meeting or a doctor's appointment, technology has allowed many of us to do more from home during lockdown, but is this "digital connectedness" here to stay? As office spaces started to open up and people began socialising earlier this summer, Ruby Jones thought about the elements of her life that had improved when the world slowed down. The disability activist, who works for the University of Exeter's Student Union, lives with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The connective tissue disorder sometimes requires Ruby to use a wheelchair or crutches, and can also cause fatigue. But she found that elements of lockdown benefited her lifestyle and helped her to manage her condition. Wondering if other people had also spotted silver linings in the months stuck at home, Ruby created the hashtag #MyAccessiblePandemic on Twitter. She tweeted: "I'm starting a hashtag to highlight how the pandemic has improved accessibility for disabled people. I'll start: Working from home means I am able to work a full-time job without exhausting myself to the point of hospitalisation."
'Working from home has helped me keep a full-time job' content media
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jun 24, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
A nursing shortage — driven by the pandemic — has made life miserable for parents with profoundly disabled children. “What if I’m so exhausted that I make a mistake?” It was 9 a.m. on a Sunday in May, and Chloe Mead was already worn out. In her living room, she cradled her 7-year-old son, Henry, supporting his head with one hand and helping him toss a ball with the other, careful not to disturb the ventilator that was keeping him alive. A nearby monitor tracked his blood-oxygen levels and a pump was at the ready should his tracheotomy tube need cleaning. In the corner, her 4-year-old daughter was building a pillow fort. “I need, like, five extra arms,” she said. Ordinarily, she wouldn’t be by herself. Since infancy, Henry, who has spinal muscular atrophy, a rare muscle-wasting disorder, has had intensive, round-the-clock nursing at home, with Ms. Mead and her husband serving as fallbacks when a nurse unexpectedly cancels a shift. But the recent shortage of home-care nurses has forced the couple, who live in Queens, to handle longer and longer periods on their own — as many as 36 hours at a stretch. That morning, her husband, Andy Maskin, was catching up on sleep so he could take that night’s late shift, from 2 a.m. until 7 a.m., when he begins his own workweek.
To Keep Their Son Alive, They Sleep in Shifts. And Hope a Nurse Shows Up. content media
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jun 24, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
The decision set new limits on disciplining students for off-campus speech but did not totally bar administrators from doing so. WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a Pennsylvania school district had violated the First Amendment by punishing a student for a vulgar social media message sent while she was not on school grounds. The decision, on a vote of 8 to 1, did not establish a categorical ban on regulating student speech outside of school, citing the need of school systems to be able to deal with issues like bullying and threats. Instead, it set out factors that courts should assess in weighing the right of administrators to punish speech in nonschool settings, with one important component being whether parents are better suited to handle the situation. But it was the first time in more than 50 years that a high school student won a free-speech case in the Supreme Court, and the decision emphasized that courts should be skeptical of efforts to constrain off-campus speech.
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jun 21, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
Social media creators are helping women and people of color identify possible symptoms of A.D.H.D., a disorder most often diagnosed in white boys. “When I was a kid, I had the sense things were more difficult for me,” Tiffany Bui recalled. It was hard for her to focus in school, and she was often forgetful. Throughout her life, she said, members of her family criticized these traits as faults. In the fall of 2020, when she was a senior at the University of Minnesota, Ms. Bui, 21, was struggling with anxiety and depression. She visited the school’s health clinic, where she was prescribed an antidepressant, but her attention troubles persisted. When she later returned to the clinic, the doctor asked if she had considered that she might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D. “I started reading up, just doing some self research about what A.D.H.D. looks like in women, and it was like, ‘Wow, no one’s ever talked to me about this before,’” Ms. Bui said. She wasn’t exclusively consulting medical websites; on social media, she saw posts from women talking about their experiences with A.D.H.D., which she said were “incredibly specific and so relatable.”
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jun 21, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
The report follows legislation and policy efforts undertaken by the government to improve accessibility efforts. Federal websites are not as accessible for those with disabilities as the law mandates they should be, according to a report released Thursday by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The report tested the 72 most popular federal websites and used a combination of automated tests and qualitative assessments to assess their compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The law requires the General Services Administration to ensure federal websites are accessible to people with disabilities, including federal employees and the public. According to the report, 30% of the most popular federal websites did not follow modern web accessibility standards on their homepages, and 48% failed a standard test on at least one of their three most popular web pages.
Report: Nearly Half of Popular Federal Websites Fail Accessibility Tests content media
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jun 21, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) — On Saturday, The Champion Autism Network, Surf Dreams Foundation, and South Carolina Special Olympics came together to give kids on the autism spectrum an opportunity to hang ten and possibly train the next generation of young surfers. Their Intellectual Disability Surf Day started at 9 a.m. at Surfside Beach. Kids got to learn how to balance, pop up, and eventually shred like a pro.
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jun 16, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
GOP Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.) on Monday reintroduced a constitutional amendment to bar the "physical desecration of the American flag." “The American flag is a symbol of liberty and a beacon of hope. It represents the ideals that our nation was built upon and for decades, brave men and women have carried its colors into battle to defend the United States of America,” the Montana senator said in a statement released on Flag Day. “The Stars and Stripes are a representation of freedom. We must always protect and respect the American flag,” he added. Daines has introduced this amendment two times before. The measure was co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Kevin Cramer (N.D.). Flag burning, an often controversial form of protest, is considered to be a protected form of self-expression under the First Amendment. In the landmark 1989 Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson, the court ruled 5-4 that Gregory Lee Johnson, a protester who burned a flag, could express politically charged symbolic speech even if it meant desecrating a national symbol.
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Lisa Urban
First Supporter
First Supporter
Jun 16, 2021
In COMMUNITY FEED
Developmental disability in and of itself should never be a bar to receiving medical care based on invidious notions of 'quality of life' An important and bipartisan bill has been filed in Congress to end organ-transplant discrimination against people developmental disabilities. Authored by Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R., Wash.) and Katie Porter (D., Calif.), the Charlotte Wood Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act (H.R. 1235) would: A covered entity may not, solely on the basis of a qualified individual’s mental or physical disability— (1)d eem such individual ineligible to receive an anatomical gift or organ transplant; (2) deny such individual medical or related organ transplantation services, including evaluation, surgery, counseling, and postoperative treatment and care; (3 )refuse to refer the individual to a transplant center or other related specialist for the purpose of evaluation or receipt of an organ transplant; (4) refuse to place an individual on an organ transplant waiting list, or placement of the individual at a lower-priority position on the list than the position at which the individual would have been placed if not for the disability of the individual; or (5 )decline insurance coverage for such individual for any procedure associated with the receipt of an anatomical gift, including post-transplantation care if such procedure would be covered under such coverage for such individual if not for the disability of the individual. This is an important issue of human exceptionalism. Each and every one of us is equal and should be treated equally. Developmental disability in and of itself should never be a bar to receiving proper medical care based on invidious notions of “quality of life,” or other such excuses for abuse or medical neglect
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