In this Issue: ADA Month – Celebrating 31 Years
EARN IN ACTION
Marking 31 Years of the ADA
This month marks the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law on July 26, 1990. This landmark civil rights legislation has opened doors of opportunity for people with disabilities across all sectors of American society, including in the workplace. EARN is pleased to assist in advancing the ADA by helping employers create and grow workplaces that are inclusive of the skills and talents of people with disabilities. To learn more about employer responsibilities under the ADA, visit EARN’s ADA webpage.
Supporting Disabled Veterans
Lou Orslene, Director of the Employer and Workplace Policy team at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, recently participated in a podcast produced by the Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services. During the podcast, part of the Center’s “Service Before Self” series, Orslene and Retired Army Colonel and Dixon Center Vice President of Programs and Services Sam Whitehurst discussed challenges faced by disabled veterans and resources—including EARN—that can help employers benefit from their skills and talents. Listen to the podcast.
Digital Accessibility Webinar
On June 22, EARN hosted a webinar exploring lessons learned from the pandemic about the impact of technological inequities on diverse communities, including people with disabilities. Panelists included representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT). This webinar, one in a three-part series honoring the Americans with Disabilities Act’s 31st anniversary, is now archived, along with an accompanying handout, to view at any time. Access the webinar and handout.
Last month, Bobby Silverstein, Principal at Powers Pyles Sutter and Verville, PC, and Matthew Saleh, a Research Associate at Cornell University’s Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, represented EARN at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 24th annual EXCEL (Examining Conflict in Employment Law) conference. The presentation focused on findings from EARN’s literature review of best practices for recruiting, hiring and equitably retaining workers with disabilities during the pandemic. Learn more about EARN’s work to promote federal employment of people with disabilities.
DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT IN THE NEWS
Supporting Workers with Long COVID
Although most people who contract COVID-19 recover in four to six weeks, data indicate that between 10 and 30% experience lingering symptoms—a condition sometimes called “Long COVID” or “COVID-19 syndrome.” Like others with chronic health conditions, these individuals may be entitled to temporary or longer-term work accommodations to help them stay at or return to work once ready. To help workers and employers learn more, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy developed a webpage that centralizes related information and resources. Visit the webpage.
The Opportunity to Thrive—with Pride
Andy Arias, a Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, drafted a blog post in honor of Pride Month in June. In the blog post, Arias discussed how his early experiences led to his career helping people with disabilities, including LGBTQI+ individuals, pursue employment and economic independence. “I feel my life experiences bring a special sense of understanding to my work,” Arias said. “I take pride in helping others with disabilities, whatever their identities, avoid the systemic poverty and isolation I experienced.” Read Arias’s blog post.
Invisible Disabilities Podcast
A recent podcast produced by the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship (PIA) in collaboration with Workology addressed the topic of invisible disabilities in the workplace. During the podcast, PIA Director of Communications Devin Boyle and Workology Founder Jessica Merrill-Miller discussed misconceptions around mental health conditions. They also discussed the benefits of hiring and supporting employees, including apprentices, with these and other non-evident disabilities. PIA is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Listen to the podcast.
Driving Change through Customized Employment
In a recent blog post, Rose Warner, a Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, explored how the strategy of customized employment helps advance her agency’s mission and the spirit of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Olmstead v. L.C. Decided in 1999, this landmark case affirmed the rights of people with disabilities to live and receive services in the most integrated settings possible. The blog post is part of a series sharing best practices in honor of ODEP’s 20th anniversary. Read Warner’s blog post.
Q: In honor of the ADA anniversary, we would like to conduct refresher training for our managers. Do you have information to help?
A: That’s a great idea! The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) anniversary each year presents an opportunity to ensure managers, supervisors and others across your organization understand how the ADA applies to job seekers and employees with disabilities. To help, we offer a ready-to-use training on the ADA.
You can also find information about employer responsibilities under the ADA on our ADA webpage.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
July 29, 2021, 2:00 p.m. ET
Webinar: The ADA @ 31
This EARN webinar, the second in a series in honor of the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) 31st anniversary, will explore the past, present and future of the ADA as it pertains to employment. The moderated discussion will feature Bobby Silverstein, Principal at Powers Pyles Sutter and Verville, PC, and Susan Mazrui, Director of Global Public Policy at AT&T. Register for the webinar.
August 12, 2021, 2:00 p.m. ET
Webinar: Telework in Action: A Disability Inclusion Practice Whose Time Has Arrived
This EARN webinar is the third in a series honoring the Americans with Disabilities Act’s 31st anniversary. It will focus on how organizations and employees have adapted to telework and its integral role in the post-pandemic workplace. Panelists will discuss the many benefits of telework, including decreased cost, increased productivity and the opportunity to increase disability inclusion. Register for the webinar.
August 13, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET
Virtual Class: Title I and Reasonable Accommodations
This virtual class, hosted by the New England Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Center, will address reasonable accommodations at the heart of the ADA employment provisions. It is one in a series of classes held on a rotating basis throughout the year. ADA contacts for businesses as well as state and local municipalities, schools and other community organizations are encouraged to attend. Register for the class.
The Alchemist brewery is a small business in Stowe, Vermont. Earlier this year, it received the Vermont Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities’ “Spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act” award for its disability inclusion efforts, including outreach, training and accommodations. According to Jen Kimmich, one of the brewery’s owners, taking such steps “has been one of the best business decisions we have ever made. Our workplace morale is better, our productivity is up and it just gives us a reason to keep building an inclusive workplace every single day.”
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a resource for employers seeking to recruit, hire, retain, and advance qualified employees with disabilities. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy under a cooperative agreement with the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Disability and Employment. For more information, visit AskEARN.org.
Preparation of this item was fully funded by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy in the amount of $8,000,000 (four-year total grant amount) under Cooperative Agreement No. OD-33975-19-75-4-36. This document does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.