Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Release Number: HQ-07-169, August 21, 2007
The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released a new reference guide that outlines existing legal requirements and standards relating to access for people with disabilities. A Reference Guide for Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities in the Provision of Disaster Mass Care, Housing and Human Services is the first of a series of disability-related guidelines to be produced by FEMA for disaster preparedness and response planners and service providers at all levels.
“Federal law is very clear about accommodating people with disabilities in emergencies and disasters. Everyone involved in emergency management needs to understand and know what their responsibilities are in preparedness, response and recovery operations,” FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison said. “This Reference Guide is an important tool for emergency planners, responders and government agencies as they work toward meeting the needs of people affected by emergencies and disasters. FEMA is committed to ensuring that its programs and emergency operations meet the needs of people with disabilities.”
The Reference Guide summarizes equal access requirements for people with disabilities within Disaster Mass Care, Housing, and Human Services functions. The Guide explains how applicable Federal laws relate to government entities and non-government, private sector and religious organizations.
Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Vol. 24, no. 15, July 19, 2007
New guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) means employers must be extra cautious when it comes to employees with care giving responsibilities. While no federal law specifically bans discrimination against caregivers, the EEOC says Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) extend protections to individuals caring for children, parents and others.
Source: National Council on Disability, July 26, 2007
Many people with disabilities, employers, and businesses, however, still do not understand major provisions of the ADA , particularly the employment provisions. The ADA is a civil rights law—requiring equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities, with broad coverage and setting clear, consistent, and enforceable standards prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability. Title I of the ADA prohibits discrimination in employment. It does not provide for accessible housing, transportation to the work site, rehabilitation services, job training, job placement, or any form of affirmative action for people with disabilities. It does not address work disincentives, such as Social Security rules that make people with disabilities who work ineligible for Medicaid, the only form of insurance that provides the kind of services most people with disabilities need to function independently, nor does it require employers to provide the kind of insurance coverage people with disabilities need. While the ADA requires existing transportation services to become accessible, it does not provide transportation for people with disabilities to get to work if they work or live where there is no public transportation. To determine the impact of Title I, one must look at the degree to which employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities has decreased. One cannot measure the success of Title I solely by the employment rate of people with disabilities unless all other barriers to work are eliminated.
Many Americans with disabilities remain frustrated that disability discrimination has not been eliminated, despite ADA implementation. People with disabilities reported the ADA has not been fully enforced; the barriers they face remain primarily attitudinal. Additionally, there is a growing backlash against disability rights and the ADA . The lack of national consistency of access makes it difficult for people with disabilities to carry out daily activities, and access to public transportation, particularly in rural areas, remains a serious problem. Although, once on the job, accommodations are easier to obtain, people with visible disabilities do not appear to be significantly more likely to be hired than before the ADA , and some argue that they are having more difficulty getting hired than before.
See also: Implementation of the ADA: Challenges, Best Practices, and New Opportunities for Success
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, 07-1089-NAT, July 18, 2007
From the press release:
The federal government’s one-stop Web site for disability-related information and resources — DisabilityInfo.gov — today unveiled a new feature, a state and local resources map, designed to assist visitors in finding disability-related information in their own states and localities…To use the new state and local resources map, simply select one of the nine subject tabs — benefits, civil rights, community life, education, employment, health, housing, technology or transportation — at the top of any DisabilityInfo.gov page. Then click the map on the right sidebar to find links in that subject area related to your state. You will be directed to easy-to-navigate information and numerous organizations and contacts.
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, February 2007
Health care is the largest industry in the American economy, and has a high incidence of occupational injury and illness. Though they are “committed to promoting health through treatment and care for the sick and injured, health care workers, ironically, confront perhaps a greater range of significant workplace hazards than workers in any other sector.” Health care jobs often involve potential exposure to airborne and bloodborne infectious disease, sharps injuries, and other dangers; many health care jobs can also be physically demanding and mentally stressful. Moreover, health care workers with occupational or non-occupational illness or injury may face unique challenges because of societal misperceptions that qualified health care providers must themselves be free from any physical or mental impairment.
Although the rules under Title I of the ADA and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act are the same for all industries and work settings, this fact sheet explains how the ADA might apply to particular situations involving job applicants and employees in the health care field.