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NAD and Gogo LLC Agree to Make Closed Captions Available on In-Flight Entertainment Systems

Submitted by adminon Tue, 01/26/2016 – 14:12

Deaf and hard of hearing airline passengers will soon have closed captioned, on-demand in-flight entertainment videos.

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), a non-profit civil rights organization of, by, and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and Gogo LLC, the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, have reached a historic agreement for Gogo to make closed captioning available for 100 percent of programming content sourced by Gogo and streamed through its on-demand in-flight entertainment service, Gogo Vision.

Is Your Website Accessible to Blind and Visually Impaired?

Plaintiffs’ Firms and Department of Justice Are Taking Notice Monday, February 1, 2016

For years, we have been documenting the rise in wage/hour class action lawsuits and precautionary steps your organization may take to mitigate the risks and liability inherent in those claims. And, while wage/hour lawsuits continue to be filed at record rates, the plaintiffs’ bar is now flirting with a new type of class action lawsuit which poses a threat to any employer that operates a website. These lawsuits allege that company websites are inaccessible to the blind and/or visually impaired and therefore violate Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and various states laws.

Student Designers Make Spaces, Products More Accessible

USC Davis competition puts principles of Universal Design to work on everyday items and locations BY Beth Newcomb
January 26, 2016

From a wheelchair-friendly home bathroom to computer equipment that’s easier on arthritic hands, student innovators from across California designed products and spaces to better serve individuals of all abilities for the USC Davis School of Gerontology’s Morton Kesten Universal Design Competition.

Winnipeg Man Who Seeks Death, Not Disability, a ‘Sad’ Reality

Disabled rights advocate fears physician-assisted deaths exploit ‘able-bodied’ attitudes By Donna Carreiro
CBC News, Jan 22, 2016

A disabled rights advocate says a Winnipeg man who wants a physician-assisted death reflects a “bleak” societal attitude:”He would rather be dead than disabled.” “For me it’s sad that he would rather die than be in a wheelchair,” said Allen Mankewich, co-chair of the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities. “And many people would agree with him.”

Bill Would Require Restaurant Menus in Braille

By Josh O’Gorman
VERMONT PRESS BUREAU | January 24,2016

MONTPELIER Lawmakers are weighing a bill that would make Vermont more accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

Last week, Rep. Alison Clarkson, D-Woodstock, introduced H.582, a bill that would require restaurants in the state to offer Braille versions of their menus.

Clarkson said she was motivated to introduce the bill after hearing from a constituent about a recent dining experience.

“She had gone out with some friends to a restaurant and it was one of these really long menus and her friends had to read every item, which took a lot of time,” Clarkson said. “She thought, ‘We should have at least one or two Braille menus in restaurants so I can read it and not bother my friends.'”

Don’t Ask for Guide-Dog Documents

Times Colonist January 24, 2016
B.C.’s new Guide and Service Dog Act instituted provincial certification
with the twin intentions of guaranteeing access rights for people with disabilities and preventing the public from fraudulently passing off pets as service dogs.

Both are lofty goals, but the unintended consequences of the publicity surrounding the law are causing new problems for legitimate teams.

The Canadian Federation of the Blind has received numerous reports of guide-dog owners being stopped as they go about their everyday business and being asked to produce proof that they have the right to enter public places. This level of inquisition is unprecedented; guide dogs have been legally recognized in Canada for more than three quarters of a century, without their owners being required to systematically show their paperwork.

Justice Department Reaches Landmark Settlement Agreement with State of Oregon Regarding Americans with Disabilities Act

In a Dec. 29, 2015, order, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon approved a settlement agreement between the Justice Department, a class of private plaintiffs and the state of Oregon, which resolved the department’s and the class plaintiffs’ claims against the state under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The agreement will impact approximately 7,000 Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who can and want to work in typical employment settings in the community. The private plaintiffs were represented by the Center for Public Representation, Disability Rights Oregon and the law firms of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP and Perkins Coie LLP.

Fitness Technology That Helps the Blind Get Moving

A drone that guides blind runners around a track is just one of several new fitness technologies designed to assist the visually impaired. By Christina Couch
October 16, 2015

While NASA is working to make drones quieter, one researcher at the University of Nevada, Reno, is using its noise to benefit blind athletes.

Eelke Folmer, an associate professor of computer science and the head of UNR’s Human Plus Lab, has built a prototype drone system that guides blind runners around a track, allowing them to exercise independently without a sighted guide. Equipped with two cameras-a downward-facing one that follows
the lines on a track and a separate camera that focuses on a marker on the runner’s shirt-Folmer’s quadcopter flies at eye level, about 10 feet ahead of a runner, guiding them by sound. If the runner speeds up or slows down, the drone adjusts its own speed.

Is My Company’s Website Accessible?

Michael P. Scott.
USA January 14 2016

Many of your clients or customers would answer, “Of course. I open Chrome or Internet Explorer, type in the address, and there I am, ready to log-in and shop, pay my bill, or schedule an appointment.”

For many others, however, the answer is not that simple. Users who suffer from disabilities, particularly conditions related to vision and hearing, might find navigating your website challenging. Since nearly all companies have a web presence and many increasingly depend entirely on web traffic, your company will want easy site access for everyone. A recent uptick in litigation and enforcement involving websites and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides extra incentive to act now.

Human Rights Commission Takes Disabled Voter’s Case to Court

John Meagher
Montreal Gazette, January 13, 2016

All Linda Gauthier wanted was a little mercy when she tried to enter imposing St-Stanislas-de-Kosta Church in Montreal seven years ago.

She was there to vote, not to pray.

While her motorized wheelchair could have made it down an access ramp to the church basement where the polling station was located, leaving afterward posed a far more difficult task.

Gauthier balked after deeming the ramp far too steep and therefore too dangerous to attempt an exit.

I asked them to bring a table and the polling box so I could vote outside, Gauthier recalled. They refused and said it was against the law. Apparently, it is against the law.

What is the Difference Between Accessible, Usable, and Universal Design?

Aug. 20. 2015

Several terms have emerged in recent years that describe similar though somewhat distinct design concepts. The terms accessible design, usable design, and universal design are all approaches to design that can result in products that are easier for everyone to use, including people with disabilities.

These concepts apply to design of the built environment, of customer services, and the other products and environments, including information technologies such as hardware, software, multimedia, distance learning courses, websites, curriculum, and instruction.

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Kent State University to Resolve Allegations of Discrimination in University-Operated Student Housing

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Justice Department announced today that Kent State University (KSU) has agreed to pay $145,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit alleging that the university had maintained a policy of not allowing students with psychological disabilities to keep emotional support animals in university-operated student housing.

Under the settlement agreement, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, KSU will:

  • pay $100,000 to two former students who sought and were denied a reasonable accommodation to keep an emotional support dog in their university-operated apartment;
  • pay $30,000 to a fair housing organization that advocated on behalf of the students;

Modern Technology and Software is Helping to Empower Students With Dyslexia, 3 Ways How

The director of one software company looks to help the over 100,000 university students in the UK living with dyslexia Dave Tucker |
Wednesday 30 December 2015|

Imagine you’re about to embark on a degree in music on your first day at a prestigious conservatoire. You take your seat in your first lecture and notice your classmates are all pulling out reams of blank music sheets. Your teacher enters, takes a seat at a grand piano and starts to improvise.

The High Cost of Digital Discrimination: Why Companies Should Care About Web Accessibility

Jonathon Hensley
Thursday 31 December 2015

Netflix, Disney and Target have all faced lawsuits alleging their websites offer poor accessibility for the disabled. It makes no sense to wait for US guidelines, now expected in 2018, to end an era of digital discrimination

In 2018, the US Department of Justice is finally expected to issue regulations spelling out the criteria for websites to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The US Department of Justice is developing regulations that will spell out the criteria for websites to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new rules arent expected to be issued until 2018.

Canadian and American Visually Impaired Research Participants Needed

Assistive Technology Community for the Blind and Visually Impaired Vancouver

You are invited to take part in a study exploring the attitudes of visually impaired people towards seeking psychological services.

People, Power, and Pelf

by Ed Vaughan
Braille Monitor
January 2016

Throughout my academic career and personal life, I have been concerned when individuals are exploited. Concerning blindness, I was always angered when I encountered educators and rehab workers with low expectations for blind people. This becomes worse when low expectations are embodied in the culture of agencies and organizations. Pelf is the Middle English word for wealth ill begotten.

Does this idea apply to people who make their money and careers while diminishing the life prospects of the people they are supposed to be serving?

Lawsuits Rise: Blind Plaintiffs Sue Additional Retailers for Website Accessibility/ADA Claims

Fredrikson & Byron PA
Steven E. Helland.
USA December 28 2015

Patagonia, Ace Hardware, Aeropostale, Bed Bath & Beyond and Estee Lauder are the most recent companies sued by blind plaintiffs, alleging that the retailers websites are not accessible to the blind as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Lawsuits previously filed have included well-known companies such as JC Penny and Home Depot. Details of these lawsuits are included in the article ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits Mount, by Alexis Kramer, 12/23/15, in BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report.

EEOC Sues McDonald’s for Disability Discrimination

Fast Food Giant Denied Sign Language Interpreter for Deaf Applicant 12-21-15

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — McDonald’s Corporation and McDonald’s Restaurants of Missouri violated federal law by refusing to accommodate and hire a deaf applicant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the suit, Ricky Washington, who is deaf, applied online for a job at a McDonald’s restaurant in Belton, Mo. in June 2012. Washington indicated on his application that he attended Kansas School for the Deaf. Washington also said he had previous job experience working as a cook and clean-up team member at a McDonald’s restaurant in Louisiana in 2009. When the Belton restaurant manager learned Washington needed a sign language interpreter for his job interview, she canceled the interview and never rescheduled it, despite Washington’s sister volunteering to act as the interpreter. Restaurant management continued to interview and hire new workers after Washington made several attempts to schedule an interview.

CCD Chairperson’s Update – November – December 2015

CCD Continues Its Role As A Convenor

In the disability community, CCD has a long tradition as a convenor, bringing together disability organizations, governments and others to remove barriers and create greater inclusion.

Most recently, CCD convened a consultation on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and helped the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities bring the community together to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which had as its theme, Inclusion Matters.

Is the Company’s Website Accessible to Individuals With Disabilities?

Quarles & Brady LLP
Pamela M. Ploor.
USA December 22 2015

The Internet revolutionized how businesses sell their goods and services. A standard tool in a company’s marketing and sales toolbox is its website.

There are increasing demands by plaintiffs’ lawyers on businesses to ensure their websites are accessible to individuals with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or face a lawsuit. These demands often take the form of a letter alleging the company’s website violates the ADA, demanding changes to the website, and offering a choice between negotiating a payment to avoid litigation or being sued. This usually feels like a “stick-up” to companies that never heard of accessibility in websites or gave a thought to whether the ADA applies to their websites. By being aware of the ADA’s accessibility obligations and how those may relate to websites, companies may limit their liability and protect themselves from being the next victim of a corporate “stick-up.”