ADA in the News: February 5, 2018

Settlement reached over Cumberland County's access to polling locations

Carlisle Sentinel

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Monday announced a settlement with Cumberland County over its access to polling places.

According to the attorney's office, it and an architect from the U.S. Department of Justice surveyed 52 of Cumberland County's 118 polling place locations in the April 26, 2016, primary. The survey discovered that many of the county's polling places contained barriers for people with disabilities.

Title II of the American with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by state or local government in any of its programs or services, including its voting program, according to the office.

Is telecommuting a reasonable accommodation? It depends.

Lexology

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires, in appropriate circumstances, that employers make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. A common question is whether it is "reasonable" for an employer to let an employee work from home as a reasonable accommodation.

Animals on planes a challenge for airlines, passengers

The Times Telegram

When Marlin Jackson arrived at his row on a Delta flight from Atlanta to San Diego in June, the middle seat was already occupied by a man with a sizable dog on his lap. Jackson squeezed by them to his window seat, and the Labrador mix lunged at his face. The attack lasted about 30 seconds, according to Jackson’s attorney, and left him with facial wounds that required 28 stitches and scars that are still visible today.

The mauling, which Delta said was inflicted by a canine identified as an “emotional support” animal, was among the thousands of incidents that just pushed the nation’s largest airline to tighten rules for passengers flying with service or comfort animals. In announcing the changes, Delta said it flew 250,000 animals in those categories last year, an increase of 150 percent from 2015, while “incidents” such as biting or defecating had nearly doubled since 2016.

Delta’s announcement emphasized safety concerns, but it also was spurred by a widespread perception among airlines and disability rights advocates that some fliers are fraudulently taking advantage of federal law to bring untrained pets of myriad species into crowded cabins.

Though the Americans With Disabilities Act defines service animals as trained dogs or miniature horses, airlines are bound by the more liberal Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, which allows free travel for “any animal” that is trained to assist a person with a disability or that provides emotional support. Airlines can require passengers with creatures in the second category to produce a letter from a physician or mental-health professional, but the documents are easily forged or obtained from websites that provide cursory, questionnaire-style “exams.”

The result, airline officials complain, has been a surge in poorly trained animals that has turned some flights into airborne menageries, with dogs blocking beverage carts, cats urinating on seats and ducks wandering the aisles.

Airlines have pushed for new federal rules to reduce fraud, and the transportation agency plans to begin taking comments on proposed regulations in July.

Making Sure The Decade-Worst Flu Epidemic Doesn't Slow Your Company To A Crawl

Chief Executive Group

The flu epidemic, worst in about a decade, is knocking business productivity for a loop and could even take a chink out of the expanding U.S. GDP if it persists. The flu is keeping people home and away from work and making them less effective when they are there, and also discouraging them from going out into the marketplace to spend money.

But CEOs and their HR departments can be effective in making sure the flu virus doesn’t victimize their companies any more than necessary. Their approach should combine proactivity in terms of mitigating the spread of flu through their ranks with an acknowledgement of medical, cultural and legal limits on what they can do, says the chief of a leading people-management firm.

“There are a lot of practical, common-sense steps you can take which will help a lot, even as you make sure that you don’t run afoul of legal considerations,” Jay Starkman, CEO of Engage PEO, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., told Chief Executive. PEOs, or professional employer organizations, provide HR services to small- and mid-sized businesses.

 

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