ADA in the News June 3, 2019

The NCRTM Offers Free Resources to help you with Document Accessibility

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires all federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to ensure that people with disabilities can access their information and communication technology (ICT). This includes federally-funded training materials that are disseminated to users via the internet. Often training developers do not know that some users may not be able to access their materials or how to get started in making their resources accessible.  Accessibility goes beyond a requirement to ensure that your products, services, and workplace is inclusive and available to all individuals.

NCRTM is here to help!  Their Accessibility Resources page is a great place to start for beginners learning about document accessibility. They recently added three NEW videos on checking document accessibility in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Adobe PDF. Their accessibility resources page also has several other resources about how to make ones product accessible for all users.

Not a beginner in 508? More advanced accessibility specialists can find additional information in the NCRTM library by searching keywords such as “Word”, “PowerPoint” or “PDF” in the search box, then refining the results by selecting “Accessibility” in the “Topic Areas” field.

The NCRTM is funded by RSA and gives the vocational rehabilitation and education communities an opportunity to contribute new knowledge to their specific fields and gain visibility for their work. NCRTM offers technical assistance to individuals and organizations who submit their rehabilitation training materials to their website.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact the NCRTM by email:

New York Lawmakers Plan To Address Website Accessibility


Seyfarth Synopsis: A Committee in the New York State Senate aims to develop a legal standard for the accessibility of business websites under New York law, in response to the exponential increase in website accessibility litigation in the state. Whether state legislation could stem this tide, or instead make matters worse for businesses, remains to be seen.

According to a recent article published in the New York Law Journal, a committee of state legislators in New York plan to develop a legal standard for website accessibility, in the wake of years of regulatory inactivity by the federal government.

As we have previously written about, various state and municipal jurisdictions have laws on the books requiring that government agencies and contractors provide accessible websites. New York, however, would be the first state in the country to directly hold business websites to an accessibility standard.

Ironically, this legislative effort appears, from the NYLJ article at least, to be motivated by a concern over the surge of website accessibility filings and their impact on businesses.

Williamsburg Appeal: Historic Win for Gluten-free and Food Allergy Rights

Allergic Living

A U.S. Court of Appeal has ruled that a 12-year-old with a severe gluten intolerance has a disability, and that it was reasonable for him to request that a restaurant within the Colonial Williamsburg historic site allow him to eat his own gluten-free food on their premises. Staff at the Shields Tavern within the venue would not allow the boy to so, which lead to his lawsuit.

The case will now be sent to trial and a jury will need to consider the facts related to the dining experience of J.D., as he’s referred to in legal documents. However, the language of the May 31 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is already being hailed as a victory for those with medically necessary diets.

Walmart Shift on Greeters Leads to Lawsuit

Arkansas Business Online

Walmart’s initiative to change its “people greeter” jobs to ones that require more physical labor brought complaints and a lawsuit against the Bentonville retailer over allegations that it violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Walmart’s decision also highlights weaknesses in the ADA, said Stacy Hickox, associate professor at Michigan State University’s School of Human Resources & Labor. She has also taught courses in employment law, civil rights and disability law at MSU’s law school.

Under the ADA, which makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate based on a person’s disability, an employer has to make “a reasonable accommodation” for a worker with a disability claim, she said. But the accommodation doesn’t have to be “an unreasonable demand” on the employer, Hickox said.

“There’s a lot of deference given to employers to say what’s reasonable and what’s not and what causes them an undue hardship or what doesn’t,” she said.

She said if Walmart wants to reshape the greeter position into one that includes more physical duties, the company can do that. “So a court isn’t going to step in and say, ‘No Walmart, you can’t require your greeters to lift [heavy items] because we think that’s a bad idea,’” Hickox said. “The court’s just not going to do that.”

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