ADA in the News November 28, 2018

Court orders Essex County to provide methadone to inmate

The Boston Globe

A federal judge has ordered the Essex County House of Correction to provide methadone to a prospective inmate who relies on the medication to treat his opioid addiction, saying that denying the treatment can violate both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

The preliminary injunction, issued Monday by US District Judge Denise J. Casper, applies to only one man and one facility. But the decision could resonate nationwide because most prisons and jails do not allow medications to treat addiction.

“This is the first time a court in this country has ruled that failure to provide medication-assisted treatment in the criminal justice system can violate the ADA and the Constitution,” said Sally Friedman, vice president of legal advocacy for the Legal Action Center, a New York-based nonprofit that fights discrimination against people with addiction.

Good job descriptions can prevent ADA lawsuits

Business Management Daily

Managers often feel uncomfortable when interviewing applicants with disabilities. Always remember that the focus of the job interview should be on what the job involves, not the disability of the applicant. You should have a complete job description, detailing all of its demands. Then you and the applicant can judge together what, if any, accommodations might be necessary.

The best way to avoid a trip to the courtroom to deal with an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accusation is to use a job description that concentrates on the following components:

  • Essential duties: Describe what is to be accomplished in terms of guidelines instead of specifying the method of performing duties. For example, describe a task as “communicating information,” instead of “writing information on a notepad.” Workers with disabilities may perform certain jobs in a unique manner, such as typing or audio-recording information, if writing is a problem.
  • Mental function: List all elements that might be required, such as inspecting, cataloging and calculating, so you can determine what abilities are required. For instance, if a job requires visual inspection, the ability to see is required.
  • Physical functions: Break down each task into physical elements such as lifting, carrying, bending, breaking, removing and packing.
  • Methods: List the factors necessary to accomplish the essential duties of the job, e.g., the extent of lifting or reaching involved, the amount of interaction with co-workers, or the amount of manual dexterity required.
  • Output: Estimate how many times a day physical tasks are performed and how much stamina is required.
  • Working conditions: Include factors such as work site temperatures, noise levels, gases, fumes or hazardous materials, and space restrictions.
  • Equipment, tools, materials: Will slight adjustments mean that the individual with the disability will be able to perform the job effectively?

Note: An employer does not have to provide an accommodation that causes undue hardship (e.g., is an economic burden, is unduly expensive or disruptive, or fundamentally alters the nature or operation of the business). For example, a small company will likely not have to install costly adaptive lifting and driving equipment in its delivery van to accommodate a wheelchair-bound job candidate who seeks a job as a delivery driver.

Franklin man files lawsuit against AMC Entertainment because of lack disability access

The Daily News Journal

A Franklin man is suing AMC Entertainment, a popular movie theater chain, because he says the theaters lack appropriate handicap accessibility.

Janek John Pawlik filed a civil case on Nov. 20 against the entertainment giant because he said they don't have handicap buttons on their theater entryways, which makes it difficult for people who use wheelchairs to enter or exit the building.

"I just don't know why a company would spend money and not (add the buttons)," Pawlik said, referencing the recent renovations AMC did in Middle Tennessee. "I'm not being a (expletive), I just don't understand."

The lawsuit names AMC theaters in Spring Hill, Antioch, Murfreesboro and Nashville. Pawlik, who is representing himself in lieu of an attorney, requested the case be heard in front of a jury.

In his civil case, Pawlik, who uses a wheelchair, says AMC specifically violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act which focuses on public accommodations and commercial facilities, such as a theater.

"Why should I have to wait for someone to open the door for me?" Pawlik asked. 

Pawlik contacted the individual managers of the theaters named in the lawsuit. He said they told him not including the handicap button was a corporate decision. Pawlik said he hadn't attempted to contact the corporate office prior to filing the lawsuit.

He contacted the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice who told him that they decided not to take further action on his complaint due to the influx of ADA complaints they receive annually. 

AMC Entertainment didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. 

ADA says lack of handicap button not a violation

"Not having power doors isn't a violation under ADA," said Rebecca Williams with the Southeast ADA Center. 

While the ADA does dictate door widths and weight, there's nothing on the books for push buttons. 

Autistic children deserve separate sensory-friendly opportunities

The Guam Daily Post

…………. Physical disabilities are often quiet and can assimilate in crowds; autism is disruptive and unwelcome. Making room for autism requires not just structural but temperamental adjustments that few are willing to make if it infringes on their own enjoyment……………….

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