Workplace Accommodations R&D Digest - March 2006

Volume 4, Number 1

GREETINGS FROM THE WORK RERC!

This e-newsletter from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Workplace Accommodations is an update on our research, project activities, and resources of interest. The Work RERC is a NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center that identifies, develops and promotes new assistive and universally designed technologies that maximize independence and participation of people with disabilities in the workplace. More information about the Work RERC can be found at our website, http://workrerc.org/


EXCERPTS FROM THE FEBRUARY 2006 ISSUE OF “WORKPLACE ACCOMMODATIONS POLICY HIGHLIGHTS” NEWSLETTER

During the past few months, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment (ODEP) has made its focus interagency and inter-government cooperation regarding employment issues for individuals with disabilities. ODEP’s Assistant Secretary Roy Grizzard hosted a meeting with the steering committee of DisabilityInfo.gov, an effort to manage disability information from various government agencies. Grizzard also participated in an exchange session with members of the European Union (EU) regarding employment concerns for people with disabilities.

In judicial news, the Supreme Court upheld a jury decision stating that discrimination during the rehiring process falls under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The high court also made a precedent-setting ruling in the case of Karraker v. Rent-A-Center (No. 04-2881), stating that the use of personality testing in the job application process prior to extending an offer was forbidden by the ADA. Lastly, the Supreme Court has decided to review two cases (Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White [No. 05-259] and Jennifer Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp [No. 04-944], which could have implications on how “retaliation” and “small business” are defined.

In February, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its annual report on enforcement statistics and litigation and reported a decline in the total number of discrimination charges filed, with EEOC charges based on disability making up 19.7% of all filings with the agency. Finally, a study by the Center for Social Development and Education found that consumers prefer to support businesses that hire people with disabilities and a survey by the National Organization on Disability (NOD) found that emergency preparedness plans for the workplace are on a decline.

To read more about these and other important issues related to employment, disability and workplace accommodations, use one of the links below to the February issue of “Workplace Accommodations Policy Highlights.”

HTML format http://www.workrerc.org/News/Highlights1004.php
PDF format http://www.workrerc.org/News/Highlights1004.pdf


BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE WORK RERC

Georgia Tech’s Center for Assistive Technology & Environmental Access (CATEA) is looking for people to participate in a computer workstation research study. This study will help researchers learn more about the performance, utility and comfort of fully-integrated, adjustable computer workstations. The goal of this study is to collect information that can be used in the design and development of a new computer workstation.

We are screening and recruiting up to 60 individuals, including individuals who experience chronic low back pain, to participate in this study. During the session, we will take some physical body measurements using standard measuring devices such as a measuring tape or caliper and ask participants to do typical computer-related tasks like typing, editing, data entry, reading and using a mouse. After completing the tasks, we will ask participants their opinion of the experience.

Experience using computers and touch typing is necessary. Experience in heavy computer use environments including customer service, data entry, computer programming, media development, gaming, academic work and paralegal is desired. Students involved in computer programming and media development are being recruited. Both men and women are being recruited and minority participation is encouraged.

The research session will last approximately 3 hours. The activities will be recorded on video and audiotape for later analysis. Participants will be compensated $50 per session for their participation. Research sessions are scheduled for February 16th through March 3rd (excluding weekends) at CATEA, on the campus of Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.

If you are interested in this study and you fit the following characteristics, please contact us and refer to the Adjustable Supine Computer Workstation study:

In addition, we are recruiting up to 30 individuals with low back pain to participate in the study that fit the following criteria:

For more information about the study please contact Mr. Charlie Drummond CATEA at (404) 894-4960 or (800) 726-9119 for voice/TTY, or by email at focusstudies@coa.gatech.edu

Funding for this project provided by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education: Grant H133E020720.

* Join the RERC on-line discussion group on workplace accommodations for persons with disabilities at workrerc-talk@lists.gatech.edu

The Work RERC has an on-line discussion group on workplace accommodations, policy issues regarding employees with disabilities, and accessible design. The discussion group serves as a forum to ask our staff questions about specific issues and share resources. In addition, periodically we will moderate discussions on various topics related to workplace policy or accommodation services. The discussion is conducted via e-mail. To join the group, send a blank e-mail to sympa@lists.gatech.edu with "subscribe workaccommodations" in the SUBJECT line.

* Join our Consumer Advisory Network!
The RERC is looking for employees with disabilities to participate in future surveys and perhaps interview/focus groups on workplace accommodations. Sign up via our on-line form: http://www.workrerc.org/Contact/advisorylist.cfm

Complete the online form to become a member and provide feedback on existing products and services, future needs, and evaluation of new designs related to workplace accommodations.


WELCOME OUR NEW STAFF

Our publication, “Workplace Accommodation Policy Highlights,” has a new Editor, Avonne Bell. Avonee is a graduate student in Public Policy at Georgia Tech.

Melody Moore, the Project Director for our Audiomorph Research Project, has joined the staff of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech.


STAFF PRESENTATIONS

American Society on Aging and National Council on the Aging Conference
March 16-19, 2006
Anaheim, CA
http://www.agingconference.org
Invest in Aging: Strengthening Families, Communities and Ourselves

CSUN 21th Annual International Conference
March 20-25, 2006
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf/index.htm
Visit the CATEA exhibit at CSUN to learn more about our projects, and join us for the following educational sessions.

Consumer Perspectives on Workplace Accommodations: Findings from Focus Group
Wednesday, March 22
12:00-12:30 PM (Los Angeles - Hilton)
This presentation from the WorkRERC will include results from focus groups with persons with disabilities on their current and former experiences with workplace accommodations.
Presenters: Dory Sabata & Michael Williams

Workplace Accommodations for Older Workers: An Examination of Employer Practice
Wednesday, March 22
12:00-12:30 PM (La Jolla A - Hilton)
This paper presents the preliminary findings of research on the extent to which employers are currently accommodating older workers, with results assisting in the development of future accommodation strategies and providing groundwork to craft policy approaches to address this matter.
Presenter: Lynzee Head

Older Workers, Disability and Accommodations Employment
Thursday, March 23
12:00-12:30 PM (Century A/B - Hilton)
A user needs survey of 510 disabled individuals that examined the types of technology and accommodations needed to perform work and employment-related activities will be presented.
Presenter: Michael Williams

Workplace Accommodations: A Remote Possibility
Friday, March 24
12:00-12:30 PM (Boston - Marriott)
A comprehensive protocol for remote workplace assessments using videoconferencing is being developed through the RERC on Workplace Accommodations. Research to date will be shared through lecture/discussion.
Presenters: Carrie Bruce & Jon Sanford

Safety Regulations as Potential Barriers to Employment in a Manufacturing Environment
Friday, March 24
12:00-12:30 PM (Newport B - Hilton)
PowerPoint Presentation outlining OSHA regulations and enforcement procedures. Potential barriers, court cases, and proposed work efforts, concerning people with disabilities in manufacturing, will be discussed.
Presenter: Scott Haynes

Increasing Access to Wireless Technologies: Results of a Policy Delphi Study
Wednesday, March 22
9:20 - 10:20 AM (Century C/D - Hilton)
Paul Baker & Nathan Moon, Wireless RERC

Disabilities, (E) Voting and Access: A Survey of Voter Satisfaction
Thursday, March 23
3:05 - 4:05 PM (Newport C - Hilton)
Robert Roy & Paul Baker, Georgia Institute of Technology

Accessible Pedestrian Signals: A Field Test of the Relume and Polara Devices
Friday, March 24
12:00 - 12:30 PM (Denver - Marriott)
Mike Williams, U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs


USEFUL RESOURCES and OTHER EVENTS

http://www.assistivetech.net
This global assistive technology explorer is a resource for assistive technology (AT) products and a link to a wide variety of AT and disability-related information. The searchable database is designed to help users target solutions, determine costs and link to vendors that sell AT products.

National ADA Symposium
April 10-12, 2006
America's Center, St. Louis, Missouri
The National ADA Symposium is the most comprehensive conference available on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related disability laws. This premiere event offers sessions on a wide range of topics. It includes training by nationally recognized presenters who are key representatives from the agencies involved with the ADA, including the U.S. Dept of Justice, EEOC, U.S. Access Board, U.S. Dept. of Labor and the U.S. Dept. of Education. More information is available online at http://www.adasymposium.org or via email at ada@missouri.edu. If you have questions about the ADA or the Symposium, contact your regional ADA and IT Center at 1-800-949-4232 (voice/tty).

Workplace Preparedness of People with Disabilities Is Down – Personal Preparedness on the Rise
National Organization on Disability Releases Latest Statistics from Harris Poll. Four months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged the Gulf Coast and almost five years after September 11th, emergency preparedness in the workplace is on the decline, but personal preparedness for people with disabilities is on the rise, according to a recently released Harris Interactive survey commissioned by the National Organization on Disability’s (N.O.D.) Emergency Preparedness Initiative (EPI). Furthermore, the disabled community has yet to experience the comparable decrease in their anxiety levels about their own personal safety that the population without disabilities has experienced, this population reporting a 12% decrease since 2001. To learn more about the Emergency Preparedness Initiative, visit the NOD web site at http://www.nod.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.ViewPage&PageID=11&

National Council on Disability (NCD) Study on Employment Seeks Stakeholders Input
The National Council on Disability is currently conducting a study that will gather information from a wide range of sources and stakeholders regarding the issues that persons with disabilities encounter in seeking and maintaining employment. Rutgers University Program for Disability Research is facilitating this discussion for NCD via an online bulletin board at www.ncdadaemploymentstudy.com

Preparing the Workplace for Everyonet
Provides a framework of guidelines for federal agencies related to including employees and visitors with disabilities in emergency plans. The framework was developed by the Workplace Subcommittee of the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and People with Disabilities. Source:
www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/ep/preparing2.htm.


ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY (AT) IN THE WORKPLACE

Assistive Technology in the Workplace Training Videos The Center for Assistive Technology & Environmental Access (CATEA), in conjunction with United Cerebral Palsy, has produced a series of videos that are case study based that feature ways assistive technology has helped to create successful employment for people with disabilities. For the first time, all seven of the videos have been combined into a series on a single DVD or VHS. The captioned series, Assistive Technology in the Workplace Case Study Videos, is available in DVD or VHS format for $45.00 plus shipping. To purchase, call the Center for Assistive Technology & Environmental Access (CATEA) at 800.726.9119. Go to http://www.catea.org/training.php#t6 on the CATEA web site for more information.

The Illinois Assistive Technology Program has produced an updated guide on AT in the workplace:
Workplace Technologies: A Guide for People with Disabilities, Businesses, & Vocational Service Professionals http://www.iltech.org/workplace%20technologies.pdf or
http://www.iltech.org/workplace%20technologies.txt

If you have questions about AT or other issues related to job accommodations, please contact the Work RERC staff at 1-800-726-9119 (voice/TTY) or by e-mail at workrerc@coa.gatech.edu


If you would like to subscribe to this listserv, or if you prefer to leave the distribution list, you may do so by following the directions at the bottom of this e-mail or by contacting the project at workrerc@coa.gatech.edu or toll free at 1-800-726-9119 (voice/TTY).

To subscribe: Send e-mail to "sympa@lists.gatech.edu " with a SUBJECT of "subscribe workrerc-news".

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