Thank you, Sharon. Welcome everyone to the 2004/2005 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Audio Conference series, a collaborative effort of the ten Regional Disability Business and Technical Assistance Centers, DBTACs. You can reach your regional ADA center to have your ADA questions and issues addressed and find out additional information on the audio conference series by dialing 1-800-949-4232. A quick reminder that today''s session is being real time text streamed on the Great Lakes web site. You can visit www.adagreat lakes.org and follow the links to access the real time text streaming. You can save a text transcript of today''s session, if you do use the real time streaming. In addition, in about ten days, an audio archive as well as a transcript will be available on the Great Lakes ADA site for today''s session. Well, today it is, it is quite impressive. We have well over 130 locations from across the country joining us as we embark on a new endeavor in the ADA Audio Conference series. Today is the first in a three-part series dealing with reasonable accommodations, just to give you a quick reminder, prior to introducing our fabulous speakers for the day, about the upcoming sessions in April and May. On April 19th, we will have a Reasonable Accommodation: Best practices for an interactive process, and beginning on May the 17th, we will have a session dealing with how courts are looking at the reasonable accommodations. To get additional information on how to participate in these on the 2nd and 3rd of this reasonable accommodation series, again please contact your ADA Center at 1-800-949-4232. Today''s session is entitled "A Private Employer''s Perspective on Workplace Accommodations." And we are very pleased to have with us Sheila Newman, who is the Vice President of Cherry Engineering and Support Services, known to us at the DBTACs as CESSI. Also joining Sheila today is someone also very familiar to the DBTACs, Jennifer Eckel, who is the, she is the ADA Program Assistance Coordinator. So we are very pleased to have these ladies with us. And at this point I will turn it over to you for your presentation. Welcome.
Thank you. This is Sheila Newman, and I will start with a brief overview of the company. We are a federal government contractor. The company started in the field of information technology. And when I met Fred Cherry, the President, I told him the kinds of work that I did and what I could bring to the company. So when I joined, we also started to add disability related projects and contacts so we still do information technology. We have parlayed that into accessible technology now that we do government contracts, everything that we do has to be accessible under 508 of the Rehab Act. So we do accessible software, web sites, help the government buy accessible products. We also do a lot of studies and analysis; we work with the National Institute on Rehabilitation Research. We have evaluated the Rehab Services Administration''s Independent Living Center program. We do a lot of program management. And of course, when you are doing a lot of those kinds of works, you end up doing conference management. And we have a very talented staff that understands the accommodating participants who have disabilities which involves information from making sure if they need Braille, that all of the materials are Braille, if they want it on disk, large print, we make sure that accessible bathrooms are located on the floor of the meeting room, that there is accessible entrances. We have a hotel checklist. So even things as simple as making sure that the coffee is within a reachable level so if someone from a wheelchair can get coffee and not have to ask for help, when they put it up on those big risers. So we are a little bit different, in that we do have a lot of knowledge about disability on our staff. The President, Fred Cherry, is a former Vietnam prisoner of war. Fred spent 7.5 years in a prison in Vietnam and he has disabilities that he sustained from both ejecting from the aircraft when he broke his shoulder, his ankle and then the torture itself has caused a lot of joint damage. And like John McCain, he has trouble even combing his own hair because of the shoulder, damages from the torture. So Fred of course, even though it was an Information Technology (IT) company, was very interested when I suggested that we add the disability-related project. And this gave me when he asked me to join the firm then, it gave me a chance to practice what I have always taught because in my first career I was a rehabilitation counselor, and I was always out in the field trying to educate employers about people who have disabilities. And try to remove the attitudinal barriers that I encountered from the employers. And the most pervasive negative attitude that I found was that the employers focused on the person''s disability and not what they could do. And, you know, if you have a researcher who is blind and they have screen reading software and computer scanners, or, you know, enlargers if they are not totally blind, they can do just as good a job as a person who is not. So with technology, especially today, we need to try to get employers to focus on the abilities, not the disabilities. A little bit more about CESSI. CESSI is a division of a company that has about 550 employees. We were purchased just about a year ago. About half our employees in the IT section worked with, you know, started working in another division of the company. So CESSI division now has about 50 employees. Of those 50, 22 percent of our division employees have self-identified as having a disability. We have individuals working in about four locations in the Washington, D.C. area. And several employees telecommute at least 50 percent of the time. One of my best people happens to be in Pennsylvania, two hours away. So she does not come in very often. So all of this is to say that the support for the reasonable accommodation for CESSI comes from the top of the company, from the president, Fred Cherry and from myself, the Vice President. And in the 13 years that the company has been operating, we have never had a qualified applicant or employee that was denied a reasonable accommodation. We employ people who have disabilities for a lot of reasons. One is employee retention. If you have a flexible workplace willing to accommodate you, you are going to stay there. And we have had people who have been here for more than ten years. The other thing is performance. I hire people because they can do the job. And I think sometimes the people who feel that they have the most to prove will go out of their way to perform for you. I have a story that I like to tell, and I do not like for people to think of this as me saying these are super heroes, these are people doing their jobs. We, being a federal government contractor, we follow the federal government policies. So if the federal government is closed when it snows, then our offices are closed. But we have a call center here. Three of the people who work in that call center, two are in wheelchairs, one is blind, on a day that we didn''t have to come in here, and there was only about four people in the office, three of them were the people who have disabilities running that call center. So they braved the snow when the rest of us stayed home. And even when we have four-wheel drive. And the other reason is because I find people who have the skills to do the job. And when they interview, they choose us because they realize our philosophy and the way we do business is a company they want to work for. So I thought we would talk about the types of accommodations. And I do not know if you have my power point in front of you, but I have kind of listed some of the things that we look at, of course it is assistive technology. As I have said, technology continues to evolve. And sometimes we will just use it is software for the computer, like the screen reading software. Sometimes it is modifications to the workstations. Sometimes just an ergonomic chair or a desk, which raises or lowers, which does not really cost much more than, you know, a normal desk. We can modify work schedules. Certainly if a blind individual comes to the office and they are relying on transportation that is they cannot say they are going to be here exactly at 8:00, so we let them have a flexible start time. Sometimes people who take medication, it makes them either groggy or sick in the morning; we will let them have a flexible start time and stay later. We do offer the telecommuting. And, of course, we make sure that our work site is accessible. And Jennifer is going to talk more about that, about the structural changes and the battles we had with our building owner and some of the things that we had to do to try to get the space more accessible when they started to make some renovations, and she will talk about that later in the program. I talked about the types of accommodations. And I do want to further in the, I think maybe the last slide has some web resources. And Job Accommodation Network (JAN), the Job Accommodation Network, lists five steps to the to making a reasonable accommodation. And I will just quickly go over there, over these. JAN says to define the situation, to perform a needs assessment, explore alternative placement options, redefine the situation, and monitor the accommodations. And I think, you know, there is a whole lot of information on those resources, the site that you can go to. But those are five pretty simple steps that you can think of. And always include the person. What I have found is I will be racking my brain for an accommodation and the person who has the disability will usually know the solution they need before I need to rack my brain and remember that some people will not even need an accommodation. The types of assistive technology that we have purchased for people, software like the screen readers I mentioned, the voice input systems and then there is sometimes the hardware solution. When I have blind individuals who need to take notes at meetings to write the summary of the meetings, we use a product called Braille and Speak. We have purchased the closed circuit Television (TV)''s to enlarge things for people with low vision and then, again, ergonomic keyboards and head-sets. We currently don''t have any employees who are deaf, we have some hearing impaired but no deaf employees, and obviously TTY''s and now there is software for computers and with e-mail, individuals who are deaf kind of keep up with the work flow I think as much with e-mail as they do calling in on those products. Do you want to talk about the modifications to work stations?
Yes. This is Jennifer Eckel. When it comes to modifying work stations again the employee is going to be the best person to tell what they need. In our case, furniture, as far as the furniture being used by the employee, adjustable furniture accommodates someone who uses a wheelchair. We have had an individual who needed excellent back support. And a regular office chair, I guess they call them manager chairs or something that has sort of an extended back, was all that she really needed to make her accommodation. The office layout, simply creating maneuverability around the work space by, you know, moving the desk or the credenza or whatever office furniture there may be to the outer walls to make a regular office space accessible. We have lowered wall mounted items such a bulletin board or white board so they are within a seated seat range, and then equipment and adaptations I think that Sheila sort of covered under the assistive technology, but something as simple as a large-screen monitor may be all that is really needed for someone who has eye fatigue, perhaps due to MS or another disability.
And then modifications to schedules. This, this one is sort of the on the surface, one of the easiest to do in that it is not costly. But it can be tricky, because you have people who will look at an individual with a modified schedule and say, well, if they are coming in late, can I? And I think one of the key things there is to have in your employee guidelines, in your hand book, you know, what are your expectations for, you know, being on the job site and being very clear with that, even though we have excellent telecommuting and flex time policies, the policies are written and it is on a case-by-case basis. Flexible scheduling policy allows flextime with the approval of the manager. A delayed start time, again, we have in the employee handbook, you know, sort of a range of start time, you know, that we would consider acceptable. In one case we have made an exception to that. And that was with supervisor approval. So, you know, have the expectations written and understand that reasonable accommodation may mean modifying that, you know, to suit the needs of an individual with a disability, again, on a case-by-case basis. I will talk a little bit about telecommuting, because actually the first person in the company that I allowed to telecommute is not disabled. She had been with the company about five years. She was extremely valuable. This is the woman who lives in Pennsylvania. And she could not drive to work, 2.5 hours a day. And we decided that the majority of her job was writing. When she needs to be here to meet with a client, she does come in. So telecommuting is something that has certainly it is an accommodation for people who have disabilities but it is also an accommodation for people that you want to keep. And again, if you have the flexible work schedule, everyone knows what the parameters of that are, then that works well. Another thing, not just telecommuting but flexible schedules, even 30 hour a week schedules have allowed us to keep women who have young children or people who have disabilities who can''t do a 40-hour week, because of stamina. And so the telecommuting and the flexible work schedules have really allowed us to retain some valuable employees. About 20 percent of our division employees telecommute at least one day a week, and I have to admit that that includes me. If I have a proposal to write, I do that from home. I don''t get the interruptions of the office, and that works well for me. We had one blind individual who lived fairly far away and worked from home 100% of the time. We dialed her into meetings via telephone. She mostly, her jobs where writing, researching, and that worked very well for all of us.
She, as a matter of fact, would meet with, she was on my project team. And we would meet live about once every two months, just to touch base but for the most part we would just have monthly project planning meetings, and we communicated via phone or e-mail every day. And it worked very well. She supported some of the legal analysis that we do for the DBTACs and provided some of the news items that we would send off to them and they in turn would send along to their constituents in the field.
I do not know about your companies, but what I find the most trouble, the type of employee that I find that I can''t keep is an employee who can write well. And so when I find one, I will allow them just about any kind of flexible work situation that they want it, in order to keep those writing skills, and that certainly is something that can be done off-site and e-mailed within seconds and so, that has worked really well for us.
The next thing we are going to talk about is structural changes because we just went through this last year. And it was a very eye-opening experience. Now admittedly, we may not be the average employer because virtually everyone here has a background in disability related services, in one way, shape or form. But it is another thing entirely when you are in the position of trying to make these changes yourself. And so it was a learning experience for me. We have we are in a building that is older. And for the most part, it was accessible. We had, you know, an accessible entrance. We had vertical access. But it wasn''t perfect. It nothing is. But it really wasn''t good. It was okay. So the building was going to be doing some renovations, our lease was up. And so we had a negotiating tool. In that we needed to have some things done within our lease space. We had just gotten a new contract that involved hiring a bunch of new employee, and several of those people had mobility limitations. So all of a sudden the bathroom door, which was pretty heavy, became an issue. So we needed to get the door opener modify. We tried doing the simple, you know; loosen the pressure stop, whatever that thing is called, ourselves. And that was not good enough. So we did need to install a bathroom door opener at the same time we installed accessible signage with the Braille indicators on the signage. We rearranged furniture in the employee kitchen, just to create a path traveled to the microwave and the refrigerator and moved a table over to the side of the room. We needed to move the reception furniture around just a little bit to create a clear path of travel. We had a little coffee table that was out in the middle of the hallway, so that needed to be move around a bit. And then when we were negotiating with the building management to do the office spaces themselves, we need to point out the need for low-pile carpeting so people in wheelchairs didn''t have to have a, you know, harder push to get to their office spaces. And then some offices were reconfigured for greater accessibility. We just moved some furniture around and moved some stuff out of rooms that were being used for storage to create office space, and that sort of thing. So within our lease space, we had minimal changes. Now the real test came when we were asking the building for structural changes to the common areas. And I realized this is not just all-reasonable accommodation, but these were some of the things that we needed to do to assure that our workplace was sort of a model of accessibility, not just okay. So they, the building owners were going to be re-doing the front parking lot. And we met with them to talk about their plans. They were re-doing the parking lot. They were going to be moving some parking spaces around and working on the curb cuts and that sort of things. And so what we asked for was that they, you know, do striping of the parking lot so we had enough accessible spaces and that they put an electric door opener on the front door, which was also very heavy, and that they make curb cuts at the entrance. There had been one curb cut, which was pretty far down the sidewalk from the entrance, and not under the protective canopy. And then we have a lower level, which also has parking, and it is sort of the more desirable parking because it is covered. And the ramp to that door was what I call a Wahoo ramp because if you came out of that door and went down the ramp it is sort of a rodeo-like experience if you are in a wheelchair. There was no door opener on that door. And the accessible parking spaces were infringed upon by a couple of support pillars. So they were not really accessible parking spaces, they were just painted to look like one. And there really was any signage in the elevators. Those were the things that we asked for.
One thing just to mention, the woman that I speak about coming from Pennsylvania, always brings a briefcase on rollers full of work when she does come in. And she has enjoyed the ramp and the door opener as much as anyone in a wheelchair in terms of making it easier. And so again the accommodations that you make, make it easier for everyone, not just the person who has the disability.
And I use that ramp all the time myself. So steps to work space accommodations, this is going back to, within the employee work space, discuss the accommodation with the employee, ask for suggestions, for solutions. As Sheila said, most likely the employee is going to know exactly what needed to be done. If not, when you are researching it, they probably will be the best person to say which of the proposed solutions works best and also make sure that the solution for one employee doesn''t create an obstacle for another employee so, you know, by putting by modifying a work space you can''t be going into the path of travel that is going to be a problem for somebody who uses a cane or who uses a wheelchair. Steps to the office modifications, invite employees to notify you of hard to use or inoperable elements of your facility. Now when we modified the bathroom door, one of the employees who has sort of decreased mobility had mentioned that it was hard to open. And after we thought about it we thought, you know, it really is pretty hard to open. But we had not thought about that bathroom door until she pointed it out. And I think creating an environment where it is okay for people to say this really does not work very well for me, opens the dialogue to discuss what modifications may help. Again, ask for solutions, research the options, and then make the necessary modifications because they can be useful for a lot of people. The other thing that I think that is important to point out here is when you are doing something within your space; you are probably creating longevity for your team in that space. Because, if we had not been able to make these modifications we probably would have been searching for new space.
In a newer building.
Yes. It just would not have made sense for us, doing this kind of business, to stay in a building that was not going to work with us to make those modifications. To do the building modifications, we discussed the need for accessible features with the owners and managers, and this was an interesting conversation because they came in, I think, thinking that we were talking about a door opener, or, you know, something fairly minor, the Braille on the elevator buttons. And when we started to talk about the curb cuts and the ramp and that sort of thing, all of a sudden their willingness to work with us really started to slow down. And I found that I think that I had to give them a copy of the applicable sections of the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) three times because they seemed to misplace it, or somebody gave it to somebody else. And so part of this process was really sort of staying on them. And asking for the time line and the modifications to the front of the building that was supposed to be done within eight weeks, ended up taking close to eight months. Because certain things would back up in their process and then they said, well, we can''t possibly put the door opener on because the parking lot isn''t done. And my question was is the same contractor doing the door that is doing the paving? And in fact of course they were not. It was someone else. So it took a lot of vigilance on our part and that can sometimes be frustrating and I have a new appreciation for that frustration. In the end it was definitely worth it for us. Because we are in a state that anyone can come to. And ultimately the building owners were sort of talking about it as our issue. You know, we needed accessibility. And we pointed out to them, but you also have other tenants that need accessibility too. There is a dentist in this building, a real estate firm in this building. All of us need that accessibility. And so I found that the more written information that I could provide to them. And we have it here. But you can get it from your ADA Technical Assistance Center. You can get that kind of information on what a building what an accessible entrance should look like. What is the what kind of a ramp should we have? How many parking spaces do we need to be accessible? That sort of information and that is what our building managers needed. And in working with three different contractors, not one of them had that information at hand. And so it is something that needs to be provided to them.
One of the things is we hired more individuals who are in wheelchairs, is that we realized that we needed a more formal evacuation plan than what we had. And so now we have the building accessible and we need to start thinking about and actually the first week, we hired two individuals in wheelchairs, and the very first week they were working the power went out in the building and it was off for about two hours, it was just about closing time and we are thinking okay, the elevators aren''t working. It wasn''t an emergency situation. But we have a couple of people in wheelchairs that we needed to get down the stairs. And so those really made us stop and develop an evacuation plan. And obviously, after what happened on 9/11, I think that everyone has spoken about evacuation plans, whether or not they are, they have disabled employees. It is just a smart thing for any company to do. So we and I think the first step would be to ask the employees, with or without disabilities, to discuss what their needs are. And there might even be people who have trouble getting down the stairs that do you not even know about. Hip problems, or whatever, so talking with the employees, that helped. One of the first things that we did was we got the building people, the building manager and the Fire Marshal to come here and to meet with us and to talk about what we needed to do. And actually, I think while the Fire Marshal was here, the power went out, or we had a fire. Something happened that it really made it evidence of what we needed. And so we had the Fire Marshal, the building people, some of the employees in our conference room and we met to devise the evacuation plan. Now ours is you know, what we decided to do is that there is a safe room that the fire department now knows is here, that if this building has a call, they know to come. In the meantime, we also have some other plans to get the people down the steps. We looked at purchasing evacuation chairs, and we have not decided on a particular chair, or possibly two chairs because we have a very large person who is in a chair. And we needed a different type of evacuation chair than the other people. Thus far the employees haven''t pushed for an evacuation chair. They like the procedures that we have to get them down, which is one person prefers to be in her chair, another prefers to be carried, so working with the employee is very, very important and then providing the staff training on the evacuation procedures as well. Do you have anything to add to that?
I think an interesting thing that the Fire Marshal pointed out to us, that we had no way of knowing prior to that, was average response time. They were the ones who suggested that the safe room. They located it for us. They told us how to signal, to rescue personnel from that room. And they put it in. Evidently each building has a safe box or a firebox, ours is in our main lobby that when emergency personnel are responding to something at that building, they go directly to that firebox. That is how they can override an elevator or turn on sprinkler systems or whatever it is that they need to do. And right in that box is our security information and our rescue information. So that was very enlightening. We really did not understand that they would do that and in every building. And it also helped us make our plans for where people go in the event that they cannot get down the stairs. And as Sheila said, we are still looking at different evacuation chairs. There are so many on the market that have different features, to say one is better than the other, I think, really depends upon the needs of the individuals.
Now we are on the second floor. If we were on the 15th floor, we may have made that decision by now. But we do have another protocol in place for getting people off the second floor. Well, just to summarize what we have said, we certainly think it is a good idea to have the evacuation plan. But talking more about work place accommodations, the commitment to accommodation has to begin at the top of the organization. And I realize that we are not a typical organization, because we have 22 percent of our employees with disabilities and we have a lot of disability knowledge in-house. On the other hand, it is not difficult, and there are a lot of resources, and it is not expensive. And we are a company. We are in business to make money. And we do make a good profit every year so we stay in business. And so it is not like we are, you know, atypical in that way in that we certainly everyone works. It is we are not just giving people jobs. They are here because they want to produce. We have them here because they are contributing to the profitability and the work of the company. And so we talk about the accommodations, you know, being structural, equipment, flexibility scheduling, things that cost a little money, things that cost no money. I have found that when I am interviewing someone, and I just talk about the flexibility, whether or not it is a person who has a disability and I talk about the flexibility that increases the person''s interest in us. And not everyone is going to be able to work from home, and we will admit that. There are people who will take advantage. And then you have to pull them back to the office. I have not found that to be the case in very many instances. And I think because it is the philosophy of the company that if you work here, you produce, that, you know, we do not have those problems.
We also all have specific deliverables. And so in that sense, that is the manager''s benchmark, it is if the employee is producing. Are they meeting their deliverables for that particular contract? That might not be the case for every employer, but in a situation like ours, I think that that is something that could be adapted to other situations too, even if you are not in a contract situation, by defining the employee''s deliverables each month, each quarter or whatever the time frame is. You have a pretty good sense if they are producing or not.
And, you know, then just to summarize, I think we are a high retention rate of both individuals with or without disabilities is due to our flexibility, our concern for the employee and understanding that we take pride in our work. And when we do deliver something to the government, we want it to be the best possible product, whether it is software that we develop, or whether it is research that we have written, or an evaluation that we have done.
Oh, I just wanted to add something to that. You know, we do have employees that leave of their own volition or they are asked to. And I think it, it needed to be said that you don''t have to keep an employee with a disability that is not producing. I think, you know, Sheila goes out of her way to make accommodations. But that doesn''t mean that the employee with the disability is not going to be expected to produce, you know, whatever it is that is necessary in their job. And so I think, for some employers, you know, the thought of employing people with disabilities is a concern because they are concerned about the cost, but they are also concerned about am I going to be able to fire a person with a disability? Am I going to get sued? Well, you can fire a person with a disability if they are not performing, just like you would anyone else.
And, you know, as Vice President, one of my major responsibilities is to keep the work coming by writing proposals and getting new contracts and make profit. And if a person is not pulling their weight, I''m not going to make a profit because I''m billing that person against work that someone else has to do. So I have let people go, both disabled and non-disabled because, again, we are in the business for the reason that any business is in business, and that is to make money.
And unfortunately most of the people that leave, it is because they are moving up or going on to other jobs.
And we have lost a couple of people who had disabilities that were accommodated here who made a name for themselves or even improved their reputation by the work they did here and were very hot commodities on the market, especially here in D.C.
Either went to universities or bigger employers who could pay more money.
Right. So I think that is what we had to share with you today. And oh, web resources. Go ahead.
Well, we just listed three. And I think among the three resources that are on the power point, you will be linked to hundreds more, probably. The first one is ADATA, for technical assistance, www.adata.org. The second one is a contract that we perform for the Office of Disability Employment Policy, it is called www.earnworks.com. Earnworks.com, and in case you-we convinced you today that disabled employees are valuable, Earnworks is a place that can you go and actually try to recruit people who have disability. Another one that I mentioned before is JAN, the Job Accommodation Network that web site is www.jan.wvu.edu, it is at West Virginia University. Thank you.
Thank you for listening. And we are happy to take questions.
Great. Well, thank you, this is Robin Jones, and I am joining the call, I apologize I was not here at the beginning. But I have listened to your presentation Sheila and Jennifer. And it was good. And we will see what happens here with people asking questions. So if we can just have the operator give instructions and begin the process of people in the cue, we will move forward with the question and answer portion.
Thank you. We will now begin the question and answer segment of the conference. If you would like to ask a question during this period, please press star-1 on your touch-tone phone. If you are in cue and no longer wish to ask your question, press star-9. If you enter the digit incorrectly, please allow 5 seconds before re-entering them.
Yes, hi, guys. Can you hear me?
Okay. The question I have is: Did you take advantage of any of the tax credits and, if so, how was that process?
We did not take advantage of the tax credits. Our accounting system set up for the government contracting is such that our accountant just really didn''t believe that we needed the credits, so I cannot help you with that, perhaps Jennifer or Robin can. They can be very, very valuable to smaller employers. And I would highly recommend looking into it. I think that the paperwork has been eased a little bit. But we did not take advantage of them.
I think the other thing that you have to keep in mind here, this is Robin just interjecting, is that I do not believe that you would have been eligible for the tax credit because of the size of your entity and your gross revenues. The IRS tax credit Disability Credit Deduction is for employers of 30 or fewer employees, or $1 million or less gross revenues. So you would have to meet that criteria first.
Yes. We probably outgrew that within the first couple of years that I was working here, which might be why the accountants did not pursue that.
And the Architectural Barriers Tax Deduction would be up to $15,000 per year for the removal of architectural barriers but, again, these are benefits which are available, that does not have a size of employer attached to it. But again, if a employer cannot make use of a deduction based on their other business operations, it may not be useful. But it is something very much a part of the reasonable accommodation process that we would encourage employers to take into consideration. And if you need more information related to the tax credits, there is a couple of ways that you can get that. The U.S. Department of Justice has a tax packet on their web site at www.ada.gov. It is targeted or geared towards businesses from the perspective of meeting obligations under Title III of the ADA but the same tax credits and deductions can be used under Title I of the ADA. If all else fails, also can go to the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov, and you would do a search, the two tax credits or deductions, the Disabled Tax Credit is IRS Code 190 and the Disabled Access Deduction is IRS Code 44. So you could do a search for those and get the information related to that. So we will move on to our next question, please.
Yeah. I just have a quickie, I hope. After requesting an accommodation, how long should an employee how long should an employee need to wait before the accommodations come through and what if the employer balks at the request? What can the employee do?
I might not be a good person to answer the second one because you certainly as the employer, I cannot imagine why you would balk, because otherwise you would have an employee who can''t be effective in doing his or her job if he or she does not have the accommodation they need. In terms of us, you know when we hire someone, we immediately ask what they need. Some people bring equipment with them. It shouldn''t take more than a week, I would think, you know, if it is software, if it is screen reading software, we know where to get it and have it shipped within a few days. So I think it would depend on the accommodation. Jennifer, do you have something?
I think for some employers, if they haven''t done this before, it may take a little while. There may be channels they need to go through, the manager might need to go to HR, that sort of thing. A lot of it depends on the accommodation requested too, because again if it is a flexible start time or a flexible work schedule, HR will need to look closely at, you know, what is in their employee manual, that sort of thing. And is this going to be something that they can do for that particular position, for other positions? So for some employers, if it is the first time they are being asked, it may take a little longer. And if you are an employee, or a applicant in that position, I would suggest trying to provide as much information as possible about the need for the accommodation, not necessarily revealing anything about the disability that do you not want to reveal, but just the desired accommodation. And if you have purchase information or procurement information, that would be very helpful because a lot of people aren''t going to know where to go to look for that.
Then again I think involving the top management, you know being the Vice President, I can just make that decision, yes, we are going to purchase the accommodation. And like Jennifer said, if you are in a very large company with a lot of departments, you may not be able to do that. But having the top management involved and understanding the importance of the accommodation is going to help.
Okay. Thank you.
I think this is also one of those things as companies develop the reasonable accommodation processes and look at those issues. They really do have to examine as part of that what barriers might exist internally to being able to implement a reasonable accommodation, which could be looking at as part of their modification of policies and procedures, looking at a different purchasing system. For the purposes of addressing reasonable accommodation because it may not be reasonable to wait for 6 weeks for bidding to go out because it has to go through 5 channels. They may need to look at, is there a method or a way that we can modify for the purposes of addressing reasonable accommodation. And it also should be looked at as a fact that an employee cannot be penalized for their performance during that period of time for which reasonable accommodation has not been provided. Once it has been made aware of the fact that they need a reasonable accommodation or why they are going through the reasonable accommodation process because obviously they have not been provided the reasonable accommodation that may allow them to be able to perform the essential functions of the job.
Our next question.
Have you had any experience with providing reasonable accommodation for employees from a temporary agency? If so, who bore the cost, etc? Thank you.
I have not. I can''t answer that; maybe Jennifer or Robin can address it. Generally but I have not had that experience.
I can provide some insight or some information related to that. I think that you have to go back to the issue of the fact that as you look at the various context of who is the employer, and who has the obligation and what is the actual relationship that you have with the employee? Are you controlling the employee''s work? Are you the person or the entity responsible for the discipline and actually, you know, are you deemed or considered to be the employee''s employer during that period of time. And also going back to the issue of looking at what relationships and what agreements have been put in place, as you work with the temporary agencies relate to that. It is a shared or dual responsibility, it is not one pointing the finger at the other in regards to that, that the employer does have an obligation, even if it is a temporary agency employee to address reasonable accommodation for that individual when they are working in their site. But it begs that the entity should be considering those things up front when they make arrangements and agreements to hire from temporary agencies so it is clear between the various entities and groups as to who is doing what, and whose responsibility or whose going to be covering different things. There are so many different ways that employers work with temporary agencies from a situation of more of a leasing employees to, you know, just strictly a placement of someone for a temporary period of time, so a lot of factors would have to be considered in that mix. There is a very good guidance that gives some directions and I think again you will always going to be able to say, you know this may or may not exactly 100 percent fit my particular situation. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on their web site has guidance very specific to this issue of reasonable accommodation and employment of individuals with disabilities through temporary agencies, leasing and other kinds of agreements. That can be found at their web site at www.eeoc.gov, under their Enforcement Guidance Section, which there is a link to in the front page. And as you get to that page, search down through the page you are looking for the Enforcement Guidance related to temporary employment agencies and it does gives some good instruction, direction, and things that a employer should consider when they enter into or engage into agreements with temporary employment agencies, leasing agencies and such that should be done at the front end. It is a problematic situation when what happened is you don''t have those agreements, you don''t have those discussions and then you have an employee coming from one of those agencies and no one has even considered or looked at it or taken it into consideration. Then obviously it presents more complexities because you backing into it instead of coming into it forward.
Thank you, our next question.
Hi, how are you? This question is from Sheila Newman. You talked earlier about the ability to you can fire a disabled worker. My question to you is: Have you ever been sued by a worker who was disabled that was fired and what was the outcome?
I have not been sued.
Or your company?
The company has not been sued, I have only had to let a few people go for not doing their jobs, and I think they realized that we had bent over backward to accommodate them and that they would have no case, that they simply weren''t performing the job. It had nothing to do with their disability or that it wasn''t the disability, that there was nothing more we could do to accommodate them. They simply either didn''t have the work ethic or they had indicated that they at a certain level of writing, research and they didn''t have the skill set.
But shouldn''t you have also had do you have to establish a documented paper trail showing all efforts of accommodation?
The efforts of accommodation I do. On other things in Virginia, I don''t tend to document because Virginia is an at-will employer, but in terms of the accommodation, that is well-documented of what we did, whether it was flexible start times, whether it was purchase of equipment, you know, it was a number of sessions with managers saying that the work is not up to par, those types of things.
Okay. Good speech. At Howard University, when new employees coming in, it is at-will also but the statewide was not at-will, you know, like Virginia is an at-will state employee.
I think the whole issue of documentation is something that an employer needs to look at in regards to, you know, what would you be using the documentation for, and how, you know, what is the value of that documentation and such. I think what needs to be included in that documentation of accommodations that were provided or not provided, should be documenting at both sides of it and there is also the various issues of things that were looked at. So that you are not documenting what was actually given but also what was the range of things that were actually considered and why or why not were those decided at that time, not to be reasonable or not to be consistent with what was being requested as reasonable accommodation or not substantial evidence of limitation related to doing a job or whatever it might be that you be documenting about the decision, you know would be something that you would want it to be complete with. Not just the positives, but also the negatives as well.
If an individual left your organization and had a disability that most of the staff has gotten accustomed to, do you feel compelled to replace that person with a similar disability because they probably were in counseling or gave assistant to other individuals?
No. When I consider a person, I don''t consider the disability. I consider the abilities. And with 22 percent of our workforce being people who have disabilities, we certainly I mean I like to provide opportunities for, you know, minorities, women with children, people who have I will choose the most qualified person. I just happen to have a lot of qualified people who do have disabilities.
Okay. Thank you. Have you ever had an encounter of a case of a person being terminated because of poor work ethics but then at the end of the day claim a disability that you were not knowledgeable of?
No. I have not had that experience. And I hope that we run the type of company that a person would feel comfortable telling me that they have a disability and that is why their performance you know could be enhance with either flexible work schedules, telecommuting or whatever. I think we do have such an open environment about that, and we have so many people with both invisible and visible disabilities that I don''t expect to encounter that situation.
Okay. Thank you.
Thank you the next question.
Yes. We have a question for you about if you had an employee with a severe disability such as ADHD at a severe level, a cognitive disability or someone who really had a lot of trouble with reading and/or writing, would you possibly reduce the workload, especially if a high volume of paperwork is involved? Do you have any ideas of additional accommodations for people with these kinds of disabilities?
That would be a hypothetical for me because the majority of the kinds of work that we do requires skills in writing. You know, that is one of the things that I always look for, is a good writer. Now, maybe some more of the support positions but I''m going to let Robin or Jennifer take that because I have not encountered that. I do have a son with ADD and I have had to help him with accommodations, and he is now in college. So I have some experience with accommodations, but as an employer I have not dealt with that.
I actually have had an employee who had ADHD, and some other issues which were not entirely diagnosed but the accommodation that we made for him, because this was a small organization. It wasn''t something that we could you know, supplement his or have someone else support him entirely. But what we were able to do for him was to create a more private workspace. His job was in kind of a call center area. And there were three employees sharing that space and for him that was just too distracting, it would mean mistakes in his work and that sort of thing. And so what we were able to do was just buy those portable barriers, and sort of surround his desk with them. It was not a very big room either sot his was a little tricky. But we were able to kind of create the visual privacy and some sound barrier for him and we also purchased headphones for him. And it created some periodic break times so he could get out of the sort of bullpen area and go to a quieter place so that he could focus, and that was really the only accommodation that he needed in that situation. And it worked very well, as it turns out, it worked better for the other two people in that space as well. Because by creating the visual and sound barrier for his space, it made their areas a little more private too. So it did make us a little bit more efficient but that was my only experience with that.
I have seen some good resources. I can''t give it to you off the top of my head but for employers on making accommodations for people with ADHD. But some of the ones I remember because I was looking for my son was to break assignments into smaller tasks, to check on the employee a little more frequently, to see how they are progressing with those tasks. But there are resources on the web that you can find, and of course we are not talking about costly accommodations in any way for that particular disability.
And I think what should be reminded here, we are always talking about reasonable accommodations with any type of disability, the employee still has to be qualified and so the employer would not be required to eliminate or reduce the employees'' outputs. I mean, for example, if you have an employee that, due to a cognitive or other type of an impairment related to their disability, they were not able to produce the number or quantity of, you know, gadgets or outputs that the employer required, there would not be an obligation on the part of the employer to reduce those. What they would have to look at what could they do potentially to allow the employee to at least achieve what was the minimum standard in the organization? I think one of the things we struggle with sometimes as employers or with employers is the concept that if an individual is receiving a reasonable accommodation, there is always a mind set that that employee should be performing at the top or be among their top employees because of course they are receiving this accommodation. I think that we have to make sure that we keep in the mind-set that our employees are all going to be different in their abilities and such. And that if we have a standard of which we hold all employees too, we are never required to lower that standard but I also can''t expect and shouldn''t expect an employee with a disability should be performing as my, quote unquote, best or top employee. They just have to be a qualified employee. That sometimes comes into the mix. When you talk about someone with cognitive impairment, again you got different issues that could come into play, is the cognitive impairment related to an inability to learn or inability to learn new information? Or is it just an issue that the information needs to be presented differently? How does this fit into the position, the job and the way things are done in the work force. Maybe that individual is not able to do a particular job and you may look at what other options might be available that might be outside the ADA, in the context of the ADA, such as looking at supported employment options that may be looking at carving certain aspects out of a job and such that were done for the purposes specifically of trying to support individuals in employment settings but are not a competitive, or the same kind of context other position. But maybe it is something that the employers can engage in it and many employers are involved in supportive employment programs across the country.
Next question please.
Hello. Our question is who determines what is reasonable in each case? Who that person might be in the businesses?
For us, it is working with the employee. And I guess, you know, there are, you know, I''m kind of at the top to make that decision, I guess, in terms of what I will purchase or not but I have never refused something that an employee and a manager has recommended. I have not had anything that I would that I would foresee as being unreasonable. So I think that will depend on each company, how big they are, how many levels, and chains of command. I sometimes forget, being a smaller company that some people just can''t make decisions and say, yes, we are going to purchase this, or no, we are not. This will going to depend on the company but certainly involve the employee in that decision, do not just assume that, oh, I''m going to hire a person who is blind and I''m going to buy them JAWS. They may have used Window Eyes, those are both screen reading software and so make sure that you ask the person what they are used to using, you know, what works best for them.
That is also where the research component comes in which, I mean, this does not have to be huge, elaborate and time-consuming but say there are three products on the market that do the job that needs to be done, and, you know, the employee says, okay, this is what I need. And the employer looks at the three products and the price points are, you know, maybe $500 disparity, the question is: What gets the job done? They do not have to purchase the most expensive if it does not add that much value.
But another thing to consider is if that someone has been using a product, there might be learning time that you would lose the $500 on the more expensive product if there is new learning time involved and an assistive technology that is different from what they have used at a different site of employment. So I think talking it through, and looking at all of those aspects of both, you know, how comfortable they are with the product they have been using, if it is a person who has a disability that is acquired, or they are losing their vision and they haven''t used anything before, that is the time to do research because they have not already been using a product and you want to find the one that fits best and look at cost and all of that.
And, you know, again, as I use that example, I''m in my 50s now and we are all going to be acquiring age-related disabilities and so these are important things to keep your workforce, someone acquiring a disability whether from aging or from an accident or whatever, these are important issues.
We are all getting bigger and bigger screens on our computers. [LAUGHTER ]
I think it should also be you know, I think we have to think about the fact that the final decision about what accommodation is to be provided or what is, "reasonable for that employer" does rests with the employer. An employer, applicant or someone may have a different perspective of that, but the bottom line is, it is going to be the employer that is going to make that decision and then it is going to be in a situation where that may be challenged, the employer has to defend the decision that they made. As to why, and that is where the documentation, making sure they have done the research and that they had looked at the options and things available. Because just taking one thing stopping at that and decide oh it is not reasonable, is potentially problematic for the employer. Next question please.
Hi, thank you for this opportunity. A town''s two-year-old master plan for redevelopment recommends that stores and art galleries and the like be on the first floor but banks and offices must be on the upper floors. Now if a elevator is not planned, say in a new three-storey building, will a bank be expected to have a ground floor room with a safety deposit box area and cash drawers as a reasonable accommodation?
Well, first of all, I think this is a Title III question, from what I am hearing is that this more about the ability to get into the place of public accommodation and that is the first concern. Then, of course, you have the question about can the employee get in there? But to me the question is more a Title III question.
Okay. And I guess I was going to say, since a large percentage of even employees, people have to use banks and doctors, or say employees at the banks, is this would this be considered possibly a discriminating zoning practice?
I think certainly if it is new construction you have to say, you know, what how is that accessible?
And if it is not, then that is in violation of the ADA.
Great. Okay. Thank you.
Thank you our next question.
Hi. I just had a quick question regarding flexible schedules. I was just wondering, is there any specific wording that someone must use in order to request a flexible schedule of some kind to handle their disability? We have a case where a previous administrator acknowledged that an employee had an open-ended flexible schedule. However the new administrator did not know that that existed and took some actions because of it. I was just wondering if there was any kind of I cannot find any in section 504 or any part of the ADA.
Well, there is no requirement that ones you know, you don''t have to have specific language to request an accommodation. You can, the ADA doesn''t put the burden on the employee to say I need a reasonable accommodation. They don''t have to know that language. The ADA would say that if the employees identify themselves as needing any kind of accommodation, whether or not they know the language that the employer needs to consider that if they are a covered employer. To me what is troubling is when you say this open-ended flexible schedule, because to me that that means that there is no parameter, there is what is the expectation of time spent? What is the expectation of arrival or departure? That kind of thing, it can be flexible within a certain time frame. But for any kind of control on the part of the employer, it seems that that needs to be somehow defined.
I even when I have we have had temporary situations with people who were taking cancer treatments, and had fatigue or needed flexible schedules, fewer hours, whatever that kind of situation, it was kind of defined and because we are a government contractor, we do have to keep time sheets if we are billing the contracts. And that helps define if you it is fraudulent to put down hours that you have not worked, so even if a person is working at home, we demand that they keep that time sheet accurate. So if someone needs fewer hours per week, with the health benefits that we have, you have to work 30 hours a week to get health benefits so we try to keep a person who needs to cut back at least 30 hours, we never just say come in any time you want. It is more I''m usually sick until about 11:00 in the morning or my medication does not kick in until then. Or that is the best time to catch the disabled ride service. So that you have got a parameter of an 11 o''clock start time and whatever is the stop time is. I don''t know that I would trust myself to say I''m just going to work when I feel like it today. And so I think that you do have to have, whether you write it down, or it is just the manager, the supervisor and the employee all know that, there has to be some established guidelines.
This employee always had 40 hours that was put in, just it just varied as to when it was worked, if it was over the nighttime hours or during the weekend but it was always a 40 hour week and there was never a there never seemed to be any kind of an incident or problem until a new administrator that claimed they didn''t know about this schedule found out about it. That is why I was wondering, and if it would still be valid considering that an old administrator knew about it and granted it.
It looks like the responsibility is still on the employer to make the accommodation, and the employee would still certainly have some precedent setting background there by saying, well, this is how I have worked for the past X amount of time, and it worked well enough that, you know, my supervisor was satisfied just because the incoming supervisor didn''t know of the accommodation should not invalidate the accommodation. Now I do not know how big the organization is or anything like that. But if there is a HR department there is the possibility that someone in the HR knew of the accommodation. And it should have been their responsibility to brief the supervisor. But I would just suggest that the employee should not be penalized because a new supervisor didn''t understand the accommodation.
And certainly if that employee has been performing, whether or not the 40 hours worked, were they doing enough work to justify the 40 hours? Then I would think that a new administrator would look at all of that and still grant the same accommodation.
Okay. Thank you.
Next question please.
Hi, and I think you might have already addressed this question. But I will throw it out there since I''m in the cue. Have you ever turned down an accommodation, and how did it go over or how did you approach that with the employee?
I have not turned down an accommodation. I can''t even think of anything that someone would request that I would. They may make outlandish ones in the future but I will let Jennifer or Robin handle that because I have not turn down one. I think, when I talked to the person about what a reasonable accommodation might be, and again sometimes the more nebulous ones of the telecommuting or the flexible schedule or a temporary disability or a disability that is acquired would alter the circumstances of when that might happen, but I have not had any of what I consider to be unreasonable requests.
I''m going to be honest I have not either. You know, it is interesting, because if you are going to get into the mind-set that this is the employee that I want, and they say this is sort of what is going to take to do that job, you really go through this process of weighing, you know, the employee and their talents versus the accommodation, it almost always comes out on the side of the employee and their talents because I do not know where you are located but in our labor market, there is pretty good competition for qualified people and so, so far, I can''t think of anything that I have ever been asked for that would be considered unreasonable.
I think that there is different issues of when you look at that issue of turning down or help me be viewed by people because I know I have situations, I have worked with employers as well as myself directly where I may have had a specific request for an accommodation but I may not have actually provided their preferred accommodation but I will you know, will look at a variety of different options and having to deal with that issue of the employee wanting one thing and maybe, you know, as a employer providing something other than what the employee wanted. Getting back to whether or not it was effective or whether or not that accommodation actually worked or allowed the individual to do the job, I think that is an issue that can come up. I think that the fact that if you engage in and keep the employee connected in the process and make sure that it is truly interactive so that as you exploring the various options or as you are looking at why one thing may or may not work or why one thing may be preferred by the employer, as the accommodation, and viewed as still being effective, why you have made that choice so that the employee or the individual is well aware as part of that process is going on and can share in some of your thinking related to that. They might not 100 percent agree but as you bring someone into the process or at least allow them to be part of the process and the discussion you will be far more successful in that than not. I think when you look across the board, and we look at someone saying some things not reasonable or not providing accommodation, typically where that occurs is where even with that accommodation, the person still would not be able to do the job or the accommodation is so far outside of their resources or the situation that it may be an administrative impact type situation where it is not cost or anything, but the individual saying they want to come to work when they can. And you just can''t accommodate that in a position where that person is your person greeting people who are coming in, or starting the customer service calls at 8:00 in the morning and can you not have that kind of a situation and still operate.
Right. And that is where you might consider changing the job itself where they did not have to greet but they would do, you know, something similar in the company. Again, that depends on the size of the employer, and the types of jobs that you have.
What your needs are.
Thank you very much. We have another one. Here is another question.
We are going to have to move on, just so at least everyone gets a chance, there is a lot of people in the cue, put yourself back in the cue if you want to but I cannot promise. We will take then next question please.
The next question, go ahead.
Go ahead to the next one.
Hi, can you hear me? We work for a fair housing center and I had a general two-part question, in speaking with one of the an investigator from a state civil rights agency, we had a discussion recently that talked about reasonable accommodations and the fact that in the workplace it would not be considered an accommodation if it was not carried out at that workplace, for instance, when you are talking about flex time and maybe somebody was going through cancer treatments or a pregnancy that couldn''t be in the office as often or something like that, and I do not know what wording specifically or what laws or statutes that he referred to but it was just something that enlightening to us as a fair housing agency. Because often we request reasonable accommodations for people to be let out of their leases and he was telling us that actually, that wouldn''t be considered a accommodation because they are asking to get out of the lease and be out of that place, where you know, they should technically be allowed to have their accommodation on-site. Does that make sense to you?
Let me just say that reasonable accommodation language is just in title one, the employment.
You know, they may be asking for some other consideration and modification to a policy or a practice from the fair housing office, but reasonable accommodation is really just employment language.
Just employment language? We use it often with fair housing issues in cases.
Well, okay. In the ADA, I should say.
Perhaps it is in, you know, other legislation that you abide by, but within the ADA and also a lot of people I mean do use reasonable accommodation when they are talking about a modification. It is language that is sort of generically meaning how do we make sure that someone with a disability can participate.
Technically it is just in Title I.
Well, can you tell me as far as like what I mentioned with the employment, is it still considered, if someone were to say, you know, I have to be working less, he was saying that if they, if the accommodation cannot be made on-site, then it was not a accommodation.
I disagree with that. And I would refer you to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)''s Guidance on Reasonable Accommodation. Because they do talk about, you know, opportunities, flex time and that kind of thing. I know they have some guidance on telecommuting and I''m not, I cannot recall exactly what that says, but I do believe that telecommuting is considered an accommodation. I think that they acknowledge that that is not something that would be considered reasonable for all employers.
It is very job specific.
And I think you really have to give a lot of consideration to what is the job that the person has? What is the limitation that the individual has, and do they have a disability if you are looking at it from the perspective of the ADA, because not everyone with cancer is bound to be a person with a disability, they may be eligible for other benefits or other services such as if they are a large enough employer, there is a FMLA-Family Medical Leave Act, and the person needs leave or needs an intermittent schedule or something of that nature. That person may not actually meet the definition of disability under the ADA and so then you wouldn''t apply the ADA in that context but you might look at other laws or other things that were in place there. Also you would have to look at the nature of the position. If the individual wants to be working at home or telecommuting and that position is highly structured or supervised type position, that supervision and that structure may not be able to be provided in a telecommuting situation or they need to have a certain interface with customers or on-site or something of that nature, that is the nature of the job. That is why there is the case by case evaluation needs to be taken and there is never really something or anything that is never going to be, you know, in that context reasonable accommodation, goes back to that context case by case, job by job or employer by employer.
We have a lot of disagreements in regards to what is temporary, an accommodation for a temporary disability versus a permanent long-standing then, you know, in case of, like, pregnancy or cancer treatment?
Pregnancy is not going to be considered as a disability under the ADA and cancer is not going to be considered as disability under the ADA, you have to go back to the analysis first of all pregnancy is short term. Now if someone had some kind of a consequence of their pregnancy that resulted in a maybe they had a stroke or something of that nature that resulted in some kind of a impairment as a result of their pregnancy, they may meet the definition of the disability under the ADA, but that is a short term condition that is expected to resolve itself in 9 months or there about. In regards to cancer, that is going to differ with the person. A person may be under the treatment of cancer and may have a lot of side effects, and weakness and other kinds of associated with it, but whether or not that is a long term chronic limitation for that individual it is going to depend on case by case with the type of cancer, was there a removal of organs, did it affect other kinds of functions that impact their major life activities and definition? All of that would have to be gone through as part of the analysis.
And remember also, it is not this is just sort of as an aside but the individual may want to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.
Which has you know, doesn''t require you to be a person with a disability to access rights under that law. It is if the employer was to be covered under that.
Is it 25 for that?
It depends on what state you are in. Federally it is 50 employees or more but some states have their own Family Medical Leave Act laws that are less or fewer employees, so you would have to check with if there is anything locally or state wide that might be more stringent than the federal law. But the federal is 50 employees.
We will take one more question before we wrap up.
Hi. Yes. Is training for assisted devices or assisted technology part of the accommodation?
If necessary, yes. We had a person who came in using Window Eyes, and we found that with the data bases and the web site that he needed to use that JAWS worked better and he was not familiar with JAWS so we did had someone come in and give him some training on that. And you know, it just makes sense. I mean it gets the person up to speed much quicker. So I consider that a part of the accommodation. Legally, Jennifer would have to answer that.
Well again, I think it is common sense. It is just a good investment. If you are going to make the accommodation for the individual, let us make sure it is working and that they can use it. So you have the employee up to speed as quickly as possible.
Okay. Well, thank you very much both Sheila and Jennifer, I know there are probably many people still hanging out there who had questions and who would have liked to have dialogued with you today. Unfortunately we do have time constraints and so we can''t get to everybody. I do encourage that those individuals who still have questions to contact your regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center through the 800 number at 800-949-4232. If you are not familiar with your center and would like to try to locate which one is yours and would like to use the Internet to do that, visit www.adapa.org and locate your center through that process. We would just like to thank our speakers for their time and for their information in sharing that with everyone today, just as a reminder, this is the first session in a three-part series. We have a next session which will be offered next month, in the month of April which will focus on Reasonable Accommodation: Best Practice for Interactive Process which we will be hearing from speakers Bart Bartlett, from the County of Orange in Santa Ana, California representing a very large employer. The interface of large employer and government and he will be joined by Beth Loy and Kendra Duckworth from the Job Accommodation Network, who will facilitating in that program and then we have our May session which will be focusing on What the Courts Are Saying About Reasonable Accommodation, featuring David Fram from the National Employment Law Institute. So we really encourage you to join us in the entire series, and get a picture of the accommodation in a broad context with different experiences from different employers and such in regards to that. This session will be available on our Web site in both the transcript as well as the audio recording. The audio recording will be up in the next couple of days, it usually takes about five days for the transcript to be out. You can track that if interested by going to our web site at www.adagreatlakes.org and follow the link for the transcripts. Again, I want to thank everyone joining us today, it was a good session with many questions, I''m sure many unanswered and I welcome you to join us in the next couple of months to try to get your questions answered and to get some more clarification. Thank you one and all and have a good rest of your day. Sheila Newman & Jennifer Eckel: Thanks, Robin.