Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the ADA update Twentieth Anniversary of the ADA Conference Call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct the question and answer session and instructions will follow at that time. If anyone should require assistance from an operator, please press star then zero on your touch-tone telephone. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded. I will now like to introduce your host for today''s call, Robin Jones. Ma''am, you may begin.
Thank you and good afternoon and good morning to everyone that is participating today and happy anniversary as they are within days of recognizing and celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I know many of you are hosting or have already hosted celebrations in your own communities or will be participating in activities at your local, state or national level for the anniversary, and I hope all of those go well. Just to give a little update on what we''re technology wise and what''s happening today before I turn it over to our speakers. Please be mindful that we have individuals that are on the telephone, we have individuals who are using streaming audio on the Internet, and we have individuals who are using streaming captioning on the Internet as well so, a multitude of ways and methods. The session is being recorded. We will have a recording as well as an edited transcript posted onto the archival page of our website at www.ada-audio.org within ten business days following the end of this session if you wish to refer others or yourself would like to review what actually occurred during this particular session. The ADA Audio Conference Series is brought to you by the ADA National Network, which is comprised of the ten regional ADA centers which are funded by the US Department of Education, National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research. As you heard, our session today is related to the anniversary and our update this is an annual session that we hold each year and you go back to all of our archival sessions over the years and Sharon and John have been gracious enough to join us during all that time and I don''t know if that really means that they''ve been around forever or not, but I guess that''s a good thing for both of them, and we''re happy to have them. I''m going to go ahead and introduce our speakers, both of them today. I''m going to then turn over the microphone to John Wodatch, who will begin our discussion today with the updates of the Department of Justice followed by Sharon Rennert from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and then we''ll open it up to all of you for questions. So, save your questions, write them down, think about what you want to say or ask as we go and then you''ll have plenty of an opportunity to pose those questions to both John and Sharon. So, I''m not going to spend a lot of time reading either of their bios. They''re available on our website, and you can link to those from the website, but John Wodatch is the Chief of the Disability Rights Section for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. He''s been a civil rights attorney for over 30 years and worked with the Federal Government specializing in the rights of persons with disabilities. He''s been actively involved in the enforcement of Title I as it relates to employment in governmental entities so actually employment under Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also plays a key role in developing administrative policy on the ADA and he''s the author of the Justice Department''s ADA Regulations as well as the implementing regulating Section 504 of the Rehab Act. Sharon Rennert is a senior attorney advisor in the Americans with Disabilities Act Division, Office of Legal Counsel within the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She''s a senior member of the EEOC''s ADA staff and that''s not by age; that''s by the time period that she''s been with them. Joining the division in 1992 shortly not too long after the ADA. She served for a little while as the acting director of the ADA Division and she''s been actively involved in developing the commission''s policy interpretations on a variety of different issues. She is instrumental in providing technical assistance to the ten regional ADA centers across the country and is a key resource for all of us as we respond to many of your questions when you stump us or when you pose the difficult ones to us on our technical assistance lines as does John in his division as well. So without further ado, I''m going to go ahead and turn it over to them so that they can spend the rest of our time actually giving us an update on what''s happening and what they are doing in their respective agencies. So go ahead, John.
Thank you very much, Robin, and good afternoon everyone and good morning to some of you. I''m delighted to be with you again especially as we are really in the middle of our celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I thought in the time today I would just go over some of the activities that we''ve been doing at the department for the past year. It''s been a whirlwind of a year, there''s a recommitment to the vigorous enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act at Justice, and we''ve had really quite a robust program for the past year. I thought I''d go over a couple of issues with you in this time and then try to save a lot of the time for answering questions. We''ll start with the regulations because I''m always asked about that first. I think you all realize we are in the middle of [inaudible], I''m hoping at the end of a process that we started in 2004 to update the regulations implementing Title II and Title III. Those of you that follow this closely will know that the Office of Management and Budget has the regulations for review. Their review period ends on July 25th. So, we''re hopefull that by that time we will have more announcements for you on it. We are working I can tell you around the clock to try and complete the department''s action on it. Part of what happens in this period of time is that all federal agencies get a chance to review them and give us their comments and then we edit and change them based on those comments and that''s the process we''re in right now. You should know that we also having gone through this process decided that the department should really issue some specific regulations in a couple of areas and if you watch ada.gov over the next couple of days, I''m hoping there''ll be some announcements on those. We''re looking into preparing what we call advanced notices of proposed rulemaking, which are really rules that go out that ask a lot of questions that begin the process of development of new rules and the issues we''re considering are accessibility of websites under Title II and III, captioning and video description of movies, accessible equipment and furniture including medical equipment, and how, the fourth one is how state and local 9-1-1 call centers should address really the new generations of communication technology that is being developed. If you have a computer and have some time between 10 and 12:30 on Friday Eastern Daylight Time, we will be having an ADA anniversary event at the Department of Justice, and I hope there''ll be some announcements on some of these issues at that point. Okay, some new issues. I think you''re aware of one of the new priorities for us is dealing with accessibility in the digital age and on June 30th Justice together with the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights put out a joint letter to colleges and universities basically expressing concern over the university''s use of electronic book readers that are not accessible and the letter solicited assistance of the university leadership in ensuring that emerging technologies used in education are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. This letter really follows a series of settlement agreements that we entered into with colleges and universities that were using the Kindle DX, which is in our view an inaccessible electronic book reader. They were using it in classrooms as part of a pilot study with Amazon.com. Under the agreement, the university has agreed not to purchase, require or recommend the use of the Kindle DX or any other dedicated electronic book reader unless and until that device was fully accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision. These agreements are on our website if you''re interested in them. They were with Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio; Pace University in New York, New York; Reed College in Portland, Oregon; Princeton University in New Jersey; and Arizona State University. Another major initiative for us has been implementing fully the decision in, the Supreme Court decision in 1999 in Olmstead. I think most of you realize that that establishes the principle that people with disabilities must be offered the opportunity to receive services in their communities when it''s appropriate and that it really is an independent violation of law to unnecessarily segregate people from society. At the heart, Olmstead is really about choice and independence, giving people with disabilities the opportunity to live in their communities, to make their own decisions to shape their own lives. I think the Justice Department and other federal agencies for the past 10 years have been criticized for not effectively enforcing Olmstead and last year the President marked Olmstead''s 10th anniversary by proclaiming in an executive order this is the year of community living. We''ve taken to heart the guidance there and the sort of direction, and we have made enforcing the integration mandate of the ADA one of our biggest priorities. In the past year or so, we''ve participated in 18 lawsuits across the country. I''m not going to go through them all today. They''re on our website. We''ve been involved with lawsuits against the States of Georgia and Arkansas and New York. We''re in other lawsuits against the States of Connecticut and a series of them in Illinois. These are all challenging the failure to provide community-based services, which in our view forces people with disabilities to live in institutions rather than in their communities with the right support. We''ve also supported challenges by private entities in North Carolina and California to also the way these states administer their services so that people who are now living in the community won''t after changes particularly because of the financial situation states won''t face the risk of institutionalization. We''ve filed, later today they''ll be a press release on our website. We filed a case yesterday in California and we filed one on Friday in Illinois. Both of those were joining cases that are ongoing. The California one is Napier versus the County of Sacramento and it really discusses the plan proposed by the county to decrease the availability of necessary mental health outpatient services, which would in our view put people at risk of institutional placement. And in the Illinois, the case was Happy versus Homus and there we were supporting the plaintiff''s motion for class certification dealing with a group of young adults with severe disabilities who have aged out of the Medicaid program and they''re in danger of not getting those services unless they''re institutionalized. Another, we had an agreement last week our barrier to work continues to be sort of the bread and butter of what we do and there was a fairly major agreement that was consent decree that we did last week with Quick Trip Corporation , which is a private company that owns and operates more than 550 gas stations, convenience stores, travel centers and truck stops mostly in the Midwest, the South and sort of Southwest. Under the, we got into the case because we had complaints about inaccessible parking by a couple of individuals in the Omaha, Nebraska, area and we, it took us a while, but we worked out through long negotiations with Quick Trip very comprehensive consent decree. It''s, again, on our website. It''s been accepted by the judge. It requires a variety of changes from Quick Trip. They''re going to make necessary modifications at their current stores over a three-year period to make changes to the stores themselves to make them accessible and they''ve agreed to design future stores so they''ll be accessible. At each of their current stores and fueling positions, they are going to ensure that at least two fueling positions are accessible meaning that the fuel dispenser controls, the self-service payment mechanism, call button and amenities are in an accessible position and they''re going to adopt a policy and train store employees on policies to assist in not only fueling for people who want to get gas but also providing assistance to people in their stores including admission of service animals, maintaining accessible features, having parking in the right place, that sort of stuff. They''re also going to make their website accessible and they''re going to pay a maximum civil penalty of $55,000. And the last item in this, which is sort of new for us in the ADA arena but it''s been used in the housing area, we are creating a compensatory damages fund and $1.5 million has been put into this and we are going to begin a process. There will be notice on it through ada.gov by which people who feel they have been discriminated against by Quick Trip can send us their stories and we will see if they are entitled to compensatory damages in relief. The fund, it''s an interesting fund because if we don''t spend all, I mean if not enough people come forward to use up all $1.5 million the remaining funds will be distributed to non-profit organizations that serve the interest of people with disabilities in those states. Earlier, and you probably are aware of this so I won''t go into it too much, we did a lawsuit and consent decree against the City of Jackson and the Jackson Public Transportation System. I''ll just mention it to you because if you''re interested in the provision of city bus services and how to provide accessible paratransit services, this consent decree lays out a very detailed set of compliance activities, and I think it''s useful as a blueprint for how to make bus and paratransit service accessible. It''s available on our website. There''s a lot of information about it. Similarly, I''ll be brief about we''re having a comprehensive agreement with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts. It''s a research and teaching hospital that''s affiliated with Harvard. It''s a pretty big place. It''s got more than 30 buildings. It includes over 200-bed acute care facility, a trauma center, three community health clinics and some very high-level specialties. The agreement requires that each of their clinical services will make 10% of their patient rooms including their toilet facilities accessible. There''s a whole series of architectural barriers they''re going to remove, but one reason I think it''s an important agreement is it deals with the purchase of accessible medical equipment including medical exam tables, radiologic and diagnostic equipment, accessible patient beds and the placement of lifts. I think it''s useful in that regard and in that regard I''d like to find out I think some of you have seen we have on our website a new technical assistance document that''s been there since May that deals with the provision of it''s called access to medical care for individuals with mobility disabilities. We are going to be re-issuing that -- I hope it''s an ADA anniversary event -- together with the Department of Health and Human Services, and we''re going to make it a joint document from both of our agencies to try and get more information out about the obligation to provide accessible medical equipment. Another issue, another area where we still get a lot of complaints are service animals and the denial of service animals in various places. I''ll mention two of two things we''ve done recently. One was announced yesterday. It was an agreement, a nationwide agreement with Blockbuster that has more than 3,000 retail stores -- at least right now it has them -- across the United States and this was brought up by a complaint by a person with a service animal who wasn''t allowed to use the store and it''s a fairly typical agreement for us. It implements a comprehensive nationwide, non-discrimination policy about service animals, requires the entity to distribute the policy and train their employees on the rights of service animal users. It requires them to provide the same kind of training for new staff when they come on; they have to post a service animal policy and post a service animal''s welcome sign in each of their stores; they''re creating a toll-free ADA complaint line grievance procedure; paying $12,000 in damages to the individual who filed a complaint; and a $10,000 civil penalty. The other matter is an interesting one. It involves a lawsuit that we started against a lawyer and his law firm. The case it''s US versus LaHouillier, it''s on our website as well. In that case, the law firm barred a woman, her husband and her attorney from entering their law office for a deposition because the woman was accompanied by her service animal, which was a dog, and the woman herself is a veterinarian. She has traumatic brain injury and other conditions that affect mobility and balance. So, she uses the service animal for those conditions, and she had individually trained her service animal to provide disability-related assistance. That was resolved by a consent decree. Again, they''re going to adopt an ADA compliance service animal policy, post it in a conspicuous location, and post the service animal''s welcome sign. They have a process for training staff, undergoing training and reporting allegations. In addition, they''re paying $30,000 to the complainant in damages and because of associational discrimination, $10,000 to her husband and a $10,000 civil penalty. Let me, a couple of things. We tend to, it''s not very well known, but we spend a lot of our time doing work with prisons. We get a lot of prisoner complaints. We tend to resolve them at the micro level, but occasionally issues become larger and we filed a brief in a case in Georgia called Miller versus Smith, and it''s just, I''m mentioning it to you, it''s on our website, it''s interesting. It''s a case against the Georgia State Prison and the Augusta State Medical Prison to correctional facilities in Georgia. The allegation is that the person with the disability was routinely excluded from a variety of programs and benefits. Our brief really is interesting because it''s sort of a premier on the obligations of a prison system to people with disabilities. And so it''s useful in that regard. It addresses the wide range of issues that prisons are dealing with especially right now in the correctional context because these jails have custody of individuals with disabilities, they have to deal with a whole range of issues from failing to provide critical health care and personal services whether it''s access to mammographys, necessary consumable medical supplies, whether it''s colostomy bags, catheters, provision of durable medical equipment, and personal assistance services, assistance in eating and dressing, the whole range of issues, which a lot of our prisons are not used to thinking of themselves as that as their job. And so we''re spending a lot of time on that issue as well. I''ll just quickly do two more things and then turn this over to Sharon. One is a case I''ve talked to you about before in our view it''s a, it''s been a difficult case. It''s an HIV case that took place in Alabama involving a family that was going to Wells West, which is a resort for families with RVs. It''s near Alabama''s Gulf of Mexico beaches. It''s a very large facility. It has a lake, nature trails, and steam-powered train. The lawsuit stemmed because a family that had booked a four-week stay there for summer vacation and they wanted to be there because their father was commuting from nearby Mobile to continue his ongoing cancer treatments. They were there with their two-year child who had HIV and during the course of the day the mother when they were checking in mentioned casually that they were there because the child had HIV and the father having cancer treatments and this was their chance to be together and have some family time. Later that day the manager appeared and told the parents that the child could not use the swimming pool or the showers because of the child''s HIV. The family was very upset, they eventually checked out. We filed the lawsuit that went on longer than I thought it should have, but it finally resolved itself. They''ve adopted all the appropriate policies and have agreed to pay the family $36,000 in damages and $10,000 in a civil penalty. And last, you know, we''re not always associated with doing employment work, but in the area of state and local government employment practices, the EEOC receives the complaints negotiates them, attempts to achieve voluntary compliance and if they can''t conciliate a case, will refer it to us for action. A lot of the cases that we take we settle short of filing a lawsuit and because the way the law is written we don''t make those public, but if we do file a lawsuit, they are being made public and we''ve recently finished a case against Ventura County involving the Social Services Program. The allegation was a person, who is a Social Services worker who is deaf, applied for a position and she requested reasonable accommodations. At the time she applied for the position, she had been employed doing the same job in Los Angeles for more than eight years, had great references, clearly was qualified for the position. Ventura really took the position that they didn''t have an obligation to provide interpretive services for her. We litigated the case and have since settled it and Ventura County has agreed that they will train their supervisee personnel in hiring and promotion decisions to ensure that this kind of discrimination won''t happen again especially dealing with people who are deaf and the reasonable accommodations that are needed for them including the provision of sign language interpreters and they''ve agreed to pay $45,000 in damages to the complainant. The complainant chose to stay with the job that she had in LA and not seek employment in Ventura County. So, I think you can see that''s the sort of tip of the iceberg sort of a rushed way through. We''re incredibly busy on a variety of fronts and it''s been a very exciting time at the department to fulfill really our objective of robustly enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act. So, with that we''ll turn this over to Sharon. Sharon Rennert: Thank you very much, John. I always learn so much about what''s going on at Justice by participating in this session and welcome to everybody out there. This is an exciting time being the 20th anniversary of the ADA. Like the Department of Justice, the EEOC wants to mark this occasion, and we will do so this Thursday, July 22nd. We are having a program at our headquarters in Washington this Thursday afternoon from 2 to 4 with a lot of the key people who were responsible not only for the enactment of the ADA but subsequently involved in very key ways with the development of the original ADA regulations and its implementation. So, if you are in the Washington, D.C. area, please feel free to come by. If you are not and you are interested, it will be live streamed information about the program and who will be participating is on our website, eeoc.gov. What is on everyone''s minds these days quite understandably are an update on the ADA Amendments Act regulations and when people might expect for them to be issued? As much as I would love to use the opportunity at this program to tell you specifically when they will be out, unfortunately, I cannot do that. I think as most people are well aware, last year the EEOC published a proposed regulation. We got well over 650 comments in from the public from a wide range of employers, disability organizations, labor unions, all kinds of interested parties. Obviously we have an obligation to go through all of those comments very carefully and diligently. One of the things that we have been waiting for in terms of developing the final regulations is to have a full complement of commissioners. If people follow the EEOC closely, you know we are supposed to have a total of five commissioners, but for quite a long time we only had two and that slowed us down, but this past April and May we got our three additional commissioners so we now have all five and so one of the things that very much they need to look to and they know this is to try to draft the final ADA Amendments Act Regulations. When that is done, unfortunately, that''s not the end of the process, but rather at that time it goes to an agency called the Office of Management and Budget, kind of the gatekeeper for all federal agencies, and they must review all regulations that are proposed whether as proposed or proposed for final publication. So, once the EEOC has approved the draft final regulation it will go to the Office of Management and Budget and they can take a couple of months to do a review. It gets reviewed by other federal agencies as well then there may be some further changes and then finally we get to publication. So, we are still a bit a ways, unfortunately, from having a final rule. I advise people to watch the EEOC website because as soon as we start taking concrete steps in this final effort to get the final rule published, there will be notification on our website so that''s a way to monitor where we are, what progress we are making towards this, but I really am not able to give people at this point a specific date because I just truly don''t know it. So what does that mean that we don''t have a final ruling often then I am asked? You know, what do people do in the meantime? Well, we do have the statue and one of the things is that there is a lot of clarity in the statute itself as people probably they looked at the proposed regulation. There are many things the regulation will simply repeat because there''s really nothing more to be said. This is one of the reasons that Congress went back to look at the definition of disability and this time to put in much more detail was simply to kind of nail down certain issues. So, there is a lot that we do know for certain and that really cannot and will not be changed in a final regulation. So, certainly I encourage all people to pay close attention to the statue. Remember, it is on the EEOC website, and in terms of where inevitably there are some issues that are a bit gray that we don''t necessarily have all the definitive answers for, to play it safe then I do refer people to EEOC''s proposed regulation. Of course, there will be some changes. I don''t think that''s giving away anything. Almost no proposed rule ever goes through and doesn''t change when it''s published in its final form. So, there could well be some changes, but in the meantime this is out there and certainly as a guidepost its well worth remembering it''s there and following it as well. In terms of other things I can tell you about what''s going on here at the EEOC, one of the things we have noticed in the past couple of years is after a number of years where the ADA charges kind of were flat; that we weren''t seeing much difference. The past couple of years there have been significant increases. Three years ago in 2007 that year we ended up with almost 18,000 ADA charges, but by 2008 it jumped another 2,000 charges. So, we were now inching up towards 20,000 charges and then last year, 2009, we had a 10% increase, the largest single year increase ever of ADA charges and we were now starting to approach 22,000 ADA charges and what was really significant about last year is that in all other categories, Title VII, age discrimination, either the numbers held flat, they were sort of consistent from the year before or they even went down a little bit. So the only category where we saw an increase was the ADA, and I can leave it to people far smarter than I am to give you an interpretation of why that might be. Some have wondered if the enactment of the ADA Amendment''s Act may well have created kind of renewed interest and people being better educated and even though the ADA Amendment''s Act itself really had not gone into effect nonetheless that it was causing people to look around and sort of examine their rights. Of course, also was timed with the country going into a recession, people far more vulnerable in terms of their jobs and holding on to them. So, my guess is when you get these kinds of instances it''s probably a variety of factors, but nonetheless, our ADA charges have been going up. In terms of, and that''s good news and bad news perhaps, but to us it''s a concern because as, again, most people probably know EEOC has been confronted these past few years with a growing backlog of cases, and this has been one of the things in this administration that has gotten a lot of scrutiny. We have undergone significant hiring in our local offices because that''s where we need the staff. We need them on those front lines when people are filing the charges. We have not had sufficient staff to do the investigations necessary to do them as quickly as we would like to do them. So, obviously it takes a while. Our backlog has reached 86,000 cases. We''re starting to chip away at that, but that''s not the kind of number where you can get it down in just a couple of months. So that''s going to take us a while but that''s one of the commitments of the current leadership is to do much better, to have more staff out there and to be working much more effectively and efficiently. In terms of the commission''s focus on ADA issues where we are heading, even before we get the final ADA Amendment''s Regulations, the commission believe that for us where the focus so much these past few years has been on the definition of disability, that we are going to start moving away from that. Once we have the final regulations out, it is our expectation that there will be far more clarity about who is covered and who is not, and that the focus in our investigations, certainly the focus in litigation, is going to shift away from the this intense focus on whether a particular person meets the definition of disability and instead we''ll be looking at other issues. In fact, what everybody thought the ADA initially was going to do when it came to employment. And so for ourself doing investigations and I think particularly as court cases start to develop, we really see a far greater focus on the substantive issues on really looking at whether discrimination has occurred, how you determine that and there''s specific areas and EEOC really hopes in a number of ways to play a part in increasing this focus starting with qualification standards. This is an issue the EEOC has begun looking at much more closely the whole subject of qualification standards for jobs. This is a very broad term. It encompasses all kinds of standards and requirements and tests; almost anything one can think of for any given job whether it''s educational requirements, work experience requirements, certain kinds of skills that one must have, the ability to speak a foreign language, for example, or certain computer skills, certain what''s often called soft skills where you have to be able to work well with people or work well under pressure those kinds of requirements Medical standards. There are jobs that have medical, set medical standards. All of these fall under the heading of qualification standards, and in the first 20 years of ADA enforcement in terms of employment, relatively little has been spotlighted on this to us very key issue. And so EEOC has started examining those issues far more closely because we think it''s time that there be much more of a spotlight on this key part of the ADA. We also think that despite all the efforts that we have undertaken regarding reasonable accommodation and undue hardship and certainly it''s gotten attention in the courts, we think it''s going to get even more attention in the next five to ten years that one of the results of the ADA Amendment''s Act, the broadening of coverage, just has to be that you will have more people eligible for reasonable accommodations and that means more people who will be requesting them and should be getting them. And we think that there are a lot of issues that have really, we''ve kind of only skimmed the surface of it, that have not gotten quite the intense look that we''re expecting. So, this is another huge area that we want to be prepared for and that we think is going to be key direct threat the safety and health standards regarding people with disabilities. This is another area that we think will come up more frequently, that there will be a bigger issue and there will be more of an examination of what constitutes a direct threat, how big a risk, what kinds of harms, how much harm, the level of various harm there has to be to qualify as a direct threat and then the overlap with reasonable accommodation; to what extent can reasonable accommodation help bring down that very high level of risk. The other area that we think is going to get more attention in the coming years, disability-related inquiries and medical examinations particularly as they concern employees. We certainly think there will be perhaps more cases involving job applicants, but we think that the bigger area where this could come up are current employees and so, again, although EEOC I hope everybody is familiar with our publications on these two issues, this is yet another area that we think are going to get far greater focus. So, I think we''ve got kind of a next generation of issues that hopefully for EEOC for the courts, for all of you listening in, it won''t be so much about the disability anymore certainly after we get past the initial implementation of the regulation that we''ll start moving into the next generation of issues, and I think that''s what everybody is kind of waiting for [inaudible] Congress wanting to see that that''s the direction that the ADA is heading. So, with that I think we can probably open it up now for people''s questions.
All right, thanks, Sharon. We have Peter Berg taking over for her Heather, if you would come back on and give instructions on how folks can ask questions?
Okay. Go ahead and give instructions, please.
No problem. Ladies and gentlemen, at this time if you have a question, please press star then 1 on your touch-tone telephone. If your question has been answered or you wish to remove yourself from the queue, please press the pound key. Once again if you have a question, please press star then 1.
And while we''re waiting for those questions to come in, John, I have one for you that was submitted online. They just wanted a clarification on the first thing that you had mentioned about notice of rulemaking in the four areas of accessible websites, medical equipment and 9-1-1 centers and new technologies. And just for clarification, that''s new rulemaking aside from what is taking place with the pending Title II and Title III regulations; correct? Did we lose John? John Wodatch: I''m sorry, I had the mute button on, and I had to take it off.
Yeah. No, that''s correct. If we are successful in completing all of these and when we are, we will have a total of six regulations, the two final regulations and the four new ANPRNs.
Okay. Excellent Heather, can we go to our first question, please? And just a quick reminder if folks are using a speaker phone, it''s best if you pick up the handset if possible. If not, make sure the speaker is closest to the phone so everyone can hear the question. So, Heather, can we have our first question, please?
Yes, our first question comes from Rick Edwards. Your line is open.
Hi Peter, hi John and Sharon. My question is for John as much as you can, on the two cases especially you talked about the attorney who refused the service animal and the agency that refused the interpreter for people who are deaf, I figure there has to be more to the story than this, you know, it seems like anyone with a basic understanding of the ADA would be aware of these as problems. Is there more to the story or were they just not informed? Was this just a rogue individual? What is the rationale here? John Wodatch: I wish I could say there was more to the story and that people were not the type of people who would be well-informed. The lawyer was a lawyer''s office and frankly, he was afraid, he said he had installed new carpeting, and he didn''t want the dog to soil his carpeting. And in the City of Ventura, Ventura County, they just looked at it, she had a very positive interview at first and then when people higher up in the county realized that they would need to at least for part of her job provide sign language interpreting services they decided, number one, that she wasn''t qualified then for the job and that, number two, they didn''t have an obligation to spend money for that sort of thing. So they were more so the bread and butter everyday kind of issues, and we see lots of these. I don''t think that we thought of these as unusual in that regard. They were unusual in that in especially in the lawyer''s case we had to litigate that to the extent that we did and the same thing with Ventura County. Both of them and remember the Ventura County one had gone through an investigation at EEOC in an attempt to conciliate it at EEOC before it came to our agency and both of them were somewhat, you know, litigation ends pretty quickly both of these were more protracted.
To me that''s incredibly scary. It means that we''ve got to go through these extraordinary efforts to try and, you know, remove these barriers. Do you have any guidance for those folks that are out there on the front lines to try and avoid going to the Department of Justice?
Well, the reason we try to publicize these as much as possible is to have them out there for people to understand. The law firm one got a lot of press in the legal press and a variety of places and so I think it served to educate a lot of law firms if they weren''t thinking about that already, but I would say we will continue to do outreach in those areas and you can, you know, these entities had to pay money and compensatory damages to these people, and I think that you can say to entities that are doing this you don''t need to go down that road. There are ways to do this without incurring that, but I think we just have a continuing job to do. I think we do a great job of trying to get the word out about what entities obligations are I think once we get our regulations out there will be probably more publicity about some of these kinds of issues, and I hope we''ll just keep at it.
If I can just interject. I know the question was directed to John, but just to kind of reinforce and reiterate what he''s saying that, you know, it''s always kind of, you take two steps forward and one step back and from an EEOC perspective, we still see the kinds of cases that you wish we did not see, that you would like to think 20 years on this would be completely settled and it''s not, and I''m thinking just in the past month some cases that we settled. We had a case against Petco, the big pet company, Petco, $145,000 to settle a case in which they failed to provide reasonable accommodation to a deaf pet groomer. It was a woman who had been doing pet grooming for I think like 30 years, many, many years, quite expert at it, and when she was hired, no surprise, she''s deaf, and one of the things that she asked for assistance with was scheduling clients. And, you know, for any of us who have been doing this work for any length of time there would have been a number of ways that could have been handled to deal with this communication issue and Petco said all the right things when they hired her and then people dropped the ball and basically what happened is she wasn''t getting scheduled and, in fact, staff on the phone were telling people, oh, she no longer works there when she clearly did, and so what should have been a pretty routine, easy thing to handle was not. Then we recently settled another case for $100,000. A national staffing firm, you know, these firms that place people in various companies, and they hired a blind person to do recruiting and, again, somebody with lots and lots of experience and when the owner realized that a blind person had been hired, this person already had started, owner fired the person because they''re blind. And so you have these sorts of egregious, outrageous examples, and I think it''s a reminder that we''re not where we need to be yet. I think part of it is we are moving forward, it is not all bad news for sure. There are lots of things that are going right, but there are a lot of employers for, you know, all kinds of reasons. People who, you know, things get a lot of publicity when they first come out and for the first years and then it trails off, and I remember that with the employment area especially where so much of the focus went to did the person have a disability? And people were found not to and that was the end of the case I think for at least some employers a mindset started to develop that, oh, ADA and employment, you know, it''s not that big a deal and they don''t have to do much. So, this is kind of a wake-up call that, oh, yes, they do and so EEOC tries in the litigation it brings sort of a mix we call them bread and butter cases these kinds of things, but also what I talked about earlier, the next generation that you want to sort of get into some new areas as well that we want to nail down that there are some issues beyond something as obvious as the two kinds of cases we have, but I think that anybody working in this field just cannot sort of say in the first 20 years of ADA we''ve gone past all of this. Unfortunately, we haven''t yet.
Yeah, and with the release of the Title II and Title III regulations and eventually the new EEOC regulations a great opportunity for education outreach and hopefully they''ll be a lot of publicity about those regulations to raise public awareness. Can we have our next question, please?
Yes, our next question comes from Alan Goldstein. Your line is open. Alan Goldstein: All right. First I want to thank you both. It''s been a very interesting session, and I''m really glad about the issues that both agencies are looking into. My question is for Sharon. I''m with the Equip for Equality the Illinois Protection Advocacy Agency, and I''m really glad to hear you''re looking into qualified issues in employment as well as the testing. The one issue we see a lot is pre-employment testing, which I think you said you were going to focus more on the testing of employees because the main case on it is the Carico versus Rent-A-Center Case that our agency wrote a amicus brief on and the Seventh Circuit found that the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory was a medical exam that could not be given pre-employment. What we''re seeing now is a lot of places whether it''s bagging groceries in a store or working a big box store they have what''s called pre-employment application and it''s a 20-page questionnaire, which contains questions seemingly listed from the MMPI, you know, other people seem happier than I do or I count things that are not important. Plus the language is really complex. It seems like these tests cannot only discriminate against people with mental health issues, but people with cognitive disabilities from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds with people with marginal English skills. So we see these pre-employment testing issues as being big and they''re often hard cases to bring because it''s hard to prove why someone wasn''t hired. So I was just wondering or hoping if the EEOC might look at some of those issues, too, because a lot of big companies are using these tests and they''ve become standardized, and I think they really can discriminate against a wide range of people even beyond various disability issues.
Well, you''re certainly right. First of all I thank you for your comment and your question rolled into one, and you''re right that it is something that EEOC has noticed that a lot of jobs that in years past fairly kind of standard and not too involved in terms of the hiring process have gotten far more, far longer and these kinds of sophisticated instruments that you are describing are being used. And the overlap so you''re right it may not be simply people with disabilities that might get caught up in them or tripped up by them. In other words, they''re not really measuring someone''s ability to do the job; it''s more their ability to get through this hiring process, but also there can be language barriers or other things. So, yes, this is one of the areas that we are looking at as well. It''s not necessarily medically focused and that''s what I was really talking about in terms of one of the big areas we''re focusing on, but in terms of qualification standards that these kinds of 20-page applications and the kinds of questions coming up it is something we are focused on.
All righty Heather, can we have our next question, please?
Yes, the next question comes from Curtis Motayama. Your line is open.
This question is for John, I guess the question I have is if there''s a conflict between something like the ADAAG and the local building code, which takes precedence? Because sometimes with the local building code the reason for compliance they''re citing is like safety and in order to comply with that though it might mean thought you''re not in compliance with something in the ADAAG.
I guess you''re talking to a federal official so a federal official is going to point out that a federal law would trump a conflicting state law in this area so I think that would be the case, but my suggestion would be if something like that arises to involve us either by calling the ADA information line or sending us an email to see if we can address the issue because it may have come up in other localities or other places and also to see if there''s some way that you can deal correctly with both. We can try to marry through equivalent facilitation or some other, some issue that would depend upon the nature of the conflict.
Okay. Thank you.
Thank you for your questions. Heather, our next question please.
Yes. Once again if you have a question, please press star then 1. I''m not showing further questions at this time. No additional questions at this time.
Once again if you do have a question or a comment, please press star then 1.
This is Robin; I just have a question for you in regards to the whole process that you''re going through with this new proposed potential NTRM given the effect that things like the ADA not having Internet specifically in it and some of these things. Will that be a challenge in regards to writing rules and regs that there''s no explicit language? I know your interpretation is that that''s inclusive of what is currently in the ADA, but do you anticipate any of the things that you''re looking at as additional would have any kind of a problematic because they''re not actually in the statute mentioned specifically in the statute?
Well, you know, there''s been some litigation already and it''s gone in different directions. I think we believe that our interpretation of both Titles II and Title III that the language there encompasses what are the websites that provide basic services that are the types covered by Title III and by Title II. I think we feel very strongly that we have very strong and solid legal support. I wouldn''t be surprised, you know, if we got comments that the ADA didn''t apply or even if we provide, take steps to do that that there may be those who will disagree with that and file a lawsuit on the subject although I think as we see the nature of technology in our society we see how significant the use of web services, the use of kiosks, the use of a variety of devices and approaches have just become so important in everyday living that when you compare that with the scope of the ADA I think there will be a basis for doing that, but I certainly would not be surprised if there are challenges in that area and people who disagree with our approach, our interpretation. I mean the reason we are doing this is an advanced, or will be I hope, doing this as an advanced notice of proposal making is to air out all of these issues, to air out techniques that are available, what standards should be available, what are the limitations similar to the way the ADA operates and other limitations on its coverage how do they work in this area? And so we expect a very lively discussion with a lot of comments.
Great, and I have an email that came in that somebody sent in that wanted to know from Sharon what''s the EEOC''s take on any of the decisions that have been handed down so far by some of the district circuit courts on applying the ADA Amendment''s Act and has the EEOC engaged in any technical assistance with the courts or [inaudible] of that nature on any cases at all today in the absence of regulations at this point?
EEOC is monitoring court decisions. We monitor them anyway, but obviously we are most interested as we start seeing the first decisions involving the ADA Amendment''s Act. So far we only have a handful of cases that have come out. Most of the cases have not been so much looking at the definition of disability but establishing that the statute is not retroactive; that it will not apply to situations that arose before the enactment date of January 1, 2009, but we do have a handful of district court cases that have involved situations that arose after the enactment date and, therefore, are applying the ADA Amendment''s Act. These are very, very early cases. EEOC has not been involved with them, but clearly we are looking at the rationale courts are using as they do their analysis and obviously taking that into account as we look at the regulation as well, but we have very few of them to date.
Sharon, another question submitted electronically along the same lines. It has to do with internal workings at EEOC and how your investigation staff is investigating charges that have been filed charging disability discrimination that has taken place since January 1, 2009, and what the staff is using as a guideline for those investigations.
For any situation that arose on or after January 1st, 2009, EEOC investigators are using the proposed regulation and the reason for that is that the proposed regulation was approved by the commissioners. Meaning it represents current commission policy. It''s not the law at this point because it''s still only a proposed rule, but in terms of the internal workings of the EEOC, it is commission policy and investigators follow commission approved policy. So, until such time as the commissioners vote for a final rule, this remains the policy to be used. So, anybody who has a case that would be under the ADA Amendment''s Act they should be expecting EEOC to follow its proposed rule.
Okay. Let''s check Heather. Do we have any questions by phone at this time?
Yes, we had some questions come in. Our first one comes from Matt Norris. Your line is open.
Hi, I was struck by the 86,000 backlog, Sharon, that you talked about. I realize there''s been insufficient staffing. Are there other issues related to such a large backlog? And are there positions that could be taken at the local level to reduce that problem?
Most of it really does become a staffing issue. EEOC is a very labor-intensive organization because most of the work that we do does not occur here at the national headquarters where I work, but it really is out in our field offices across the country. It''s people filling charges and our need to process, to investigate them, to reach conclusions, mediations that we conduct there, but overwhelmingly it''s about having bodies on the ground to do this kind of work and EEOC has gotten an increase in its appropriations the last couple of years that money has gone almost exclusively to hire new investigators and some new attorneys in our field offices. This kind of backlog does not develop overnight nor does it, nor can we, unfortunately, eradicate it overnight, but I think we are starting to make strides there. There''s also been an attempt to look at ways to better handle cases that come in so that, I mean some cases that come in people are upset with their employers, they really have no place else to go, they sort of hear Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and they know they have an employment issue and by law we have to take every case that somebody wants to file. We can''t just turn someone away, but some of those are not really cases that we can do anything about. It''s not about discrimination, but once a case is filed, it''s not just about hitting a delete button. It does clog up our system a little bit so we certainly have some of that in there, and we''re trying to see if we can get people who can kind of identify those cases, get them out of the system as quickly as possible so that our investigators really get the cases that they''re meant to have. The other thing that we''re trying to do is a lot of our people in addition to doing investigations also do outreach and technical assistance, and we are trying to take those job tasks as much as possible and have other people like myself who really can step in and, you know, I can do that, I can''t go out and do the investigation, but I certainly can be there to answer questions from the public and do other things. So, we are looking to see how we can take some of that workload and redistribute it to people who are better able to handle it, again, make sure our investigators have all the time as well as resources that they may have lacked and we''re trying to make sure they have sufficient resources. So, I can''t tell people that we''ll have that number down and remember that number is not just ADA; that''s all of the cases that we investigate, all the different statutes, you know, I''m not going to expect it to come down significantly in the first year, but I''m hoping, two, three years from now that number is going to be much, much smaller.
Great. One other question that came in electronically before we get back to the phones came in for both you, it asks to John first it''s regarding technical assistance material and guidance material fee Title II and Title III technical assistance manuals and what kind of timeline you have for getting those updated technical assistance documents out on ada.gov and eeoc.gov once new regulations are published.
I think we realize that we face a daunting task once the regulation is done. One of the things that the law requires us to do is a small business compliance guide which we will do within six months of the publication of the rule. We also will begin a series of some documents explaining what we''re doing, but also I think we will begin a process of revising really just about all of our technical assistance materials and keep in mind once the EEOC finishes its ADA Amendment''s Act Regulations, we are going to go through a similar process, which will require us to deal with further changes, but I think we''re very much aware of the need that we will have to update our TA materials as well as to deal with. I mean I don''t want people to lose focus that one of the things that the new regs will be doing is creating guidance and it''s been there from the access board since 2004 so it''s not new to many of you, but we''re going to have to have guidance on a variety of recreational facilities from parks and playgrounds and golf courses and exercise facilities and fishing piers and boating facilities and sauna steam rooms, swimming pools and also we''ll have new standards for court houses and jails and detention facilities. So, in addition to just updating the materials we have, I think we have work to do in creating guidance in some of those additional areas.
And from an EEOC perspective we as you may well know if you go onto our website all of our publications have notices on them about the ADA Amendment factum. Only two of them we could kind of say there''s no change or we already, the changes were so slight they''ve been made to them and that''s clearly indicated, but we are well aware of all of our existing publications that will need to be updated once we have a final rule and clearly EEOC will start that process before the final rule is published. When we feel pretty confident we know what it''s going to look like, we are basically set to start making those changes so that as quickly as possible we can update those documents and as they''re updated the notices will change, the notices will indicate that they have been updated, but we have gone through not just the publications, we know exactly where in each publication we''re going to have to be making changes so that we can do this as quickly and efficiently as possible, but I wouldn''t hesitate, you know, I hesitate, I can''t give you an exact timetable for this, but we hope to do that very, very quickly once we have a final rule out.
Excellent. And when final rules are published from both EEOC and DOJ, will those be available on ada.gov and eeoc.gov respectively?
Excellent. Heather, can we have our next question, please?
Yes, our next question comes from Gonzales. Your line is open.
Yes, hello, hi. Thank you for your presentation. It''s very, very informative. The question I have actually doesn''t have to do with employment so to speak, but also in everyday life one of the things that came to mind I noticed that the entertainment industry, the theatres and such do not offer closed caption for the hard of hearing or the deaf. Do you see in the future that this is going to be something, a trend that may change?
I guess I can take that. I think it''s something very much on our, if I can use the pun, screen. [Laughter] We certainly have worked with, you know, some in the entertainment industry not movie theatres directly, but well, Disney World and other places like that to ensure that video presentations that they have are available on a captioned format. One of the ANPRMs that I was talking about addresses the movie industry and the requirement to have movies both captioned and to have video description of them for people who are blind. There are a couple of issues affecting this industry. I mean they are in the process of a change from to a digital format and that has some implication for this and there''s changing technology for the ability of the kinds of devices that would allow closed captioning to be used and so I see this very much as an important issue in the next couple of years that we will be working on to try to get to a point where people who are deaf or hard of hearing or people who are blind will be able to enjoy one of America''s major industries and most prolific industries and be able to enjoy the product that is offered.
Okay. Thank you.
Thank you for your question. Heather, our next question please?
Our next question comes from James Elks Your line is open.
Thank you. I guess this goes to DOJ. The access board has just completed their ANRPM on the first round of Section 508. If you folks are going to do similar work that extends to other sectors, other communities, is it going to be likely done in harmonization or is it going to be separate and apart from the existing work of the access board on 508?
That''s a good question. We''re very much in the age of harmonization and not duplicating the effort or the expertise that the access board has developed on Section 508 standards. Some of the issues we''re considering as we''re looking at this is not only that, but the WC3 standards and what are the appropriate ways for the Federal Government to require in terms of not just, you know, areas covered by 508 but the areas covered by the ADA or areas covered by the Rehabilitation Act Section 504, for example, but I think we''re very much of a mind of looking to what other entities have done rather than creating a new standard that might be in conflict, but we''re early in that process and those are the kinds of questions we''re going to try to elicit guidance from when we''re able to issue these proposed rules.
Okay. Two other quick questions I know since the access board has been involved in the ADA it''s always for the most part them issuing guidelines and then DOJ and DOT wind up issuing the standards. I mean obviously it''s a period of time that is long and arduous for everyone considering the ADA guidelines now in finalizing form were issued in 2004. Is there any likelihood that a more, again, harmonized or combined process where if the access board is working on revising guidelines simultaneously the NPRMs are going out from the respective partners in order to shorten the process?
Well, I think I can say that those of us in the Federal Government share the concern with duplication and length of time that the process takes. Now, the statute does provide the two-step process, but I think we''re hoping that the next set of issues that the access board is working on under the ADA are public rights of way guidelines, and I think we''re hoping that we can follow something close to the scenario that you''re suggesting as we proceed with those so that it is a much more compact period of time, not as drawn out, not as difficult for everyone and I think much more efficient in terms of not having people times. We also one of the things that we have to do that is very time consuming is if regulations are going to be costly develop what is called a regulatory impact analysis, which is sort of a cost benefit analysis and if we do things closer together, we may be able to do those jointly and so I think we will take to heart not only your comments but our view of the experience we''ve had over the past ten years at trying to get these, the changes to the ADA done. So, I think we have learned what not to do; now we can see if we can get ourselves to work much more in concert, and if not simultaneously, pretty close to simultaneously.
One quick final question. Sorry
I know that the access board started the guidelines for passenger vessels in 1998. It''s now 12 years later, there''s been all kinds of NPRMs, republishing, more issues being brought up. So you foresee and perhaps this is a personal question, any light at the end of the title that perhaps by the 25th anniversary we will have a final set of concrete -- no pun intended to sink the ships -- standards for passenger vessels? John Wodatch: Well, let me say this I''m in no position to be in the prognostification position because if I counted up the number of times I was wrong about predicting when my own regulations would come out, you would pay no attention to anything I would be saying. Let me just say that there is a lot of activity going on both at the Department of Transportation, at the access board and at the Department of Justice on passenger vessels. We are involved heavily in that and there may be, there will be action I hope on a faster timeframe than your five-year period. James Elks: might actually see them before she retires. [Laughter]
[Laughter] you never can tell.
Thank you so much.
All right before we go to our next question by phone a question came in someone asking that in the past DOJ stated that the Department of Justice had seen little in the way of complaints being filed by individuals with intellectual disabilities and the question wanted to know whether that''s something that is changed or do you still see very little in terms of complaints?
We really in terms of the nature of the complaints we get we still see very few that raise intellectual disabilities issues, cognitive disability issues. I think that one of the things that I keep talking to people about especially with the type of injuries that are occurring in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with the large number of service members who are returning with traumatic brain injury and other related conditions, that I expect we should be prepared for more and doing more about that, but we still don''t see the volume of those issues. Now, as we have stepped up our homestead work, we are certainly doing issues involving not only people with mental health conditions but people with developmental disabilities and other disabilities in that work, but that it really isn''t complaint driven in the same sense of the sort of day-to-day complaints that we get from people around the country so I think we are still at a deficit in terms of getting those kinds of complaints.
All right. Thanks. Heather, do we have another question, please?
Yes, our next question comes from Kathy Gibbs Your line is open.
Hi, actually it''s Rachel from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and actually formerly of the DOJ so hi, John.
Brody says hi, too. So, I actually have sort of, I noticed that the DOJ has come out with some opinions with regard to electronic textbooks and electronic, well, specifically eBook Readers and such as used by universities and students and their inaccessibility to folks who are blind partly due to the inaccessibility partly due to some of the publishers not being willing to make their media accessible. And so first of all I appreciate that, but second of all my question is, is there any kind of ongoing work, partnership going on between the DOJ and the Department of Education to work on that sort of thing? I''m not even sure whose role would be what in there. Is there any kind of outreach to either the manufacturers or to the publishers to try to make it so that this wouldn''t be an issue, you know that kind of thing. I''m just wondering how that''s progressing because I know certainly in the community of folks who are blind or have other impairments and among students it''s a huge issue.
Right. I think one thing you can see from the joint letter that I mentioned that followed those settlement agreements that we did we''re very much interested in partnering. I think that''s one of the hallmarks of the Obama Administration agencies should be breaking down the silos between them and working together and so we have been reaching out and working with our colleagues at the Department of Education on these issues and part of the problem that we have in terms of dealing with some of these issues is some of the issues are created by the manufacturers and we don''t have a direct relationship with them and so our relationship with them is indirect, which doesn''t mean we can''t reach out to them with the problems that are there. It probably means they don''t spend a lot of time listening to us because we have no authority over them, but what has happened even with the Kindle DX once we started telling universities basically that it was a violation of the ADA to use the Kindle DX, Amazon went back and said pretty quickly that they were going to redesign it so that the menus would become useable by people who were blind or have low vision. So I think by drying up the market that they have for their product it was an indirect way of bringing about change, and I think we see this issue across technology, you know, technology has been a driving force under the ADA for providing accessibility and we think, we want to ensure that that trend continues and that s manufacturers and inventors and other people come up with new solutions and new ideas that they consider issues of people with disabilities and so we will be working with them to do that. The issue is coming up in testing and making sure testing products are accessible in a wide range of ways and so we will continue and it''s very much and issue for the, you know, the future of the ADA and our goal really is simply to ensure that people with disabilities aren''t left behind as we proceed along with the technological revolution.
Heather, can we get one last question before we get to the bottom of the hour?
Yes, our last question is a follow up from Curtis Motayama''s line. Your line is open.
Good morning, thank you for taking our questions. I''m sorry, we''re out in Hawaii so it''s morning here, but my question has to do with housing and those of us that deal with residential towers and condo associations and service pets, problems with getting service pets in because say the condo association or not service pets but service dogs because the condo association says no pets and then dealing with boards of directors and how also do you all work with I guess HUD perhaps on some of these issues?
Interesting enough for one of the clearest areas the Fair Housing Act if it''s the type of housing that it''s multi-family housing that would be, that the Fair Housing Act disability provisions would apply to, HUD has a long tradition both under 504 and under the Fair Housing Act for requiring service animals and for the Fair Housing Act purposes emotional support animals in housing. So, that is an issue, we have worked with them on that issue, we have part of the Justice Department does housing discrimination, not my section in particular, but I think it''s pretty clear what requires there and I''m hopeful that there will be more guidance in the final ADA regs on all of those issues that you are raising.
Thank you for your question and as always, Sharon and John we thank you for your time. You''re great friends to the ADA National Network and the assistance that you provide to us just a quick reminder of the final two audio conference sessions in the 2009-2010 series. On August 17th, we will have a session entitled "ADA and After School and Daycare Centers Accommodating Children with Disabilities." And then our final session will be September 21st touching on something that John talked about during his presentation, "Corrections in the ADA: Balancing the Rights of People with Disabilities While Incarcerated." You can get additional information about those upcoming sessions by visiting the audio conference website, www.ada-audio.org or by calling 877-232-1990. If you were unable to get your question answered today, you can reach your regional ADA center by calling 800-949-4232. And, as always, today''s session will be archived in approximately two weeks'' time, ten business days, the session will be archived to the ADA Audio Conference website both a text transcript and audio archive. So, once again, thank you very much to Sharon Rennert and John Wodatch our speakers today. Everyone have a great day, and we look forward to you joining us in August. Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your participation in today''s conference. This concludes the program. You may now disconnect.