Legal Analysts

Showing posts with label pending legislation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pending legislation. Show all posts

Friday, January 12, 2024

Understanding the Justice Department's Proposed Rule on Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment for Disability Non-Discrimination

On 1/12/24, the Justice Department announced a proposed rule revision under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), targeting the accessibility of Medical Diagnostic Equipment (MDE) in state and local government entities. This move is a significant step towards ensuring that medical diagnostic equipment is accessible to all, regardless of disability. 

The rule, proposed by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, seeks to amend title II of the ADA regulations. The primary goal is to establish explicit requirements, including technical standards, for accessible MDE provided by state and local governments. 

Key Provisions:

  • Adoption of Standards: The rule proposes adopting standards set by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board for MDE.
  • Scoping Requirements: Specifics on the amount and type of accessible MDE required.
  • Deadline for Comments: Stakeholders can submit comments until February 12, 2024, primarily through the electronic Federal Docket Management System.

Impact on Medical Services: The lack of accessible MDE has been a barrier for people with disabilities, often leading to compromised health care. For instance, patients with disabilities have faced challenges in accessing routine examinations like mammograms and Pap smears due to inaccessibility. This rule aims to rectify such disparities.

Public Participation: The Justice Department encourages public involvement in the rulemaking process. Comments can be submitted electronically or via mail. It's an opportunity for healthcare providers, individuals with disabilities, and other stakeholders to voice their opinions and concerns.

Implications for State and Local Governments: Entities offering medical services will need to align with these standards, ensuring that their MDE is accessible. This might involve acquiring new equipment or modifying existing setups.

Economic and Environmental Considerations: The Department invites comments on potential economic and environmental impacts of the rule. This consideration is crucial for balanced and sustainable implementation.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Workplace Sexual Harassment Hotline about to be Established by NYS Division of Human Rights

On March 7, 2022, the NYS Senate joined the Assembly to pass a bill (now going to the Governor to be enacted), which establishes a hotline for complainants of workplace sexual harassment. 

The Bill's Justification explains that "[n]early 75% of all sexual harassment goes unreported," and it envisions that this toll-free hotline, available, "at minimum, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.," which will "connect complainants with experienced pro-bono attorneys who will help make them aware of their legal rights and advise them on the specifics of their individualized cases," will result in more reported claims. 

The issue with this STUPID Bill is two-fold:

  1. Who needs a toll-free line in 2022? Aren't we past the time when telephone companies charge per second of use? Don't most people utilize VoIP or cell phones? What decade is the NYS Government operating in? Have they heard of the world wide web? 
  2. Why are they referring to pro-bono (free) attorneys on a type of case where the plaintiff can recover their attorneys' fees from the plaintiff, by statute, and almost no plaintiffs pay their attorneys hourly fees? Sounds like a lipservice law to us, no?

Oh, to discourage attorneys from participating in this pro-bono stupid law, it also states that "Attorneys may not solicit, or permit employees or agents of the attorneys to solicit on the attorney's behalf, further representation of any individuals they advise through the hotline relating to discussed sexual harassment complaint." 

Once signed, this law will take effect on the 120th day thereafter and we doubt it will do a single thing to benefit victims because right now, any victim of workplace sexual harassment can and should already contact any attorney that they know of for a free consultation and if a claim is brought, the plaintiff can sue for the defendant to pay their attorneys' fees, as a matter of law.