CommonLook Accessibility Newsletter: Oct. 5, 2015

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Welcome to the October issue of the CommonLook Accessibility Newsletter!

October marks the 70th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), an opportunity to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. In accordance with NDEAM, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act’s 25th anniversary monthly calendar of celebratory themes this year, we explore the adversities facing and resources available to one particular segment of America’s disabled population in the workplace: disabled US veterans.

We also provide the answer to a question we are frequently asked here at NetCentric: “Can I use CommonLook on my Mac?” The answer, we hope, is less divisive than the age-old Mac vs. Windows debate.

And we’re highlighting a momentous event taking place toward the end of this month at the Westin Lake Las Vegas, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals’ inaugural educational conference, “IAAP Access 2015.” As it will be attended by accessibility professionals from all over the globe, eager to take what they learn home with them, this is one instance where what happens in Vegas will not, actually, stay in Vegas.

As always, we welcome your suggestions for upcoming topics and would like to know what you think of NetCentric’s CommonLook Accessibility Newsletter.

Use this link to share your comments or story ideas with the CommonLook Accessibility Newsletter staff.

We Hope You Enjoy!

 The ADA Protects Veterans From Employment Discrimination   


2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Signed into law in 1990, the ADA is civil rights legislation that guarantees people with disabilities have the same opportunities and rights to participate in life activities as any other citizen and works to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, including employment.

This year, in addition to the ADA’s anniversary, it is the 70th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), observed this month. NDEAM is a time to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

While gaining employment can be a challenging process for anyone, those with disabilities understand that it can be an especially trying task when faced with disability discrimination. Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, or the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because he or she has a disability.

Disabled Veterans

One demographic of the disabled population in the United States facing potential disability discrimination when seeking employment is the veteran population. Over the last decade, millions of servicemen and women have returned home to the US from overseas combat, many of them with disabilities incurred during their time of service. In recent years, the percentage of veterans who report having service-connected disabilities has risen; about twenty-five percent of recent veterans report having a service-connected disability, as compared to about thirteen percent of all veterans.  It is estimated that nearly 40,000 veterans have a service-related disability.

Disabilities include such things as the loss of limbs, spinal cord injuries, hearing and vision loss, severe burns, PTSD, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Veterans with disabilities are protected under the ADA, which has a broader definition of disability than the military. The ADA defines a person with a disability as:

  1. An individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include such things as:
    • Caring for one self
    • Performing manual tasks
    • Walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing
    • Learning
    • Concentrating, thinking
  2. An individual who has a record of such impairment
  3. An individual who is regarded, or treated by an employer, as having such an impairment

 Protecting Our Protectors

Title I of the ADA prohibits an employer from treating an applicant or employee unfavorably in all aspects of employment because he or she has a disability, a history of having a disability, or because the employer regards him or her as having a disability.

The ADA also provides that, absent undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense to the employer), applicants and employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodation to apply for jobs, to perform their jobs, and to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.

The US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) works to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities; however, it does not enforce any part of the law.

Two agencies within the Department of Labor have enforcement authority related to the ADA. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of disability, by Federal contractors, and requires affirmative action on behalf of qualified individuals with disabilities, and the Civil Rights Center is responsible for enforcing Title II of the ADA as it applies to the labor and workforce-related practices of state and local governments and other public entities.

In addition to the Department of Labor, four federal agencies enforce the ADA:

  1. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)enforces regulations covering employment.
  2. The Department of Transportation enforces regulations governing transit.
  3. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforces regulations covering telecommunication services.
  4. The Department of Justice enforces regulations governing public accommodations and state and local government services.

25 Years Later, the ADA Continues to Shield against Discrimination

For veterans that have left the service and are returning to a civilian job or seeking a new job, disability discrimination is a legitimate concern.  However, 25 years after it was instituted, the ADA continues to shield veterans from this type of discrimination, in addition to other protective legislation (one such example being the Vietnam Era Veteran’s Readjustment Assistance Act, or VEVRAA, which requires businesses with a federal contract or subcontract in the amount of $100,000 or more, entered into on or after December 1, 2003, take affirmative action to employ and advance qualified disabled veterans).  These statutes have been implemented to ensure veterans are given the equal opportunity to which they are so rightly entitled.

Veterans seeking employment can learn more about their employment rights under the law on the EEOC’s website.


Simple Workarounds To Use CommonLook PDF Global Access On A Mac 


A question we often receive at NetCentric is whether the CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess software works on a Mac.  The answer isn’t a firm “yes” or “no.” Currently, GlobalAccess is designed to operate exclusively in a Windows environment, the operating system (OS) employed by the vast majority of desktop users today. However, there are simple workaround solutions that exist, allowing Mac users to utilize the software, as well.

As outlined on NetCentric’s website, the CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess software possesses the following system requirements in order to be used:

  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8, 7, Vista or XP.
  • PDF Editor: Adobe Acrobat ® Professional 6.0 or later, including Adobe Acrobat DC.
  • Internet Browser: Windows Internet Explorer 7 or later is also required.

Nearly 60% of desktop users employ a Windows 7 OS. XP follows at a distant 2nd with user numbers hovering around 12% of OS market share. However, personal OS preferences aside (we’ll avoid the decades-long Mac vs. Windows debate here), certain professions encourage or even require use of a Mac. Graphic design shops and ad agencies are two typical examples of workrooms that employ widespread use of Macs in order to best utilize popular design software compatible with the Mac OS when creating electronic documents.  When these same documents are then required to be made accessible – either by Section 508 regulations if they are created for a government entity, for example, or commonly and increasingly because it is a necessary step and best practice for documents created for wide public consumption, such as an acceptance application published on a university website – then it can create obstacles for designers who don’t have a accessibility software solution that checks all of the necessary compliance boxes available to them on a Mac OS.

There are a number of options for creating a Windows environment on a Mac through virtualization, a technology that makes it possible to run multiple operating systems and applications on the same server at the same time. Here are a couple of user-friendly virtualization tools that will enable you to use CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess on your Mac:

  1. Parallels Desktop – now in its 11th edition, Parallels is a fast, stable, highly-customizable Virtual Machine application that allows Mac OS to run Windows on a partitioned portion of your disc. The program gives you the option to purchase Windows from directly within Parallels, making installation convenient and simple. Free trials are available on the company’s website.
  2. VMWare Fusion – Fusion is another Virtual Machine application that allows you to run a Windows OS on a Mac. Now in its 8th edition, it’s an excellent option for new and existing Mac users who need the Windows OS. The company also offers free trials for those who like to try before you buy.

It is also worth noting that, as the majority of consumers are using a Windows OS, it follows that the majority of screen-readers employed by these users are Windows-only applications.  Therefore, while Mac does have a built-in screen-reader called VoiceOver, Mac users concerned with creating accessible documents will need to have some facility for testing their results on Windows. Below are a few options for Windows OS-friendly screen readers:

  1. JAWS for Windows – JAWS, which stands for Job Access With Speech, is the market leader and a product of Freedom Scientific. Free trials are available on the company’s website.
  2. NVDA – developed by NV Access in collaboration with a community of global contributors, NVDA, or NonVisual Desktop Access, is a free, open source screen reader that has been downloaded over 70,000 times. (Donations are accepted on the company’s site.)
  3. Window Eyes – a product of the GW Micro Company, a pioneer in the adaptive technology industry.



IAAP’s Inaugural Accessibility Conference to be Held October 21-23 in Henderson, Nevada

This month, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) will host its inaugural educational conference, entitled “IAAP Access 2015.” To be held October 21-23, 2015, at the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa in Henderson, Nevada, the conference will gather accessibility professionals from around the world who are focused on defining, improving and growing the accessibility profession. NetCentric is proud and excited to be a sponsor for and exhibitor during this momentous event in the world of accessibility!

The IAAP is a membership-based organization for individuals and organizations that are focused on accessibility or are in the process of building their accessibility skills and strategies. Their objective lies in helping accessibility professionals develop and advance their careers and to help organizations integrate accessibility into their products and infrastructure.

IAAP Access 2015 promises to be a landmark event at which attendees can expect the following:

  • networking with other professionals from around the world focusing on accessibility topics and implementation;
  • hearing from accessibility experts during keynote sessions, interactive education sessions and in-depth workshops;
  • meeting with leading product and service providers in the Exhibit Hall;
  • learning how to enhance your career path in the field.

More information about IAAP Access 2015 can be found on IAAP’s website.

If you will be in attendance at this year’s conference and would like to schedule a free consultation with NetCentric regarding your electronic document accessibility needs, please email

We look forward to seeing you there!

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