Hot Issues on Title I of the ADA

The ADA is deceptively complex. This webinar will discuss and demystify the hot issues arising under title I of the ADA, which covers employment. Topics to be covered include:

  • Just what are the essential functions of the job, and how do you go about determining that;
  • Requirements related to mandatory reassignment when a person with a disability can no longer do their current job with or without reasonable accommodation;
  • Just what is the interactive process, and just what are its dos and don’ts;
  • How do you go about figuring out your effective communication obligations per the ADA in the employment context;
  • What are the things to be aware of when using artificial intelligence in hiring decisions;
  • Issues related to masking in the workplace; and
  • A 30,000 feet overview of service animals and emotional support animals in the workplace. 


William Goren, Esq.

William D. Goren, Esq., of William D. Goren, J.D., LL.M. LLC in Decatur, GA, has been dealing with the ADA as an Attorney since 1990. His law and consulting practice,, as well as his blog, Understanding the ADA, (a member of the ABA Top 100 for five consecutive years, 2014-2018- there was no ABA 100 in 2019-2021), all focus on understanding the ADA so that the client understands what it means to comply with that law and related laws. In particular, he provides consulting, counseling, representation, and training services involving compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and related laws- such as the Air Carrier Access Act and the Fair Housing Act, among others. Mr. Goren also brings a deep, personal understanding of what it means to have a disability, equipping him with exceptional insight into how the ADA actually works. He is deaf with a congenital bilateral hearing loss of 65–90+ decibels but functions entirely in the hearing world thanks to hearing aids, Bluetooth technology, and lip-reading. For reasons independent of his deafness, he also uses voice dictation technology to access his computer. He is also a frequent presenter, a trained mediator, a FINRA arbitrator (Chairperson eligible), and an arbitrator on the CPR employment panel. Finally, he is the author of Understanding the ADA, now in its 4th edition (ABA 2013), and numerous other articles on the rights of persons with disabilities. He is a member of various committees of the American Bar Association and is also a member of the Federal Bar Association (FBA) Diversity and Inclusion committee; the FBA’s Civil Rights committee and its Governing Board; FBA’s Civil Rights Amicus committee; and the Chair of the FBA’s Working Group on Disability Best Practices, which formulated an accessibility manual for the FBA and its chapters. He is also a member of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association and leads its Amicus committee. He has an A.B. from Vassar College, a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law, and was one of the first in the entire country to receive the LL.M. in health law, in his case from DePaul University College of Law. Interesting fact: He trained his miniature poodle to be a hearing dog while he practices virtually.


How Legal Professionals Use Assistive Technologies (or Reasonable Accommodations) in their Careers

Assistive technology allows people with disabilities to participate as full members of today’s society. As the legal profession evolves after the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, assistive technology has transformed and expanded into great heights of usage and innovation for deaf legal professionals. With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, discrimination in employment and public accommodations based on disability was outlawed, and employers have a duty to provide reasonable accommodations to their employees with disabilities. The presenters will overview the assistive technology they use to thrive as legal professionals in their legal work environment.


Taye Akinola

Taye Akinola is a paralegal specialist in the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He provides complex litigation and paralegal support to attorneys in attorney suspensions and disbarments, federal securities laws, and other non-Enforcement cases and investigations. As a Deaf paralegal, Taye is passionate about meeting with other deaf individuals who are curious and interested in the paralegal profession and sharing his experience in using assistive technology and other reasonable accommodations in his interaction with attorneys, paralegals, other legal professionals, and the court system. He is also a strong advocate for Access to Justice and legal reform. He firmly believes that everyone should be able to get high quality affordable legal services regardless of income. Taye is nationally certified as a CORE Registered Paralegal and an American Alliance Certified Paralegal. He obtained a Master of Legal Studies from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law and Graduate Certificates in paralegal studies and mediation from Texas State University. He is a proud graduate of Gallaudet University with a BA in graphic design and an MA in deaf studies.


Azeema Akram, Esq.

Azeema Akram is an Administrative Law Judge at the Illinois Human Rights Commission (“IHRC”), where she presides over claims of unlawful discrimination pursuant to the Illinois Human Rights Act. In December 2019, Azeema became one of 34 members of the national Deaf & Hard of Hearing Bar Association to be sworn in the United Supreme Court Bar. As a deaf/hard-of-hearing attorney, Azeema is passionate about accessibility in legal proceedings. She regularly presents to attorneys and judges on accommodating people with disabilities in court. Azeema has been published in the American Bar Association Journal and was awarded the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Arts & Science 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of her accomplishments. She is a Community Representative on the Regional Transportation Authority’s Paratransit Certification Formal Appeals Program Eligibility Review Board. She was a 2018 Fellow with Disability Lead. Azeema earned her B.A. in International Studies with a Multicultural Studies Certificate from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and her J.D. and a Health Law Certificate from DePaul University College of Law.


Ethical Challenges of Deaf Lawyers and Deaf Clients

We often think of the challenges we face as D/deaf and hard-of-hearing lawyers in practical terms, but some of them have ethical dimensions as well. Moreover, our lived experiences equip us particularly well to represent D/deaf and hard-of-hearing clients, and that work also raises ethical concerns. In this session, we’ll look at the Rules of Professional Conduct, focusing specifically on the Colorado rules, discuss the ethical issues those rules may raise, some of which may not be immediately apparent, and suggest productive ways to address those concerns.


John Waldo, Esq.

John Waldo is an attorney with 35 years of legal experience, the last 15 of which have focused exclusively on issues arising out of hearing loss, a practice that combines his legal training and practice and his lived experience with gradually worsening hearing loss. He began losing his hearing as a pre-teen, likely as a result of German measles, and now wears two cochlear implants. He is general counsel to the Association of Late Deafened Adults, a national organization actively engaged in legal advocacy, including litigation, and is counsel to two regional organizations with a similar mission. He received a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College in California, and a law degree from the University of Utah, all prior to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He lives in Houston, Texas, is an active member of the State Bar of Texas, and practices nationwide.