Tools & Resources

Webinar Archive: Disability and Civil Rights

FARE hosts free educational webinars designed to help you live life well with food allergies. Each month, we feature leading experts discussing the topics related to food allergy that you most want to hear about. FARE Members have the benefit of advanced registration for each webinar. To register for our next upcoming webinar, visit our Educational Webinars homepage.

The recorded webinars below outline the legal rights of students and adults with food allergies in various settings, as well as guidance on how to seek accommodations. For information specific to the school setting, visit our School Webinars page. 

Archived Webinars

Students with Food Allergies and Disability Laws: High School to College
Speaker: Jim Long, JD
Wednesday, July 27, 1 p.m. ET

This webinar will address the fundamentals regarding application of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (both laws are designed to protect individuals with disabilities) to the post-secondary setting. The emphasis will be on arming qualified students with allergies severe enough to be considered disabilities with information sufficient to enable them to negotiate the process and procedures for obtaining "academic adjustments" (modifications to policies, accommodations, and supports). We will address the laws' definition of a disability, schools' responsibilities, the responsibilities of individual students with disabilities, documentation issues, and participating in the interactive process in which schools are expected to engage.

Dr. GreenJim Long is an attorney living in Denver and formerly a Senior Attorney with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education, in the Denver Enforcement Office. Long served as a Judge Advocate General’s Corps office in the Army for 23 years. He followed his military career serving a number of years as litigation counsel at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site before moving to OCR. He served in OCR from 2003 to 2014. Jim is the principal at Educational Rights Consulting, providing civil rights consulting services to parents, school districts, colleges, and universities. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of ADA Coordinators and teaches at their annual fall and spring conferences.

The slides from the presentation can be viewed here.

The script from the presentation can be viewed here.

Food Allergies in the Workplace
Speaker: Mary Vargas
Wednesday, May 27, 1 p.m. ET

Federal law provides job applicants and employees with disabilities with the right to reasonable accommodations and with protection from discrimination on the basis of disability. This webinar will introduce the rights of applicants and employees with disabilities, with special focus on food allergies.

Mary Vargas is a partner with Stein & Vargas, LLP, a civil rights law firm committed to the principle that all people have full and equal access to all parts of American society. Vargas advocates for individuals who were discriminated against on the basis of disability through high stakes federal court litigation and is committed to ensuring full and equal access for all individuals. She has litigated cases pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act throughout the United States, achieving important victories that have advanced the rights of individuals with disabilities. Vargas is a 1998 Skadden Fellow and a 1994 Truman Scholar. She is the recipient of the Advocacy for Persons with Pain Award from the American Academy of Pain Management. Vargas co-founded the Allergy Law Project and has a special interest in the rights of individuals and families impacted by food allergies.

The slides from the presentation can be viewed here.

Funding for this webinar was made possible through a generous grant from



The Rights of Individuals with Food Allergy-Related Disabilities Under the ADA 

Speaker: William Lynch
Wednesday, November 12, 1 p.m. ET

This presentation will explore the rights of individuals with food allergy-related disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In particular, the presentation will discuss recent decisions such as the Lesley University voluntary settlement (for which the presenter was lead attorney) and guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice in higher education, child care, and in restaurant settings. The presentation will include a question and answer session.

William Lynch is a trial attorney with the Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, and has been with the department for six years. Among other things, he is responsible for investigation, litigation, and technical assistance of matters arising under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. He has asserted the United States' interests and resolved matters in the following subject matter areas: accessible technology; primary, secondary, and higher education; emergency management; corrections; architectural accessibility; service animal access; and effective communication in courts. Prior to joining the department, he served as judicial law clerk advising and consulting with judges on the resolution of disputes arising in various types of litigation.

The slides from the presentation can be viewed here.


Your Right to Be Safe: Food Allergies and the Law
Speaker: M. Tess O’Brien-Heinzen
Wednesday, March 12, 1 p.m. ET

Federal disability laws provide protection for individuals with life-threatening food allergies but they can be tough to navigate and are often difficult to understand. This webinar will set forth the basic framework of the laws and will provide guidance on seeking accommodations for food allergies in schools and the workplace.

About M. Tess O’Brien-Heinzen:
M. Tess O’Brien-Heinzen provides litigation support to the Insurance Defense and General and Commercial Litigation Practice Groups with Boardman & Clark, LLP in Madison, WI. She has practiced in the litigation area for 8 years and has provided support in a wide-range of civil and appellate cases.

Tess also provides legal guidance with respect to issues under the ADA, ADAAA and the Rehabilitation Act. She is also a frequent speaker and writer on this area of the law.

The slides from the presentation can be viewed here.

Due to technical issues, only audio is currently available for this webinar below. However, you may access the slides from the webinar while listening.  Sorry for the inconvenience.