ADA in the News: August 9, 2017

UPS to Pay $2 Million to Resolve Nationwide EEOC Disability Discrimination Claims

International shipping giant United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) has agreed to pay $2 million to nearly 90 current and former UPS employees to resolve a nationwide disability discrimination lawsuit filed in 2009 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well as to conciliate related administrative charges, the agency announced yesterday.

The EEOC charged that UPS violated federal law failing to provide UPS employees with disabilities reasonable accommodations that would enable them to perform their job duties. The EEOC further alleged that UPS maintained an inflexible leave policy, whereby the company fired disabled employees automatically when they reached 12 months of leave, without engaging in the interactive process required by law.

Such alleged conduct violates Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Case No. 09-cv-5291) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

NKY man, transgender wife sue Amazon for workplace bias

WLWT Cincinnati

A Kentucky man and his transgender wife sued Amazon on Wednesday, alleging that they endured sustained discrimination and harassment during a year as co-workers at the mammoth online retailer's warehouse in Northern Kentucky.

A lawyer working with the couple said the case is notable in part because Amazon, one of the nation's largest corporations, has a record of strongly supporting gay and transgender rights.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Covington, Kentucky, alleges that Dane Lane and Allegra Schawe-Lane were targeted with threats, slurs and sexual harassment by numerous colleagues at their shipping facility. Their complaints to superiors led to retaliation in some cases, rather than any effective steps to halt the abuse, the couple contends.

Feds: Maple St. School violates ADA

Foster's Daily Democrat

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has determined Maple Street Magnet School is in violation of federal accessibility laws, and as such is requiring the Rochester School Department to either renovate the school’s building or relocate the school entirely in time for the 2018-19 academic year.

Maple Street is a public elementary school and Rochester’s only magnet school. The OCR began investigating Maple Street over a year ago after a local resident filed a claim against the school.

The claim outlined that the 27 Maple St. school has no handicap accessible entrances and no elevator, the latter of which is problematic because the school’s cafeteria is located on the second floor. The school also has no bathrooms on the first floor that are accessible to individuals with mobility impairments.

Due to these accessibility shortcomings, the OCR has found Maple Street in violation of certain aspects of both Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, according to a letter written by OCR Acting Regional Director Meena Morey Chandra.

Bieber Tourways settles lawsuit over bus accessibility

Reading Eagle

Bieber Tourways, a transportation group based in Kutztown, agreed Wednesday to change its practices to resolve allegations that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to a news release.

Under federal law, large operators like Bieber Tourways must ensure that 100 percent of the buses in their fixed-route fleet are readily accessible to individuals with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs. The settlement arises out of an investigation into whether the company complied with this requirement on its services between Philadelphia and New York City.

United States: Top 10 Mistakes Employers Make In Employment Applications—And How To Avoid Them

Mondaq News Alerts

Employment applications—they may seem innocuous, but they contain a number of minefields of which employers should be aware. In addition to being one of the company's first contacts with applicants, employment applications are also written documents that can later be used as evidence in an adversarial proceeding. Below are10 of the most common mistakes that employers make in application materials and best practices for avoiding these blunders.

Michigan motel refused entry to disabled boy's service dog

Detroit Free Press

The family of a disabled boy is hoping to educate others, after they say a northern Michigan motel turned away his service dog. The motel owners are now facing possible charges.

"I made reservations a month before", says Arlen Facey, but when it came time to check in, he says, "She didn't care -- she kept saying to me, you can't stay here with that dog."

For Facey, his wife Betty and their 8-year-old son David, it was supposed to be a special weekend; a retreat for children with disabilities. The Battle Creek family was set to stay at the Bella Vista Inn in Manistee County for a trip with David's youth hockey team for children with disabilities.

He and Betty fostered David when he was a baby -- his birth mother was a drug-addict. "They had to keep him on drugs. It took methadone and opium to ween him down -- it took almost a year to get him off all the drugs in his system," says Facey's wife. David eventually had a tracheotomy to help with his breathing.

EEOC Sues AT&T Pacific Bell for Disability Discrimination

AT&T Pacific Bell, a California telecommunications company, violated federal law when it denied an employee's request for a sign language interpreter, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed yesterday.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, AT&T Pacific Bell denied a deaf employee at its Fresno, Calif. location an accommodation that would allow him to interact meaningfully in the course of his work.

Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (EEOC v. AT&T Pacific Bell Telephone Company, Case No. 1:17-cv-01059-LJO-EPG) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC's suit seeks monetary damages for the employee, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent and correct discrimination.

Surf-By Lawsuits: Is Your Company's Website ADA Compliant?

JD Supra

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides “[n]o individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to) or operates a place of public accommodation.” Historically, a “place of public accommodation” was interpreted to refer to a physical location (i.e. a brick and mortar retail location or a park). While the ADA limits liability to injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees for prevailing parties, these lawsuits present significant risks for businesses.
In recent years, the number of ADA lawsuits has skyrocketed, especially in Florida, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, and California. Many of these lawsuits have been referred to as “drive-by” lawsuits because they are filed by disabled individuals who simply drive by a store, restaurant, or some other place of public accommodation, spot accessibility issues (such as a handicap parking sign that is too low or a ramp that is too steep), and then sue the establishment without any warning. Often times, the disabled individual or “tester” has never even patronized the business. These cases seldom go to trial; instead, they settle because it is cheaper for the business to make the construction fix and pay off the plaintiff’s attorney than to incur the costs of defending a federal lawsuit.

Two New York Federal Judges Refuse to Dismiss Website Accessibility Cases


Two New York federal judges recently said that the ADA covers websites (even those not connected to a physical place) and one held that working on improving the accessibility of one’s website does not make the ADA claim moot.

Class action: Groupon violates ADA by not offering comparable deals accessible to disabled

Cook County Record

A man with spina bifida has accused Groupon of discrimination for not offering comparable products accessible to those with disabilities alongside other offered deals, including discounted hotel stays and football tickets.

Andrew Huzar said he was trying to purchase a Groupon Getaway Deal on July 30, 2015, for a stay at a Red Lion Hotel in Harrisburg, Penn., but discovered the website offered no options for rooms that incorporated accessibility features for people with physical difficulties. He emailed Groupon to inquire about wheelchair-accessible rooms, and though the company responded promptly, the answer was negative.

Business claims evidence shows ADA lawsuit is fraudulent

WJXT Jacksonville

The number of local businesses targeted by lawsuits over violating federal disability rules keeps growing, and one of the owner of one of the businesses claims to have evidence the plaintiff was not in the store.

The I-TEAM has learned about 250 businesses may have received demand letters or lawsuits over lack of Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, according to an attorney who is filing suit claiming fraud and civil conspiracy against attorney Robert Gibson and his disabled client, Wanda Moore.

15 join countersuit against Jacksonville woman suing 40 small businesses

Fifteen Jacksonville small businesses are now joining the fight against a local woman and attorney who've filed dozens of lawsuits accusing them of breaking the law.

An Action News Jax Investigation in July revealed disabled Jacksonville woman Wanda Moore, who is a double amputee, and her attorney Robert Gibson have filed 40 lawsuits against restaurants, gas stations and food stores, accusing them of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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