ADA in the News August 16, 2022

Goochland Powhatan Community Services Agrees to Settle Americans with Disabilities Act Complaint

The United States Attorney’s Office announced a settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Goochland Powhatan Community Services (GPCS), which is the Community Service Board and local government mental health agency for Goochland and Powhatan Counties.

The settlement agreement resolves allegations that GPCS failed to furnish sign language interpreting services during multiple consequential and complex interactions with an individual who is deaf during a 33-month period, including monthly interactions when GPCS personnel were supposed to assess the individual for, among other things, previously unidentified risks, injuries, needs, or other changes in status, and the individual was supposed to have an opportunity to provide meaningful input and feedback about the services being provided. In Virginia, Community Service Boards, like GPCS, provide a continuum of community-based education, prevention, crisis intervention, counseling and rehabilitation to individuals, families and groups in need of mental health, intellectual and developmental disability, and/or substance use disorder services, including support coordination services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Entities covered by the ADA, such as state and local government agencies, are required to furnish appropriate auxiliary aid or services, including sign language interpreter services, when providing to people with communication disabilities. Ensuring that such services are provided is especially important for communication-intensive programs that human and social service providers offer to the public.


EEOC Sues Walmart for Disability Discrimination

Wal-Mart Stores East, LP violated federal law when its Aiken, South Carolina retail store failed to provide reasonable accommodation to a part-time sales associate and then placed him on indefinite unpaid leave, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, shortly after hiring Luis Quiñones, who has a disability, Walmart accommodated Quiñones by permitting him to use one of the store’s electric carts to perform his job duties, which included stocking shelves. Approximately seven months later, and several months after Quiñones had completed his probationary period with the use of the store’s electric cart, a new manager told Quiñones he was no longer able to use the cart and sent him home without pay.

Walmart offered no explanation other than telling Quiñones that the store’s electric carts are for customer use only, even though other employees were permitted to use the carts to accommodate temporary injuries. Walmart told Quiñones he would have to provide his own electric cart or transfer to a self-checkout host position.


Justice Department Announces Conclusion of Landmark Agreement Addressing Segregated Work Settings for People with Disabilities

In an order issued on Aug. 12, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon found that the State of Oregon has fulfilled the terms of a settlement agreement with the Justice Department and people with disabilities in a landmark case challenging the state’s provision of employment services for people with disabilities in segregated settings. The case, Lane v. Brown/United States v. Oregon, was dismissed as a result.

The settlement agreement, in effect since 2015, resolved the first lawsuit in the nation to challenge a state’s reliance on segregated employment settings for individuals with disabilities, including sheltered workshops, as a violation of the integration mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Sheltered workshops are segregated facilities that exclusively or primarily serve individuals with disabilities, in which people with disabilities have little or no contact with non-disabled persons besides paid staff.


Justice Department to Monitor Compliance with Federal Voting Rights Laws in Alaska Jurisdictions

The Justice Department announced today that it will monitor the Aug. 16, 2022, federal primary election in certain jurisdictions in the State of Alaska to ensure compliance with the minority language accessibility requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the disability accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. On election day, the Civil Rights Division will be monitoring in the following jurisdictions: Municipality of Anchorage, City and Borough of Juneau, Bethel Census Area, Dillingham Census Area and Kusilvak Census Area. During early/absentee voting, the Division has also monitored in the following jurisdictions: Municipality of Anchorage, City and Borough of Juneau, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Denali Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough and Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area.

The Division regularly deploys its staff to monitor for compliance with the federal civil rights laws in elections in communities all across the country.


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