Posts Tagged ‘department of justice’

Department of Justice is starting to enforce ADA codes… again

| Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 | Comments Off on Department of Justice is starting to enforce ADA codes… again

The Department of Justice after a long haitus has begun to inspect for ADA code violations again.

Federal prosecutors are reviewing about a dozen downtown Minneapolis restaurants for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones’ office said Wednesday.

Department of Justice attorneys may review other Minnesota restaurants as part of the review, which is starting with high-traffic, downtown restaurants on or adjacent to Nicollet Mall.

You can see the rest of the article here.

During the last Bush administration, much of the enforcement activity from the DOJ was halted. With the change in administration under Obama, the DOJ begun to purse offenders of the ADA, although they seemed to limit their activity to larger companies. Apparently they have begun to do spot checks of high traffic areas again.

Curious to see what they might find at your site? Call us and have us take a look. 866 982 3212.

DOJ Settles with Virginia Health System on ADA Compliance

| Thursday, March 31st, 2011 | Comments Off on DOJ Settles with Virginia Health System on ADA Compliance

This just in. The Virginal Health Care system has agreed to pay 25k to two individuals for their lack of assisted listening device compliance. Under the ADA all goods ands services need to be accessible. So if you offer a good or service, make sure it is available to everyone! The number of assisted listening devices is dependent on the size of the occupancy.

I have quoted the entire text below.

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department has reached a settlement with Inova Health System to ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing in the provision of medical services. The agreement, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, resolves a complaint that Inova failed to provide sign language interpreters to an expectant mother and others who are deaf and need interpreters to communicate effectively with health care providers.

The department’s lawsuit, filed yesterday with a consent decree in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleged that Inova Health System violated the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreter services, to deaf individuals at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Because of the hospital’s failure to provide sign language interpreter services, deaf individuals were denied the benefit of effective communication with hospital staff, the opportunity to effectively participate in medical treatment decisions, and the full benefit of health care services provided by Inova Fairfax Hospital, according to the complaint.

“The ADA protects the right of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to be able to access medical services, and this settlement is the latest example of the Justice Department’s unwavering commitment to enforcing the ADA,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “This settlement also demonstrates Inova Health System’s commitment to provide effective communication to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

“This settlement shows that Inova and the government share the same goal – making sure that deaf and hard of hearing patients can communicate with their doctors, especially at critical moments in their medical care,” said Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The consent decree, which must be approved by the district court, requires Inova Health System to pay $95,000 to aggrieved individuals and a $25,000 civil penalty; provide training to hospital staff on the requirements of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act; and adopt specific policies and procedures to ensure that auxiliary aids and services are promptly provided to patients or companions who are deaf or hard of hearing. Inova Health System has also separately agreed to pay a total of $25,000 to two other aggrieved individuals.

The ADA and Rehabilitation Act prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities by hospitals. Among other things, the ADA requires doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to provide equal access to patients and companions who are deaf or hard of hearing. When medical services involve important, lengthy or complex oral communications with patients or companions, hospitals are generally required to provide qualified sign language interpreters and other auxiliary aids, free of charge, to individuals who are deaf, are hard of hearing or have speech disabilities. The appropriate auxiliary aid to be provided depends on a variety of factors, including the nature, length and importance of the communication; the communication skills and knowledge of the individual who is deaf or hard of hearing; and the individual’s stated need for a particular type of auxiliary aid.

Those interested in finding out more about this settlement or hospitals’ effective communication obligations under the ADA may call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website . ADA complaints may be filed by email to .

Contact: Department of Justice Main Switchboard – 202-514-2000

You can find a link on this below: 7th Space

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? or 866 982 3212. Thanks!

ADA Guidelines for Small Businesses

| Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 | 2 Comments »

As promised, the Department of Justice has posted an ADA Primer for Small Businesses.

This document explains many of the confusing requirements that the ADA has in addition to building code like requirements.  Basically, the safe harbor for older ADA compliance with 1990 standards is an option for businesses wanting to comply with the ADA up until March 15, 2012.  The safe harbor applies to elements on a case by case basis.

After March 15, 2012 businesses WILL NO LONGER HAVE THE OPTION as to which standard they want to comply to.  So if an older standard is easier to achieve, that option will no longer be available after March 15, 2012.  You will have to comply with the 2010 ADA standards.

If you’ve been following us on this blog or if you have been to one of our ADA Seminars on ADA Compliance then you understand that the majority of places of public accommodation are in fact not compliant with even the older ADA 1990 standards.


In  many cases, older standards can be more stringent.  For example, the ADA of 2010 allows some tolerances for the centerline position of toilets.  If you are in California, this might make a difference, or it might not as the California Building Code still applies.

Many of the issues in the PDF affect issues of policy, for instance

  • Braille Menus or readers must be required
  • Service Animals are now defined solely as Dogs (except in one particular case, miniature horses)
  • Communication with Customers must be readily available in NON-Verbal Exchanges

These are the main requirements.  As always, readily achievable barrier removal must be performed whenever possible.  A few examples of these include

  • Lowered Counters
  • Clear floor space underneath controls
  • Steps at the Main Entrance
  • Installing Amenities and Grab bars in the Restrooms
  • Many Parking Accessibility Issues

We will example some of these in details in later articles.  For now, though you should look at the PDF.  Also be aware that the safe harbor does not apply in cases like

  • Accessible Showers
  • Saunas
  • Residential Facilities
  • Play Areas
  • Swimming Pools

There are many more requirements, but if you are an average business owner than you are probably not effected by these.

For now though, this ends the summation of this guide.  The link again, is here:


As always if you have any comments, questions or concerns feel free to call us at 866 982 3212 x1 or email us at

Justice Department’s New ADA Rules Go into Effect on March 15, 2011

| Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 | Comments Off on Justice Department’s New ADA Rules Go into Effect on March 15, 2011

This following is quoted from the Department of Justice in Full from here:

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs
Monday, March 14, 2011
Justice Department’s New ADA Rules Go into Effect on March 15, 2011

WASHINGTON – Revised regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will take effect tomorrow, March 15, 2011, the Department of Justice announced.   The revised rules are the department’s first major revision of its guidance on accessibility in 20 years.


The regulations apply to the activities of more than 80,000 units of state and local government and more than seven million places of public accommodation, including stores, restaurants, shopping malls, libraries, museums, sporting arenas, movie theaters, doctors’ and dentists’ offices, hotels, jails and prisons, polling places, and emergency preparedness shelters.   The rules were signed by Attorney General Eric Holder on July 23, 2010, and the official text was published in the Federal Register on September 15, 2010.


The department is also releasing a new document, “ADA Update: A Primer for Small Business,” to help small businesses understand the new and updated accessibility requirements.   In addition, the department is announcing the release of a new publication explaining when the various provisions of its amended regulations will take effect.   Both documents will be available tomorrow on the department’s ADA website, .


“The new rules usher in a new day for the more than 50 million individuals with disabilities in this country,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.   “The rules will expand accessibility in a number of areas and, for the first time, provide detailed guidance on how to make recreation facilities, including parks and swimming pools, accessible.”


The new ADA rules adopt the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which have been retooled to be more user-friendly for building code officials, builders, and architects, and have been harmonized with state and local accessibility codes.   The 2010 standards also include, for the first time, standards on making swimming pools, parks, golf courses, boating facilities, exercise clubs, and other recreation facilities accessible for individuals with disabilities. Entities covered by the ADA have until March 15, 2012 to comply with the 2010 Standards.   In addition to adopting the new ADA 2010 Standards, the amended regulations contain many new or expanded provisions on general nondiscrimination policies, including the use of service animals, the use of wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices, selling tickets for wheelchair-accessible seating at sports and performance venues, reserving and guaranteeing accessible rooms at hotels, providing interpreter services through video conferencing, and the effect of the new regulations on existing facilities.   The compliance date for the all the new nondiscrimination provisions, except for those on hotel reservations, is March 15, 2011.   Compliance with the hotel reservation provisions is not required until March 15, 2012.


“ADA Update” and “ADA 2010 Revised Requirements: Effective Date/Compliance Date” are the first of several planned publications aimed at helping businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and state and local governments understand their obligations under the amended Title II and Title III regulations.   Individual print copies of the Effective Date/Compliance Date publication can be ordered from the ADA Information Line (800-514-0301 voice or 800-514-0383 TTY).


For more information about the ADA , call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY), or access the department’s ADA website at .


How it effects you:

This deadline basically means that the additional requirements for ADA compliance extend into areas that were previously unregulated.

The DOJ intends to publish a small business guide tomorrow, so we will be posting that.  Further information will be available as events unravel.

We keep abreast of this stuff so you don’t have to!

For more information pertinent to Accessibility and the new ADA requirements today, you can look at the resources below:


As always, call us if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility at 866 982 3212 x1 or email us at

Justice Department Fines Dallas Bus Company $55,000 for Violating the ADA

| Monday, September 27th, 2010 | Comments Off on Justice Department Fines Dallas Bus Company $55,000 for Violating the ADA

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department and the Department of Transportation announced $55,000 in fines against Tornado Bus Company Inc., of Dallas, for violating passenger carrier accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition to the fine, a consent agreement reached with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Justice Department requires the bus company to upgrade its fleet to meet ADA requirements by February 2011 or have its operating authority revoked.

An extensive investigation conducted by FMCSA uncovered that Tornado had only one accessible bus in a fleet of 53 buses, while ADA regulations require that at least 50 percent of a carrier’s vehicles must be accessible. The investigation also found the company had purchased new non-accessible buses, failed to train employees on interacting with disabled passengers and failed to establish a wheelchair lift maintenance program. The fine and citations came as a result of FMCSA’s ADA strike force held in May 2010.

“At the foundation of our society is the ability to live independently and move freely,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. “This freedom is no less important to people with disabilities. We are grateful FMCSA takes accessibility requirements seriously and has reached this agreement.”

“Adhering to ADA accessibility requirements is not a choice, but a high standard that every commercial bus operator must follow,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “FMCSA will continue to work closely with the Department of Justice to vigorously enforce ADA compliance so that all travelers can enjoy destinations across America by way of commercial bus.”

In February 2009, FMCSA and the Justice Department entered into a memorandum of understanding concerning the enforcement of commercial passenger buses. The memorandum between the two agencies was included in the Over-the-Road Bus Transportation Accessibility Act of 2007 and is designed to ensure consistent ADA enforcement nationwide.


This is why architects and contractors are often at a loss.
Accessibility is NOT about Building Code.

Amazon’s Kindle Violates the ADA

| Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 | Comments Off on Amazon’s Kindle Violates the ADA

As we’ve been touting, the ADA is about equal access, or atleast reasonable accommodation. In the Amazon/Apple war (Kindle vs iPad/iPhone) over who is going to be the next reader of digital media Amazon moved the Kindle to put textbooks online for students. Not a bad idea, considering the cost of text books and the weight of lugging all those heavy books about. But in doing so, Kindle did not allow for their product to be readable for the blind — there is no way for a blind person to access the text-to-speech on the Kindle without the help of a sighted person.

No matter what you do, no matter what goods or services your business, or any business participates in — please make sure you include everyone — that you think of providing everyone with a means to participate in some equitable manner…

Last year, the schools — among them Princeton, Arizona State and Case Western Reserve — wanted to know if e-book readers would be more convenient and less costly than traditional textbooks. The environmentally conscious educators also wanted to reduce the huge amount of paper students use to print files from their laptops.

It seemed like a promising idea until the universities got a letter from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, now under an aggressive new chief, Thomas Perez, telling them they were under investigation for possible violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Kindle Violates the ADA


Justice Department Reaches Comprehensive Settlement with National Owner of Gas Stations Resolving ADA Claims

| Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 | Comments Off on Justice Department Reaches Comprehensive Settlement with National Owner of Gas Stations Resolving ADA Claims

You may think that there is no official body that enforces the ADA but there is, although the dragon often sleeps. The ADA isn’t enforced just by individuals in lawsuits, but also by the Department of Justice. Recently the DOJ has reached a settlement with QuikTrip…

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced a comprehensive settlement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with QuikTrip Corporation, a private company that owns and operates more than 550 gas stations, convenience stores, travel centers, and truck stops in the Midwest, South and Southwestern United States. Under the consent decree, which was filed today along with a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, QuikTrip will create a $1.5 million compensatory damages fund for individuals who were victims of discrimination based on disability, as well as take various steps to make its stores accessible.

Read more on the details of the ADA Settlement