Welcome to the latest edition of “ADA in the News,” featuring recent news, updates, and rulings regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A college student has filed a suit against his school that alleges the university discriminates against people who are deaf.
The lawsuit filed against the University of Mississippi claimed that the student received poor grades in a history class because the teacher graded students on videos shown in class that were not captioned. The suit also says that the plaintiff informed university officials that the school’s social media and sports programs were not closed captioned, and that the school did not provide closed captioning on televisions in many of its common areas.
According to the suit, the student, who is deaf, continued his education with the school upon graduation until he dropped out earlier this year. He said the school did nothing to address his concerns while he was a student or since he left the school.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages, a rebate on the tuition he paid while he was a student, and for the school to address and correct its captioning issues.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a suit against Walmart, alleging the company violated federal law by failing to provide an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for an applicant and failing to hire the qualified applicant because he is deaf.
According to the suit, a man applied for a position at a Walmart in Decatur, Ill., through the company’s website and was contacted by Walmart for an interview. The man disclosed he was deaf and requested an ASL interpreter for the interview. The suit claims that the request for an ASL interpreter effectively put an end to the application process – even after the applicant followed up with the company.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits workplace discrimination against applicants on the basis of disability.
A Virginia skilled nursing provider accused of denying a resident admission because she was deaf has settled a federal disability lawsuit for $90,000, according to the Department of Justice.
The allegations were brought against Brookside Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Warrenton, VA. The case stems from claims that Brookside denied admission to an individual who is deaf because she would have needed sign language interpreting services, which is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In addition to agreeing to make changes to its policies and procedures – including designating an ADA administrator, providing sign language interpreting services, and training staff on ADA effective communication requirements – the nursing center agreed to pay $40,000 to the resident to whom it denied admission and a $50,000 civil penalty.
The right to equal treatment in the workplace, classroom, or medical center is protected, and requesting an accommodation can benefit everyone involved. Providing accommodations shows others that the company, educational institution, or nursing facility recognizes the value of all individuals as well as the benefits of creating and sustaining an inclusive environment for all.
Providing accessible solutions – whether it be via captioned content, sign language interpreters, or other reasonable accommodations – not only satisfies ADA requirements but also is the right thing to do. Over the past 30+ years, VITAC has worked closely with disability advocates and clients from a wide range of industries, including the educational, government, and corporate sectors, to provide accessible solutions.