Two persons complained to the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") that a particular corporation's stores failed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12131, and related federal regulations. The complainants alleged that some of the stores' entrances contained ...
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Two persons complained to the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") that a particular corporation's stores failed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12131, and related federal regulations. The complainants alleged that some of the stores' entrances contained barriers making them inaccessible to persons using wheelchairs and that, inside, the stores' aisles were often cluttered to the extent that wheelchairs could not enter the aisles. DOJ conducted accessibility surveys at a sampling of the corporation's 840 stores throughout the U.S. as part of a DOJ investigation prompted by the complaints. The investigation confirmed the complainants' allegations to the DOJ's satisfaction, resulting in negotiations between the corporation and the DOJ regarding the evident ADA accessibility and barrier removal violations.
We do not have information as to the dates of the complaint, investigation, or negotiation; however, on July 18, 2006, the corporation and DOJ entered into a written settlement agreement concerning these ADA issues. The agreement obligated the corporation to take remedial action at all of its stores within time periods set out in the agreement. The remedial actions included removal of obstructions to access, a physical assessment survey of each store to identify access barriers, reconfiguring stores to eliminate barriers, and training of store management and staff regarding both the settlement and their obligations toward disabled persons. Provisions in the agreement obligated the corporation to ensure that new and remodeled stores were ADA compliant. The corporation agreed to prepare and submit to the DOJ verification reports regarding progress made toward compliance, to pay damages of $2,000 apiece to the original complainants, and to pay a $55,000 civil penalty to the United States should the DOJ find the corporation not substantially compliant with the settlement. The agreement set a four year period for the corporation to survey and improve its' stores, with the work at a different 25% of the corporation's stores to be completed each of the four years. Dispute resolution procedures were included in the agreement, with the DOJ retaining authority to file a legal action to compel ADA compliance and to impose a civil fine if the parties could not timely resolve disputes regarding compliance.
We have no additional information about activity in this matter.Mike Fagan - 06/06/2008