Articles Posted in Auxiliary Aids

FedEx sued for failure to provide effective auxiliary aids and services for hearing and speech impaired employees and job applicants

Effective communication with blind, low vision, deaf, hard-of-hearing, speech impaired and cognitively challenged employees, potential employees, customers and guests is one of the fundamental tenets of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”). For nearly 25 years, the ADA has been the most sweeping civil rights legislation designed to provide persons with disabilities full and equal access to public accommodations, employment and potential employment.

In its latest effort to enforce the ADA’s effective communication requirements, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed a lawsuit in a Baltimore federal court against FedEx, charging the overnight delivery giant with failing to provide basic auxiliary aids and services to effectively communicate with its deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech impaired employees and job applicants.

The suit accuses FedEx of not providing Qualified American Sign Language interpreters, Communications Access Realtime Translation (“CART”) services or closed captioned training videos during new hire orientation or staff and safety meetings to its employees and job applicants in violation of the ADA’s requirement that businesses provide such auxiliary aids and services.

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Does the ADA now require all hotels to provide personal hearing or closed caption devices for deaf and hard of hearing guests?

In November 2010, a disability rights group launched class action litigation against Cinemark’s theaters in California on behalf of “The Association of Late Deafened Adults.” In its complaint, the group accused Cinemark of discriminatory practices against deaf and hard of hearing patrons due to its “consistent refusal” to provide closed (and open) captioned theater experiences at its theaters in Alameda County, California. Although the lawsuit is locally focused, it is of keen interest to the hotel industry and its implications are important.

The ADA was created to ensure full and equal access to “public accommodations” for disabled Americans. All hotels qualify under the ADA as “public accommodations.”