U.S. Attorney's Office to conduct compliance review of popular restaurants in Minneapolis
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS—B. Todd Jones, the United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota, announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has commenced a review of approximately 12 restaurants in Minneapolis to determine whether they are being operated in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”).
Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by private entities that own or operate places of public accommodation, which the law defines to include restaurants. The ADA authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate complaints and undertake periodic review of compliance of covered entities, such as restaurants.
The Department of Justice is also authorized to commence a civil lawsuit in federal court in any case that involves a pattern or practice of discrimination or raises issues of general public importance, seeking injunctive relief, monetary damages, and civil penalties.
U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones explained that given the number of restaurants within the District of Minnesota, the Office will begin its compliance review with high traffic restaurants on or adjacent to Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Other restaurants within the District of Minnesota may be added to the scope of this review from time to time.
To facilitate its compliance review, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has sent each restaurant within the scope of the initiative a detailed survey. Restaurants receiving the survey are to complete and return it within 30 days. For most restaurants receiving the form, it will likely be necessary for representations of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to conduct on-site inspections of the architectural features of the restaurants to confirm survey responses and evaluate compliance with federal regulations implementing the ADA.
If the compliance review uncovers evidence that a particular restaurant is not in compliance with the law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office intends to work with the owners and operators in an effort to secure voluntary compliance.
U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones stresses that this initiative is being conducted in accordance with its statutory responsibility to review compliance with federal law, and not in response to any specific complaint against any of the restaurants within the scope of the review. In recent years, however, the number of restaurant complaints filed with the Department of Justice has increased. Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that a restaurant or any other place of public accommodation within the District of Minnesota is not accessible to persons with disabilities may send a letter to: Attn: Civil Rights Unit, U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Minnesota, 600 United States Courthouse, 300 South Fourth Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415.This restaurants initiative is being handled by the Civil Rights Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erika Mozangue, Ana Voss, and Bahram Samie are in charge of the case.
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