FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has commenced a review of a number of hotels and casinos in Atlantic City 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, among other establishments, resorts, hotels, conference centers and casinos. The ADA authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate complaints and to undertake periodic reviews of compliance of covered entities.
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 that raises issues of general public importance, and to seek injunctive relief, monetary damages and civil penalties.
To facilitate its compliance review, the U.S. Attorney’s Office sent each hotel and casino within the scope of the initiative a detailed survey form approximately 45 days ago, asking that the form be completed and returned by today. The properties receiving the form were notified that it will likely be necessary for representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to conduct on-site inspections to confirm survey responses and review their compliance with federal law. If the government’s review uncovers evidence that a particular property is not in compliance with the law, the government intends to work with the owners and operators in an effort to secure voluntary compliance.
U.S. Attorney Fishman stated: “The Americans with Disabilities Act plays an important role in ensuring equal access to facilities and opportunities for New Jersey’s residents and visitors. It is imperative public accommodations which play a substantial role in the business of the state fully comply with their legal obligations. We look forward to working with the owners and operators of New Jersey hotels and casinos, and expect to work cooperatively with them to ensure voluntary compliance if any violations are discovered.”
Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that a hotel or any other place of public accommodation within the District of New Jersey is not accessible to persons with disabilities may use the Civil Rights Complaint Form available on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey website at www.justice.gov/usao/nj.