A health club in Garrettsville, Ohio, will pay $15,000 and modify its policies to allow people with disabilities to exercise with the assistance of caregivers
A health club in Garrettsville, Ohio, will pay $15,000 and modify its policies to allow people with disabilities to exercise with the assistance of caregivers pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act and a consent decree filed in federal court, United States Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach announced today.
Total Lifetime Care Health & Fitness Club Inc. (TLC) also agreed to reinstate the memberships of two victims on whose behalf a complaint was filed with the Department of Justice and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. TLC also agreed to train its employees on nondiscrimination, post notices that it does not discriminate and ask prospective members if they need an accommodation to fully enjoy the facility, among other provisions.
“This settlement will ensure regardless of whatever challenges a person faces, they will be able to enjoy the benefits of fitness and exercise,” Dettelbach said.
The Department of Justice and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission investigated allegations of discrimination and retaliation against TLC. The Justice Department filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Cleveland alleging discrimination and retaliation by TLC.
The complaint alleges that on Oct. 9, 2010, TLC discriminated against one of its members with a physical and mental disability who requires supervision for most of her daily activities, including exercise. TLC refused to modify its policy to accommodate her disability and allow a non-member to accompany her during her workout. When informed that its actions violated the ADA, TLC terminated the disabled individual’s membership and the membership of the wife of the individual who opposed TLC’s discriminatory practice.
Under the terms of the consent decree, filed on May 3, TLC agrees to:
- Reinstate the memberships of the victims.
- Modify its policy so to accommodate the victim’s disability so that a non-member may accompany her during her use of the facility to afford Collier equal access to TLC’s goods and services. The accompanying individual may not utilize the equipment and services of TLC for their own personal benefit.
- Provide reasonable accommodations to any prospective or current gym member with a disability. TLC will also provide members and prospective members with a form for requesting modifications to policies.
- Post a sign of conspicuous size and print stating: “If you have a disability that requires a modification to policies, practices or procedures, or auxiliary aids and services to achieve full and equal enjoyment of our facilities, please notify Total Lifetime Care Health & Fitness staff so that we can help.”
- Provide annual training to its staff about the obligations of the ADA and the Consent Decree.
- Pay $10,000 to the victims and $5,000 as a civil penalty to the United States Department of Justice.