Detroit, MI – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan announced that it has reached settlements with two local gymnasiums: Gymnastic Training Center of Rochester, Inc., and Great Lakes Elite Gymnastics, Inc. (also known as the Great Lakes Kids Energy Zone). Both facilities offer youth gymnastics programs. The settlements resolve two separate allegations that the centers failed to provide appropriate sign language interpreters or other auxiliary aids to children who are deaf or hard of hearing, thereby excluding them from participation in their programs.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that places of public accommodation, including gymnasiums and other places of exercise or recreation, provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, such as sign language interpreters, free of charge to ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“No one should be excluded from a place of public accommodation because of a disability, least of all children in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison. “We appreciate the cooperation of the Gymnastic Training Center and Great Lakes Elite Gymnastics to resolve these complaints and ensure that children who are deaf or hard of hearing can participate in their programs alongside their peers.”
Under the settlement agreements, each facility will adopt new policies and procedures to ensure that no one with a disability is excluded from participation in their programs. In addition, both organizations will ensure that staff is appropriately trained on ADA requirements; ensure that auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreters, are provided to children free of charge when necessary for effective communication; include postings within their facilities alerting customers to the availability of auxiliary aids and services; and establish an ADA liaison to ensure compliance with the agreements. Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Luttrell Levingston investigated these complaints and developed the settlement agreements.
The Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan was established in 2010 with the mission of prioritizing federal civil rights enforcement. Enforcing the ADA is a top priority of the Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. ADA complaints may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Civil Rights Hotline at (313) 226-9151. For more information on the U.S. Attorney Office’s civil rights efforts, including copies of settlement agreements with Gymnastic Training Center of Rochester, Inc. and Great Lakes Elite Gymnastics, Inc., please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-edmi/programs/civil-rights.
More information about the ADA is available at the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY) and on the ADA website at www.ada.gov.