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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

U.S. Attorney Launches Review Of 25 Restaurants For Compliance With Americans With Disabilities Act

PHILADELPHIA – The Office of United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has launched a review of 25 of Philadelphia’s most popular restaurants to determine if they are in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”), announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.  The initiative is in accordance with the Government’s congressionally-mandated responsibility to review compliance with the ADA.  It is not in response to any specific complaint against a restaurant.

 

As part of the review, restaurant owners are being asked to complete a Survey Form, supplied by the Government, pertaining to their restaurant’s accessibility.  Investigators may then conduct on-site inspections to confirm survey responses and to evaluate compliance with federal ADA regulations.  Owners and operators found to be non-compliant will have the option of entering into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement with the Government whereby they voluntarily agree to upgrade their facilities to meet ADA requirements.  Owners and operators found to be engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination, or that fail to enter Voluntary Compliance Agreements, may face a civil lawsuit brought by the Government and/or be subject to penalties, including monetary penalties and civil fines.

 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office objectively selected the restaurants for this compliance review using recent third party restaurant rankings in order to review 25 of Philadelphia’s most popular and frequented restaurants.

 

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by places of public accommodation, including restaurants, and requires places of public accommodation  to be “designed, constructed, and altered in compliance with the accessibility standards established” by the ADA’s implementing regulations.

 

“People with disabilities who visit, work, or live in Philadelphia have the right to expect that all public accommodations in the city are accessible according to law,” said Memeger.  “The Americans with Disabilities Act is an important civil rights law, and restaurant owners must comply with its accessibility provisions.  We will take all reasonable steps within our power to ensure that any restaurants that fall short of compliance make the necessary changes, rather than face litigation.”

Updated February 4, 2016