You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 2, 2019

Exam Prep Company Agrees to Settle ADA Complaints

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A California company that offers on-line test preparation courses related to licensing examinations for professional purposes, including engineering, architectural, and designing, has agreed to pay a total of $50,000 and take remedial action to resolve complaints that it failed to provide captioning for its online exam preparation courses. 

The allegations involve an individual who lives in Northern Virginia, has multiple degrees, works as an engineer, and is deaf. The individual requested that Professional Publications, Inc., (PPI) located in Belmont, provide captioning for its online video course to prepare for the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam, the examination required to become a licensed Professional Engineer. The Principles and Practices Engineering examination is required by all 50 states, the District of Columbia and United States territories to become licensed as a Professional Engineer. During the course of the office’s investigation, it was discovered that PPI had allegedly previously failed to provide its courses in an accessible manner when requested by three other potential students who are deaf.

“The ADA works to ensure equality of opportunity and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This case demonstrates this office’s unwavering commitment to protecting the rights of those who are deaf or hard of hearing to equality of economic opportunity, including access to courses that prepare them for high stakes examinations, such as state licensing examinations.”

To resolve this complaint, PPI agreed to adopt policies that will make its courses accessible; designate an ADA Course Modification Coordinator, who will be responsible for ensuring PPI’s compliance with the ADA; make its online video courses accessible to individuals with disabilities by making it compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, including captioning videos for courses in which a student who is deaf is enrolled; and provide training for its personnel on the ADA’s requirements. PPI also agreed to pay $10,000 to each of the four aggrieved individuals, as well as a $10,000 civil penalty to the United States.

During the course of the investigation of this matter, Kaplan, Inc. acquired PPI in an unrelated transaction.

The matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Gordon, who is the Civil Rights Enforcement Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  The ADA claims settled by this agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.

The ADA prohibits discrimination by entities that offers examination or courses related to licensing or credentialing for professional or trade purposes.  Among other things, entities that offer such courses must offer them in a place and manner accessible to persons with disabilities, including providing appropriate auxiliary aids and services for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Department of Justice has a number of publications available to assist entities in complying with the ADA, including “ADA Requirements:  Effective Communication” and “ADA Requirements:  Testing Accommodations.”  For more information on the ADA and to access these publications, visit http://www.ada.gov or call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383.  ADA complaints may be filed by email to ada.complaint@usdoj.gov.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated May 2, 2019