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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 13, 2015

Seaport and Fort Point the Focus of U.S. Attorney Review of Disability Access

BOSTON – The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced today that it has launched a review of restaurants in Boston to determine whether they are being operated in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has selected for review restaurants in Boston’s Seaport and Fort Point neighborhoods.  With the ongoing construction and development in this area of the city, the review is intended to ensure that these neighborhoods are accessible to the increasing numbers of residents and tourists who will be visiting.

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and reminds us that all individuals with disabilities deserve to have full access to public places,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.  “We look forward to partnering with restaurants to make sure that they are accessible to every resident and visitor to our City.”

Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by the owners and operators of places of public accommodation, which includes restaurants.  The ADA authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice to undertake periodic reviews of covered establishments.  This initiative is being conducted in accordance with the Department of Justice’s statutory responsibility to review compliance with federal law and not in response to any specific complaint against any of the restaurants.

To facilitate its compliance review, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has been conducting site visits of the restaurants to assess accessibility and to evaluate compliance with federal ADA regulations.  If the site visits reveal that a particular restaurant is not in compliance with the law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office intends to notify the owners and operators to secure voluntary compliance.  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 raises issues of general public importance.

In 2010, to coordinate the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in enforcing federal civil rights laws, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz formed the Civil Rights Enforcement Team (CRET), which is composed of Assistant U.S. Attorneys and professional staff from the criminal and civil divisions of the office.  The primary goals of the CRET are to uphold the constitutional rights of all residents, particularly the most vulnerable members of society and to enforce federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status, and national origin.

Additional information about the ADA is available at www.ADA.gov or through contacting the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (617) 748-3100.

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Updated July 13, 2015