You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

United States Announces Settlement with YMCA of Metro Chicago to Ensure Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act

CHICAGO — The United States Attorney’s Office today announced a settlement with the YMCA of Metro Chicago to resolve a complaint of discrimination filed on behalf of a child with type 1 diabetes.

The settlement agreement requires the YMCA of Metro Chicago to administer the emergency medicine glucagon to program enrollees with diabetes who have requested it.  Glucagon is a potentially lifesaving treatment for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).  It is pre-measured and injectable and is intended to be administered to unconscious or unresponsive individuals by properly trained laypersons.

The settlement agreement also requires the YMCA of Metro Chicago to adopt and implement a comprehensive policy on diabetes management.

The settlement agreement was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office received a discrimination complaint on behalf of a nine-year-old girl with type 1 diabetes who participates on a YMCA swim team.  The girl has been prescribed glucagon injections for use in the rare event that she develops severe hypoglycemia and cannot self-administer diabetes treatment.  The YMCA of Metro Chicago initially refused to administer glucagon.  As a result, the girl could not participate on the YMCA swim team without being accompanied by a family member who could administer glucagon in an emergency.

An investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office concluded that the YMCA of Metro Chicago discriminated against the girl by denying her, on the basis of disability, the opportunity to participate in the program, and by failing to make reasonable modifications in its policies regarding the administration of medication.

The YMCA of Metro Chicago denied the allegations of discrimination and made no admission of liability in this matter.  Nevertheless, to ensure full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the YMCA of Metro Chicago agreed to implement a comprehensive training program and establish several other procedures to afford individuals with disabilities, including diabetes, an equal opportunity to participate in its services.

The settlement agreement became effective on Dec. 21, 2016.  Although the United States agreed not to presently institute a civil action alleging discrimination under the ADA, it may review the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s compliance with the settlement at any time during the two-year duration of the agreement.  If the government believes the agreement has been violated, it reserved the right to institute a civil action in the appropriate U.S. District Court to enforce the agreement.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Hancock.

Civil Rights
Updated January 4, 2017