U.S. Attorney’s Office Reaches ADA Settlement With Gymnastics Facility To Ensure That Children With Disabilities Receive Equal Access To Its Services
NEWARK, N.J. – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey has reached an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) settlement with a Bergen County, New Jersey-based gymnastics facility to ensure equal access for children with disabilities, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office determined that Paragon School of Artistic Gymnastics (Paragon) of Norwood, New Jersey, violated the ADA by refusing to make reasonable modifications to its program and then excluding children on the basis of disability. The matter stems from a complaint alleging that Paragon cancelled a child’s birthday party after learning that the birthday child and guests had disabilities.
According the to the complaint, Paragon required parents of any child with a disability that wanted to participate in a Paragon birthday party to provide an individual to “shadow” the child throughout the party, regardless of the child’s disability or individual needs.
Under Title III the ADA, places of public accommodation such as Paragon must make reasonable modifications to policies and practices to permit persons with disabilities to participate in its services. Places of public accommodation also cannot impose additional eligibility criteria or a surcharge on persons with a disability wishing to participate in its goods and services, and cannot deny access to good and services to people associated with someone with a disability.
Under the settlement agreement, Paragon has agreed to implement policies and procedures to ensure that children with disabilities are afforded full and equal opportunities to participate in and benefit from its programs and parties, to publish on its website a statement of its policy on the prohibition of disability discrimination, and to provide mandatory training on the ADA and its prohibition of disability discrimination to all Paragon employees. Paragon will also pay $3,000 in damages to the minor complainant and $2,000 to that complainant’s parents, as well as a $1,000 civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury.
Individuals who believe they may have been victims of discrimination may file a complaint with the U.S Attorney’s Office here. Additional information about the ADA can be found at ADA.gov, or by calling the Department of Justice’s toll-free information line at (800) 514-0301 and (800) 514-0383 (TDD).
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Kelly Horan Florio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Unit in Newark.