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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 6, 2015

U.S. Attorney’s Office Settles Americans With Disabilities Act Case With Linden, New Jersey-Based Electronics Store

NEWARK, N.J. – The U.S. Attorney’s Office today reached an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) settlement with a Linden-based electronics store to ensure equal access for individuals with disabilities at its retail store, on the internet, and through telephone orders, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

The announcement comes as the Department of Justice marks the 25th anniversary of the ADA. The Justice Department, including the nation’s U.S. Attorneys, plays a critical role in enforcing the ADA, ensuring equal opportunity and full participation for persons with disabilities.

The agreement resolves an ADA complaint filed by a deaf individual who alleged that Westpark Electronics LLC, d/b/a Abe’s of Maine, would not do business with her over the telephone using a telecommunications relay service. The U.S. Attorney’s Office determined that Abe’s of Maine refused to accept multiple relay calls from the complainant in violation of the ADA. Since the commencement of the investigation, Abe’s of Maine has worked cooperatively to develop and amend its policies and practices to comply with the ADA and the Department of Justice’s implementing regulations.

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by businesses that serve the public. The ADA requires sales establishments, such as Abe’s of Maine, to take steps to communicate effectively with customers who are disabled.  For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, the ADA requires business to provide auxiliary aids and services, such as the use of relay services, to ensure effective communication.

The agreement requires Abe’s of Maine to accept relay calls, amend its policies, and provide training to its staff to ensure that disabled individuals receive equal access to Abe’s of Maine’s goods and services. The agreement also requires Abe’s of Maine to post and distribute an announcement to its employees stating its willingness to accept relay calls. Abe’s of Maine has also paid 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 at http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/civil-rights-enforcement/complaint or call the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Civil Rights Complaint Hotline at (855) 281-3339.  Additional information about the ADA can be found at www.ada.gov, or by calling the Department of Justice’s toll-free information line at (800) 514-0301 and (800) 514-0383 (TDD).

This government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael E. Campion of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Division in Newark.

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
15-301
Updated February 4, 2016