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Monday, September 12, 2016

Justice Dept Settles with Humboldt County, Ca. to Resolve Americans With Disabilities Act Violations

The Justice Department filed a proposed consent decree today with Humboldt County, California, resolving claims that the county violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
from a Press Release from U.S. Department of Justice / Sept. 7, 2016
The consent decree, which is still subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, resolves the department’s complaint that the county’s facilities, programs, services and activities are inaccessible to individuals with disabilities in violation of the ADA, despite the county’s previous commitment to improve access by entering into a Project Civic Access (PCA) agreement with the United States.
“State and local governments must ensure that people with disabilities can access community services, programs and facilities without facing unlawful and discriminatory barriers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “ADA compliance is not optional and the Justice Department works tirelessly to make sure that people with disabilities can live their lives with the dignity, respect and independence they deserve.”
“This office is committed to ensuring equal access to programs, both public and private,” said U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch of the Northern District of California.  “The federal government will not tolerate discrimination that results when individuals are excluded from public access.”
The consent decree is a court-enforceable commitment by Humboldt County to bring its facilities, programs, services and activities into compliance with the ADA and make the county more accessible to individuals with disabilities.  Under the terms of the consent decree, the county will pay $275,000 to compensate individuals with disabilities who faced barriers to access while attempting to use county facilities and programs.  Under the decree, Humboldt County will also implement a wide range of actions to comply with the ADA, including the following:
  • bring all county facilities, programs, services and activities into compliance with the ADA within three and a half years;
  • ensure that the county website conforms to, at minimum, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA Success Criteria;
  • provide curb ramps at all county intersections;
  • ensure that emergency management procedures, policies and shelters are accessible to individuals with disabilities; and
  • hire an ADA coordinator, independent licensed architect, web accessibility coordinator and website accessibility consultant.
The United States has over 220 agreements with localities across the country under PCA, the department’s wide-ranging initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the nation comply with the ADA.  Humboldt County is one of the rare public entities that did not take the remedial actions required by a PCA agreement to comply with the ADA.
To read the consent decree and complaint, please visit www.ada.gov.  For more information about the ADA, call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or access the ADA website at www.ada.gov.

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