A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
U.S. Attorney’s Office to Review City and Suburban Restaurants for Compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act
CHICAGO — The United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago has launched a review of restaurants in the city and suburbs to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, authorities announced today.
The purpose of the review is to ensure that the restaurants are accessible to persons with disabilities. The initiative is undertaken in accordance with the congressionally-mandated responsibility to review compliance with the ADA.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office hopes to work cooperatively with restaurant owners who are found to be non-compliant.
“The Americans with Disabilities Act is an important civil rights law,” said Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. “Restaurant owners must conform to its accessibility provisions, and we will pursue all reasonable measures to ensure compliance.”
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the passage of the ADA. The Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation, including restaurants, and requires such places to be “designed, constructed, and altered in compliance with the accessibility standards” established by the ADA’s implementing regulations.
As part of the program, an initial selection of restaurant owners in Chicago and the suburbs will be asked to complete a survey pertaining to their restaurant’s accessibility. Federal investigators may then conduct on-site inspections of the facilities to confirm survey responses and to evaluate compliance with ADA regulations. The initial round of surveys is being sent to the restaurants today.
Non-compliant owners and operators will initially have the option to voluntarily agree to upgrade their facilities to meet ADA requirements. However, owners and operators found to be engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination – and those who fail to enter voluntary compliance agreements – may face a civil lawsuit and be subject to monetary penalties and civil fines.
Additional information about the ADA can be found atwww.ada.gov, or by calling the toll-free information line at the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or(800) 514-0383 (TTY).