Schneiderman, stores reach ADA agreement

Bryan Cohen May 23, 2012, 7:00am


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced agreements on Tuesday with three major retail chains to make sure that disabled consumers have equal access to the services, amenities and merchandises the companies provide.

Under the terms of the agreements, Petland Discounts, JCPenney and Century 21 will make major changes to ensure that their New York stores comply with design standards and accessibility requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The cases are part of Schneiderman's ongoing inquiry into the accessibility of retail establishments and other public accommodations for disabled individuals.

"Ensuring that people with disabilities are provided the same retail shopping experience that other customers enjoy helps make the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act a reality," Schneiderman said. "My office is committed to combating discrimination faced by people with disabilities, and to helping promote accessibility across our state. I commend Century 21, JCPenney, and Petland Discounts for agreeing to take the steps necessary to make their stores fully accessible for all New Yorkers."

Schneiderman's office alleged that the three chains were in violation of multiple state and federal accessibility laws that acted as barriers for people with disabilities.

Under the terms of the agreements, the retailers agreed to certify that all new construction complies with federal and state accessibility standards and laws, train employees on the requirements of the ADA and on protocols used to give disabled individuals equal access to accommodations, services and goods afforded to people without disabilities, and to conform all elements of each store that deviate from federal and state disability laws.

The retailers must also conduct a survey of every New York store to identify changes needed to achieve compliance with federal and state accessibility standards and retain an independent ADA compliance consultant approved by Schneiderman's office to help with the enforcement and implementation of the agreements.

Petland Discounts, JCPenney and Century 21 will also pay $120,000 to the state as part of the agreement.

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