New York AG reaches agreements with three theaters

By Bryan Cohen | May 7, 2014

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric announced agreements on Tuesday with three New York City theaters to provide assistive listening devices to individuals with hearing loss.

Schneiderman's office received complaints from individuals and disability rights organizations that multiple off-Broadway theaters did not provide assistive listening devices needed to ensure that the hard of hearing have full access to theatrical performances. Schneiderman's Civil Rights Bureau found that the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Atlantic Theater Company and the School of Visual Arts Theatre failed to provide assistive listening devices or sufficient numbers of assistive listening devices as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

"New Yorkers, and tourists from across the country, come to New York City to enjoy unparalleled theatre performances," Schneiderman said. "They deserve equal treatment and equal access, as the law requires. These agreements help ensure that all of our theaters - from off-Broadway venues to the biggest theaters in Times Square - are complying with the law, and that theatergoers with hearing loss have full and equal enjoyment of the show."

The ADA requires that theaters make assistive listening systems with headsets and neck loops available to transmit sound to hearing aids and cochlear implants. The systems ensure individuals with hearing loss have full and equal enjoyment of the facilities.

Under the terms of the agreement, the theaters must purchase and make available assistive listening devices, including devices that are compatible with hearing aids. The theaters are required to publicize the availability of the devices and train employees on how to make the devices available for patrons.

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