TRENTON — Atrium Post Acute Care of New Jersey, which allegedly kept hanging up the phone on a deaf women using a relay service, has agreed to settle the charges, according to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.
The office of New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said a St. Joseph's Health Care System caseworker, who is deaf, tried to contact the facility in regard to a deaf patient.
“This case should serve as a message to health care facilities and other businesses around the state that we are serious about promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities,” Grewal said in a statement. “This was a troubling case because there simply is no excuse for a nursing home – of all places – to repeatedly refuse to accept a telephone call from an operator calling on behalf of a deaf person. We are committed to enforcing the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, our nation’s oldest and most comprehensive civil rights law, and we are committed to holding accountable those who violate it.”
“Recent technological advances have been life changing for deaf people and have had a huge impact on their ability to communicate with others,” added Division on Civil Rights director Rachel Wainer Apter. “But the technology only works if places of public accommodation, including hospitals and nursing homes, educate staff about their responsibilities. Hopefully, this case will help us get the word out.”
The settlement includes Atrium paying $2,500 to the caseworker and providing telecommunications relay services training for its employees.