Statement From A.G. Schneiderman On The 24th Anniversary Of The Americans With Disabilities Act

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued the following statement in honor of the 24th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act: 

“Twenty-four years ago today, President George H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act, which for the first time established wide-ranging civil rights protections for people with disabilities. It was a historic step toward fulfilling our national commitment to equal justice under law for all. The ADA has since proven to be a powerful tool for defending  the rights of people with disabilities, and its protections remain essential today. Too often, New Yorkers with disabilities encounter barriers to access at housing complexes, retail stores, hospitals and clinics, office buildings, theaters and stadiums, schools, universities, and at the ballot box. The ADA has proven crucial to dismantling these barriers, thereby protecting each person’s right to lead a full and independent life.  

“My office is deeply committed to fulfilling the ADA’s promise of one set of rules for everyone, regardless of ability, by dismantling barriers to access for individuals with disabilities across the state. We recognize that 24 years after enactment of the ADA, we still have important work to do to remedy ongoing discrimination against individuals with disabilities. My office will continue to vigorously enforce the ADA against businesses, landlords and other entities that fall short in eliminating barriers to accessibility. We will continue to be a resource for the advocates, affected individuals, and families who are seeking the equality of access and opportunity promised by the ADA.” 

The office’s ADA enforcement work is coordinated through the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau, which is focused on comprehensive enforcement of the ADA. Recently, the Bureau announced agreements with Vornado Realty and Kimco Realty, two large landowners that operate shopping centers across the state. The agreements called for both landowners to address accessibility issues in the parking facilities and common areas of those shopping centers. Besides upgrading those facilities, Kimco will encourage its largest tenants to take steps to address accessibility issues inside their stores. Further information about these agreements is available here and here

The bureau also reached agreements with several theaters across New York City to address hearing accessibility and ticket sales access. Responding to complaints from advocacy groups, the office investigated the availability of assisted listening devices at several theaters in New York City. After finding that three theaters did not provide the appropriate auxiliary aids, the office secured agreements with those theaters to ensure that such aids will be available to patrons. In addition, the bureau has been working to ensure that theaters provide equal access to ticket sales for individuals with disabilities. Further information is available here and here.              

In addition to these recent agreements, the bureau continues to enforce the ADA against businesses that fail to accommodate service animals of individuals with disabilities. The bureau has also taken action against transportation service providers that do not provide access to vehicles, such as buses and taxi providers, in accordance with ADA regulations, and against municipalities that fail to ensure access to polling sites on Election Day. Information on some of these cases are available here, here and here

The bureau’s ADA enforcement work is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Dariely Rodriguez, Ajay Saini, Mayur Saxena, Anjana Samant, and Sandra Pullman, and Civil Rights Bureau Chief Kristen Clarke. The Executive Deputy Attorney General for the Social Justice Division is Alvin Bragg. 

Attorney General Schneiderman is committed to protecting the disability rights of all New Yorkers. If you believe that you have experienced disability discrimination, contact the Civil Rights Bureau of the Attorney General’s Office at (212) 416-8250, civil.rights@ag.ny.gov or visit www.ag.ny.gov.

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