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ADAIN Blog

by Richard Acree of ADA Inspections Nationwide, LLC

California Spa Group Sued by DOJ for ADA Discrimination Against Blind Patron

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SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND CJ SPA GROUP, INC.
UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

DJ No. 202-12C-609

A California Spa Group was sued by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for discrimination of the Americans with Disabilities Act against a blind patron.

The Complainant alleges that, in July 2017, he and his friend booked appointments for massages at CJ Spa Group, Inc., d/b/a Spa Palace (“Spa Palace”). The Spa Palace facility is located at 620 South Union Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90017.

When they arrived, a Spa Palace employee informed them that the Complainant could not enter the facility or receive a massage. When they asked why the Complainant could not enter, the employee informed them that “his kind,” referring to the Complainant, would not be able to follow instructions and the massage therapist could not care for him. They left Spa Palace without receiving services or entering the spa, sauna, or pool facilities. Approximately 45 minutes later, they received a call from another Spa Palace employee who stated that the Complainant could return and receive a massage. They did not return.

The DOJ has investigated the Complaint and has determined that the complainant’s allegations are credible and that Spa Palace imposes eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out individuals with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying its services, facilities, and accommodations. These eligibility criteria also exclude or otherwise deny equal services, facilities, and privileges to individuals because they associate with individuals with disabilities.

ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN BY SPA PALACE

As a result of the lawsuit and resultant Agreement, Spa Palace is required to take the following action:

  • Spa Palace shall not discriminate against any individual on the basis of disability, including individuals who are blind or who use wheelchairs.

  • Spa Palace agrees not to apply eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out individuals with disabilities.

  • Spa Palace shall not require that an individual with a disability be accompanied by an attendant.

  • Within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, Spa Palace will submit to the United States for its review and approval modifications to its policy so that it no longer references persons with disabilities, including the elderly, persons who require assistance, and persons who use wheelchairs.

  • Within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, Spa Palace shall adopt the ADA Non-Discrimination Policy and shall post its ADA Non-Discrimination Policy on its website and at its front desk where its employees and members of the public can readily read the policy.

  • Spa Palace further agrees to make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, and procedures when the modifications are necessary to afford goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities.

  • Within 60 days of the effective date of this Agreement, Spa Palace shall submit to the United States, for review and approval, materials for training on the general nondiscrimination requirements of Title III, which shall include training on the provisions of this Agreement, and Spa Palace’s ADA Non-Discrimination Policy, and disability sensitivity training.

  • Within 30 days after the United States approves the training, Spa Palace shall conduct training to all Spa Palace employees and independent contractors who interact with the public on the general nondiscrimination requirements of Title III, reasonable modifications, the provisions of this Agreement, and Spa Palace’s ADA Non-Discrimination Policy.

  • Spa Palace will create and maintain an attendance log that documents the name of each individual who attends the trainings required.

  • Every 12 months, for the duration of this Agreement, Spa Palace will provide the United States written reports describing the activities Spa Palace has taken to comply with this Agreement.

  • During the duration of this Agreement, Spa Palace will notify the United States if any individual brings any lawsuit, complaint, charge, or grievance alleging that Spa Palace engaged in disability-based discrimination or denied its services to any individual with a disability.

SUMMARY

The terms of this Agreement are significant in time and expense of the actions to be taken by Spa Palace. Entities that are unable or unwilling to comply with the ADA Standards are liable for damages from discrimination against the disabled. The monetary relief as a result of this Agreement requires Spa Palace to pay a total of $5,000 to Complainant and the United States, each. The duration of this Agreement will be three years from the effective date. For the complete Agreement please see CA Spa Group Sued by DOJ for ADA Discrimination.

If you observe a building or entity that is not ADA compliant and you would like to know how to proceed, please see the link at What To Do When A Building Is Not ADA Compliant or Accessible.

Thank you.