THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE WOLD DRIVING SCHOOL
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 202-86-9
In the interests of securing compliance by voluntary means, the parties hereby agree as follows:
1. The parties to this Settlement Agreement are the United States of America ("United States") and the Wold Driving School.
2. This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189 (the ADA), with the United States Department of Justice against Wold Driving School, Inc., located in Wausau, Wisconsin.
3. The complainant, Ms. Evelyn Olson, alleges that the Wold Driving School violated Title III on March 4, 1997, by denying the request of her son, Justin, who is deaf and uses American Sign Language as his first language, to be provided with an interpreter during a driver's training course. Ms. Olson states that the school told her it would be an undue financial hardship to provide an interpreter but that the course videos, textbooks, worksheets, and written tests would provide satisfactory instruction for persons with hearing impairments; however, she contends that the school was unwilling to provide a financial statement to support their claim.
4. The Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice has investigated the complaint under Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12188 ("the ADA" or "the Act").
5. Wold Driving School is a private school that provides educational services to the public and, as such, is a public accommodation within the meaning of Title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12181, and 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.
6. Title III of the ADA requires places of public accommodation to ensure that their communications with individuals with disabilities are as effective as their communications with others. To do so, a public accommodation must provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services when necessary to ensure effective communication. 28 C.F.R. º 36.303.
7. Wold Driving School denies that it violated the ADA; however, Wold Driving School agrees to adopt the following non-discrimination policy as of the effective date of the Settlement Agreement:
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Wold Driving School will not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their disabilities. As required by the ADA, Wold Driving School will provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services at no cost to individuals with disabilities, including qualified sign language interpreters, to ensure that communications with individuals with disabilities are as effective as communications with others, unless providing such auxiliary aids or services would fundamentally alter the nature of the program or result in an undue burden. Please contact Cecil Wold at the School regarding questions or to request an auxiliary aide or service.
Copies of the policy adopted pursuant to this paragraph will be prominently posted at the Wold Driving School administrative/registration desk and will be provided to any person upon request.
8. Wold Driving School further agrees to incorporate the following statement into all print materials used by Wold Driving School to advertise its services:
In compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), Wold Driving School will not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their disability and will provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services unless providing such auxiliary aids or services would fundamentally alter the program provided or result in an undue burden.
This statement will be inserted into the advertising materials used by Wold Driving School for the spring, 1999 Driving School programs.
9. Wold Driving School agrees to meet with all instructional staff of the Driving School in January, 1999 with its legal counsel to train staff on the requirements and obligations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the specific requirements of this Agreement. Wold will provide follow up materials and training to the instructors regarding the requirements and obligations under the Americans With Disabilities Act on an annual basis.
10. On or before March 31, 1999, Wold Driving School will pay damages in the amount of $750.00 to Justin Olson. Payment shall be made in the form of a certified check made payable to Evelyn Olson, and mailed by first-class certified mail to: 1105 Kickbush Street, Wausau, Wisconsin 54403.
11. On or before March 31, 1999, Wold Driving School will submit a letter to the United States certifying that it has taken the steps required above to comply with this Agreement and a copy of a release from Ms. Olson confirming receipt of the payment. The letter shall provide: 1) a written statement certifying the non-discrimination policy in paragraph 7 is the official policy of Wold Driving School; 2) that the steps identified in paragraph 8 and 9 have been met; and 3)a copy of the check issued to Evelyn Olson and signed release as required by paragraph 10.
12. The Americans with Disabilities Act authorizes the Department of Justice to investigate alleged violations of Title III. 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1). The Department of Justice is also authorized to commence a civil action in United States District Court if the Department of Justice is unable to secure voluntary compliance in any case that involves a pattern or practice of discrimination or that raises issues of general public importance, and to seek injunctive relief, monetary damages, and civil penalties. 42 U.S.C. §§ 12188(a)(2) and 12188(b). In consideration of the terms of this Agreement as set forth herein, the Department of Justice agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing a civil suit in this matter.
13. The Department of Justice may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department of Justice believes that this Agreement or any requirement thereof has been violated, it may institute a civil action in federal district court, seeking specific performance of this Agreement or enforcement of the requirements of Title III of the ADA, following written notice to Wold Driving School of the possible violation and a period of ten (10) days in which Wold Driving School has the opportunity to cure the alleged violation. The Attorney General is authorized to seek civil penalties and monetary damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. º 12188(b)(2)(C).
14. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it may be made available to any person. Wold Driving School shall provide a copy of this Agreement to any person on request.
15. Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with respect to any deadline or any other provision herein will not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
16. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
17. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, will be enforceable under its provisions.
18. This Agreement is limited to the facts set forth herein and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect Wold Driving School's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of Title III of the ADA.
19. The signer of this document for the Wold Driving School represents that he or she is authorized to bind the Wold Driving School to this Agreement.
For the United States:
BILL LANN LEE,
Acting Assistant Attorney
General for Civil Rights
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
RENEE WOHLENHAUS, Deputy Chief
ROBERT J. MATHER, Attorney
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
For Wold Driving School:
February 7, 2001