SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND
SRPN ENTERPRISES, INC.
d/b/a THE UPS STORE #1217
DJ# 202-14-222

The parties to this agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America and SRPN Enterprises, Inc., ("SRPN"), d/b/a The UPS Store #1217 in Riverside, Connecticut, (the "Riverside UPS Store"). The parties hereby agree as follows:

BACKGROUND

  1. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, a component of the United States Department of Justice (the “United States”), opened an investigation of the Riverside UPS Store located at 1117 East Putnam Avenue, Riverside, Connecticut, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189, as amended. 
  2. The United States initiated its investigation upon the receipt of a complaint from an individual with a disability who alleged that the Riverside UPS Store required her to remove her service animal from the store as a condition of service.  Specifically, the complainant alleges that she entered the Riverside UPS Store with her service animal, but the manager of the store told her that no dogs were permitted and that her dog could not remain in the store.  The complainant explained that the dog was a service animal, but the manager reiterated that no dogs were permitted in the store.  The complainant then left the store with her service animal. 
  3. The Riverside UPS Store admits that it did not permit the complainant to remain in the store with her service animal because at the time of the incident, the store manager did not believe the dog was a service animal.  The Riverside UPS Store manager admitted that his belief that the dog was not a service animal was based solely on his observation that the dog was not wearing a vest identifying the dog as a service animal and because the complainant did not present validating papers confirming the dog’s status as a service animal.
  4. The United States is authorized to investigate alleged violations of Title III of the ADA.  Moreover, the United States is authorized, where appropriate, to use alternative means of dispute resolution, including settlement negotiations, to resolve disputes.  If resolution is not achieved, the United States may bring a civil action in federal court in any case where the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that a pattern or practice of discrimination exists or where the case raises an issue of general public importance.  42 U.S.C. §§ 12188(b), 12212; 28 C.F.R. §§ 36.502, 36.503, 36.506. 
  5. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.  42 U.S.C. § 12182(a).  28 CFR § 36.201(a).
  6. The Riverside UPS Store, which is a sales or rental establishment or other service establishment, is a place of public accommodation covered by Title III of the ADA.  42 U.S.C §§ 12181(7)(E), (F); 28 C.F.R. §§ 36.104(5), (6).  As the owner and operator of the Riverside UPS Store, SRPN is a public accommodation covered by Title III of the ADA.  28 C.F.R. § 36.104.
  7. The ADA requires that, generally, public accommodations modify policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of service animals by persons with disabilities.  42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii); 28 C.F.R. § 36.302(a), (c).
  8. Title III permits only two inquiries by a public accommodation to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal.  The public accommodation may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform, except a public accommodation may not make such inquiries when it is readily apparent that an animal is a service animal trained to do work or perform tasks.  28 C.F.R. § 36.302(c)(7). 
  9. Title III prohibits a public accommodation from requiring that an individual with a disability who uses a service animal provide documentation, such as proof that a service animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal.  28 C.F.R. § 36.302(c)(7). 

REMEDIAL ACTION

General Nondiscrimination Requirement

  1. Consistent with the requirements of Title III of the ADA, the Riverside UPS Store will not discriminate against any individual on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of any of its goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.  Specifically, the Riverside UPS Store will modify policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of service animals by individuals with disabilities.

Service Animal Policy

  1. Within 14 days after the effective date of this Agreement, to ensure equal access for persons with disabilities who use service animals to the Riverside UPS Store, SRPN and the Riverside UPS Store will:
    1. adopt the Service Animal Policy (“Policy”) attached hereto and incorporated by reference herein as Attachment A to this Agreement;
    2. distribute the Policy to all employees and managers of the Riverside UPS Store who have contact with the public;
    3. provide a copy of the Policy to all newly hired Riverside UPS Store employees and managers as part of its standard onboarding process for all new hires;
    4. post a copy of this Policy in a conspicuous location where employees can readily read the Policy; and
    5. keep the Policy on hand for any store customers who wish to, upon request, read the Policy.
  2. Wherever required by paragraph 11 above to be posted, displayed or kept on hand, the Policy shall be printed in a dark bold font on a contrasting background in the largest font that fits on two 8.5" by 11" pieces of paper.  Physical copies of the posted Policy will be refreshed, as needed, for the life of this Agreement.  
  3. Within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SRPN will provide written confirmation to the United States of the issuance and communication to employees and the posting of the Policy at the Riverside UPS Store.
  4. For the life of this Agreement, on an annual basis, the Riverside UPS Store will redistribute the Policy to all store employees and managers who have contact with the public.  SRPN will provide the United States with written confirmation of the issuance of this communication to employees.

Training

  1. Within 60 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SRPN will ensure that all owners, managers and employees of The UPS Store Riverside receive training regarding the ADA requirements regarding individuals with disabilities who use service animals, including a review of the Department’s technical assistance document, Frequently Asked Questions About Service Animals and the ADA, available at: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html.  SRPN will notify the Department when the above training has been completed.
  2. SRPN shall provide such training as described above on an annual basis thereafter for the life of this Agreement.

Signage

  1. Within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Riverside UPS Store will post in a conspicuous location in the public entryway of the store a sign prominently indicating “Service Animals Welcome”.  The signage will have a non-glare finish and will be printed in a dark, bold font with a 5/8 inch minimum character height on a contrasting light background.  The sign shall be mounted at 40 inches minimum above the finish floor to the baseline of the character and will be refreshed, as needed, for the life of this Agreement.

Monetary Relief for Complainant

  1. SRPN agrees to pay $1,000 to compensate the Complainant.  Within 14 days of the effective date of this Agreement, SRPN will send, via overnight delivery, a check for the full amount made payable to this aggrieved person (whose name will be provided separately by the United States to SRPN), to the following address:

Jessica H. Soufer
Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney’s Office
157 Church Street, 25th Floor
New Haven, CT 06510

  1. The United States will obtain the Complainant’s signature on a release in the form attached hereto as Attachment B.  To accept the relief offered by SRPN, the Complainant must execute and return the release to the United States.

IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF AGREEMENT

  1. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the United States agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit for failure to comply with Title III of the ADA at the Riverside UPS Store; provided, however, that the United States reserves the right to file a civil lawsuit to enforce this Agreement.
  2. The United States does not assert that this Agreement or the remedial measures contemplated herein will bring the Riverside UPS Store into compliance with all aspects of the ADA, and nothing in this Agreement is intended to constitute an interpretation of the legal requirements of the ADA by the United States.  Rather, the parties enter into this Agreement for the purpose of compromising disputed claims and avoiding the risk and expenses of litigation.  This Agreement is a compromise and it shall not be used or introduced into evidence in any other case or proceeding other than between the parties to this Agreement.
  3. The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time, including but not limited to testing at the Riverside UPS store.  If the United States believes that SRPN has violated this Agreement or any requirement thereof, it agrees to notify in writing Mr. Rajat Gupta, SRPN Enterprises, Inc., c/o The UPS Store, 1117 E Putnam Avenue, Riverside, CT 06878 of the specific violation(s) alleged.  SRPN shall have 30 days from its receipt of the notice to cure and/or respond in writing to the United States the alleged violation(s).
  4. This Agreement is a public document.  A copy of this document or any information contained in it may be made available to any person.
  5. Failure by the United States to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with regard to any deadline or any other provision herein will not be construed as a waiver of the United States’ right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
  6. This Agreement shall be binding on SRPN and its agents, employees, contractors, successors, and assigns.
  7. This Agreement, including Attachments A and B, 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.  This Agreement resolves Department of Justice investigation DJ# 202-14-222 and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other federal law.  This Agreement does not affect SRPN’s and the Riverside UPS Store’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
  8. If any provision of this Agreement is determined by any court to be unenforceable, the other terms of this Agreement shall nonetheless remain in full force and effect, provided, however, that if the severance of any such provision materially alters the rights or obligations of the parties, the United States and SRPN shall engage in good faith negotiations in order to adopt such mutually agreeable amendments to this Agreement as may be necessary to restore the parties as closely as possible to the initially agreed-upon relative rights and obligations.
  9. The person signing this Agreement for SRPN represents that he or she is authorized to bind SRPN and the Riverside UPS Store to this Agreement.
  10. This Agreement will remain in effect for three (3) years.
  11. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature.

 

New Haven, Connecticut
May 24, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Riverside, Connecticut
May 23, 2018

FOR THE UNITED STATES:

JOHN H. DURHAM
United States Attorney for the
District of Connecticut

By: /s/ Jessica H. Soufer
JESSICA H. SOUFER
Assistant United States Attorney
157 Church Street, 25th Floor
New Haven, CT 06510

FOR SRPN ENTERPRISES, INC.
d/b/a THE UPS STORE #1217:

By:/s/ Rajat Gupta
RAJAT GUPTA
President