Steve Heronemus

Administration: For the ADA, Speak Softly and Carry a Tickle Feather

The Department of Justice has settled a lawsuit against Atlantis Events, Inc. for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Atlantis Events packages and sells cruise vacations to many of the world’s most desirable destinations. It also has a history of overt and public discrimination, going so far as advertising on their website which type of people they wouldn’t accommodate.
To my mind, publicising that they would not provide American Sign Language interpreters means that Atlantis Events knew of their responsibility to accommodate people with hearing impairments but willfully chose to not heed it. This policy also implies they had run into a request for ASL interpreters before, because what group of executives would sit around a table and just pull such a specific service out of the blue to exclude? “OK folks, so let’s circle paddleboarding and snorkeling to include, but cross out those dang ASL interpreters.”, said no marketing team ever.
Three people filed suit against Atlantis Events under the ADA, and the Dept. of Justice punished the company by setting a fine.
For $10,000.
No, that is not a typo. No, that is not accounting shorthand for $10 million. No, that is not a deterrent against future discrimination by Atlantis Events or anyone else. No, that is not acceptable.
This settlement makes it clear that it is cheaper to discriminate than to abide by the law. This follows a December where the DOJ said it is just fine to wage discriminate against people with disabilities and a January where the House of Representatives voted to protect the interests of business above the rights of individuals experiencing disability.
This is a clear pattern in the current administration that, when it comes to human rights, it will speak softly and carry a tickle feather. This is a clear pattern of protecting business interests over the sick, elderly and disabled.