If you produce or operate a venue that houses Movies, concerts, or performing arts works, like theatre, comedy or spoken word performances, you may not be aware of the scope of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that you make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.
Sure, we've all made entryways wider, installed ramps, and configured seating to allow for patrons in wheelchairs. But what about those patrons with less obvious disabilities, such as deafness and blindness?
Growing threat of lawsuits
Recently, a number of Disability Rights Advocates announced that they and their “public interest” attorneys would soon be turning their attention to “the theater industry”. Their concern? Closed Captioning for hearing impaired patrons.
Last November, a disability rights group filed a class action against Cinemark theatres over this issue. They claim that, “Over two-thirds (2/3) of Americans attend movies each year. Yet without some form of captioning, countless seniors and those with hearing loss, cannot enjoy at trip to the movies because they are unable to hear or understand the dialogue.” Their suit contends that by not providing Closed Captions, Cinemark’s they are engaged in discriminatory practices that violate the Unruh Civil Rights Act (California Civil Code sections 51 and 52), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, the Disabled Persons Act (California Civil Code section 54.3), and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Continue Reading