U.S. attorney, East Brunswick day care facility settle on equal access for children with HIV and hepatitis

gavel, law books, court system, justice

EAST BRUNSWICK – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey has reached a settlement with a Middlesex County day care facility to ensure equal access for children with HIV or hepatitis, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Following an investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office found that Children’s Choice Academy (CCA) of East Brunswick violated the ADA by denying a child admission to its day care based on the parent’s disclosure that the child may have hepatitis or HIV, without making an individualized assessment that the child posed a direct threat to the health or safety of others that could not be mitigated by reasonable modifications of CCA’s policies, practices, or procedures, according to information provided by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

The ADA prohibits public accommodations, such as CCA, from discriminating against people with, or perceived to have, disabilities, including HIV or hepatitis, according to the statement. Public accommodations also cannot deny access to goods and services to people associated with someone with a disability.

“The ADA prohibits day care centers from denying services on the basis of disability or perceived disability,” Carpenito said in the statement. “Today’s settlement sends a clear message that denying access, or suggesting that a person should seek services elsewhere, is discrimination that this office will take action to address.”

Under the settlement agreement, CCA has agreed to implement policies and procedures to ensure that children with disabilities are afforded full and equal opportunities to participate in and benefit from its programs and services, to publish on its website a statement of its policy on the prohibition of disability discrimination, and to provide mandatory training on the ADA and its prohibition of disability discrimination to all CCA employees. CCA will also pay $5,000 in damages to the child and his parent.

For more information on the ADA and HIV discrimination, visit https://www.ada.gov/hiv/.

Individuals who believe they may have been victims of discrimination may file a complaint with the U.S Attorney’s Office at Civil Rights Enforcement. Additional information about the ADA can be found at https://www.ada.gov/, or by calling the Department of Justice’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).