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Amtrak pays $2 million discrimination settlement

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2022 | Civil Litigation

Amtrak paid a $2 million settlement to over 1,500 people with disabilities. The settlement resulted from allegations that the company illegally discriminated against people with disabilities by not making all of its stations accessible.

This settlement reinforces the importance of businesses complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Case against Amtrak

The Justice Department sued Amtrak because of continued violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The company neglected to make all of its intercity rail transportation system stations accessible to wheelchair users and other people with disabilities. Violations included inaccessible entrances, elevators, bathrooms and platforms.

The Department of Justice began its investigation of Amtrak in 2011 after receiving complaints from passengers and the National Disability Rights Network. The company sparked protests in 2020 when it attempted to charge two riders using power wheelchairs $25,000 for a train ticket that usually costs $16. The Justice Department alleged that Amtrak intentionally avoided complying with the requirements of the ADA and would continue to do so without intervention from the court.

Settlement

In addition to the $2 million paid to the people who Amtrak discriminated against, the company agreed to design a minimum of 135 accessible stations over the next nine years. It must also train employees on the ADA’s requirements and put a new system for evaluating ADA complaints in place.

The ADA is a civil rights law that makes discrimination against people with disabilities by entities that serve the public illegal. It requires most companies to make reasonable accommodations to ensure that people with disabilities have the same access as everyone else.

Phillip A. Geigle

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