From The Disability Law & Policy e-Newsletter 2/7/2013
On January 3, 2013, the Department of Justice's Office of Civil Rights announced a settlement with a Maryland-based debt collection law firm over allegations that the firm had discriminated against individuals who are deaf. Multiple complainants claimed that the firm refused to accept phone calls through video relay services, a type of technology that allows a person who is deaf to communicate with another party through the use of a video sign language interpreter. The complaint further alleges that firm employees hung up on one complainant and informed another that she had to call back at a specific time when a manager was present.
The settlement requires the firm to pay $30,000 to the complainants, to revise its policies and procedures to ensure that the office accepts video relay service calls and treats people with disabilities equally, and to train its employees on ADA obligations. In regard to the settlement, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez stated that people with disabilities cannot be denied services simply because they use alternative ways to communicate and that the Justice Department will not tolerate this type of discrimination.
Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Law Firm Over Discrimination Against Deaf Individuals, U.S. Department of Justice Press Release, Jan. 3, 2013, available at:
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