Cruise ships off-shore. Photo from Pixabay.
Cruise ships off-shore. Photo from Pixabay.

The Justice Department Tuesday reached a settlement with Atlantis Events Inc., a cruise and resort vacation company with offices in West Hollywood, to ensure that customers who are deaf or hard of hearing are provided effective communication when traveling with the company.

The settlement agreement resolves complaints under the Americans with Disabilities Act in which individuals who are deaf alleged that Atlantis failed to provide them with effective communication on a cruise. Atlantis — which buys and resells cabins on cruise ships and rooms at resorts — cooperated with the Justice Department throughout the investigation, federal prosecutors said.

A message requesting comment left with an Atlantis representative was not immediately answered.

Under the agreement, Atlantis will ensure that interpreters, transcription services, written exchanges, assistive listening devices, captioning, or other auxiliary aids and services are provided to individuals with hearing disabilities free of charge when necessary for effective communication. The company also agreed to designate an ADA liaison on every cruise to respond to disability-related requests from passengers.

In addition, Atlantis will pay a civil penalty of $10,000 to the U.S. government and $9,000 in damages to the complainants, according to the settlement.

“The ADA guarantees people with disabilities equal access to public accommodations, including communications access,” said acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “People with disabilities who are deaf or hard of hearing must be given the opportunity to fully participate on cruises and at resorts, and enjoy the services and activities a vacation company offers.”

U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna said that those with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, have a right under federal law “to the equal enjoyment of the services that travel companies provide to the public.”

“Atlantis is to be complimented for acknowledging its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and agreeing to implement policies and practices to ensure equal access and effective communication,” Hanna said.

–City News Service

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