Civil Rights Enforcement Unit established in U.S. Attorney’s Office for Eastern District of Virginia

Virginia

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WAVY) — A U.S. attorney announced the establishment of a Civil Rights Enforcement Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The Civil Rights Enforcement Unit at EDVA will be the first at a U.S. Attorney’s Office nationwide to have multiple Assistant U.S. Attorneys 100 percent dedicated to enforcing the rights of persons with disabilities.

The new unit institutionalizes and expands EDVA’s existing Civil Rights Enforcement Program, which has already had great success in enforcing the rights of persons with disabilities. The unit will combine case-based advocacy with community outreach and training, and will seek to expand our work into assisting veterans with disabilities to ensure that those who fought for our country are not discriminated against based upon a disability

The establishment of EDVA’s Civil Rights Unit honors the 30th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. 

  • Ensuring Equal Access to Healthcare. EDVA has developed a leading practice under the Justice Department’s Barrier Free Healthcare Initiative, entering into multiple comprehensive settlement agreements with Lincare, Inc., Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, Fairfax Nursing Center, and Commonwealth Health and Rehabilitation Center, healthcare providers who failed to provide sign language interpreter services to patients and companions who are deaf, including for high-stakes communications regarding critical medical care.
  • Ensuring Equal Access to Polling Places. In connection with the Justice Department’s ADA Voting Initiative, EDVA entered into comprehensive settlement agreements with Fauquier County and the Chesapeake to ensure that people with mobility disabilities can physically access polling locations so as to not be denied their fundamental right to vote.
  • Ensuring Physical Access to Places of Public Accommodation. EDVA has successfully resolved multiple matters to ensure physical access to public places to those with mobility disabilities. One significant example is a settlement with the operator of the Crystal City Shops and Underground relating to a pedestrian concourse that is 11 blocks long and three blocks wide to ensure physical accessibility for people with disabilities. 

Highlights of EDVA’s Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative

  • Protecting Our Servicemembers from Unlawful Evictions and Damages Actions. EDVA obtained the largest ever settlement against a property management company for violating the SCRA.
  • Protecting Our Veterans’ Employment and Reemployment Rights: EDVA has investigated and resolved a matter in favor of an Army Reserve soldier whose civilian employment with Lawn Doctor of Stafford-Culpeper was terminated after the soldier’s absence due to active duty military service.  On behalf of the soldier, our office recovered the soldier’s lost income, as well as liquidated damages.

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