Berkeley Commission on Disability Members File Lawsuit Against City of Berkeley for Disability Discrimination

Published: 2023-08-25
Author: Advocates for the rights of people with disabilities | Contact: dralegal.org
Peer Reviewed: N/A | Post Type: Announcement / Notification
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Synopsis: The City of Berkeley does not provide disability accommodations for members of the Commission on Disability to participate in the Commission. The City requires disabled Commission members to publicly post their addresses as teleconference locations and to open their homes to any member of the public who wishes to enter and attend the meeting from there, ostensibly to comply with state law, despite the dangers to them. and aggravations to your health that may result from doing so.

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main summary

Three disabled members of the Berkeley Commission on Disabilities (Rena Fischer, Kathi Pugh and Helen Walsh) have filed a lawsuit against the City of Berkeley for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not allowing them to attend Commission meetings remotely. as an adaptation unless subjected to onerous, dangerous, and invasive requirements. Read the complaint here.

Instead of granting federally required disability accommodations for members who require remote assistance, the City requires disabled Commission members to publicly post their addresses as teleconference locations and open their homes to any member of the public who wishes to enter and attend the meeting from there, ostensibly to comply with state law, despite the dangers to themselves and the aggravations to their health that may result from doing so.

Plaintiff Rena Fischer said:

“When I had to participate remotely, from bed, in a meeting of the Commission on Disability, I was shocked that the City of Berkeley required me to open my one-bedroom apartment to the public, even when I can’t get out of bed for my account.”The policy is unsafe and puts me and other disabled commissioners at risk. While the ADA guarantees our right to fully participate in city programs, Berkeley, birthplace of the Disability Rights Movement, is putting obstacles in the way of people with disabilities. . Hello Berkeley, where is the ramp?

In addition to violating federal law, the defendant’s requirements are dangerous.

Plaintiff Walsh is immunocompromised and requiring her to allow the public into her home places her in the exact danger she seeks to avoid, exposing her to further unknown and unpredictable risk of infection.

Both the Fischer and Pugh plaintiffs must sometimes attend Commission meetings remotely from their beds; Requiring them to allow strangers into their homes, and potentially even into their bedrooms, during nightly Commission meetings is dangerous and intrusive and invades their privacy in a way that non-persons are not. Disabled people. This puts them in an unreasonably vulnerable position simply to serve their community and participate in the Commission.

Opening the homes of Commission members to the public can also be dangerous to the public, as private homes may not be safe or accessible to members of the public with disabilities in the same way that a public gathering place for the city.

Plaintiff Kathi Pugh said:

“It is a sad irony that the city of Berkeley, where the movement for full participation and independence began, is putting obstacles in the way of people with disabilities. The ridiculous and untenable position of the city denies us the right to full participation in city government. The City of Berkeley was repeatedly asked to change its position. Unfortunately, we are forced to file a lawsuit to secure our rights.”

Plaintiff Helen Walsh said:

“In all my time helping the City of Berkeley improve digital accessibility, I have been very disappointed in the way I have been treated. I saw early on how digital technology, like hybrid meetings, could create and would create more access. Accessibility allows for greater public participation and welcomes people with disabilities to serve the City of Berkeley as commissioners.”

Jinny Kim, Managing Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates, said:

“It is ironic that the City of Berkeley’s failure to change its policies is excluding disabled members from the Commission on Disabilities. The ADA requires the City of Berkeley to make reasonable changes to policies, practices or procedures to avoid discrimination based on disability. Many Other City meetings are hybrid or were previously remote, we already know that a commission member’s remote participation is compatible with their service on the commission.”

Advocates for the rights of people with disabilities

The plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Advocates, a national nonprofit legal organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of people with disabilities. Disability Rights Advocates is a national nonprofit legal center for the rights of people with disabilities. DRA’s mission is to advance the rights, inclusion, and equity of people with disabilities nationwide through high-impact litigation, education, and advocacy. DRA represents people with all types of disabilities in complex, system-changing class action cases. For more information visit https://dralegal.org

Attribution/Source(s):

This revised quality notice/announcement article related to our Disability Lawyers and Legal Rights section was selected for publication by the editors of Disabled World due to its likely interest to our readers in the disability community. Although the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length, the article “Members of the Berkeley Commission on Disability File Lawsuit Against the City of Berkeley for Disability Discrimination” was originally written by Disability Rights Advocates and posted by Disabled-World.com on August 25, 2023. If you need more information or clarification, you can contact Disability Rights Advocates at dralegal.org. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

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Berkeley Disability Commission Members File Lawsuit Against City of Berkeley for Disability Discrimination

Cite this page (APA):
Defenders of the rights of people with disabilities. (2023, August 25). Members of the Berkeley Commission on Disability file a lawsuit against the City of Berkeley for disability discrimination. disabled world. Retrieved August 26, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/legal/berkeley-lawsuit.php

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