John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will issue a Letter of Resolution to Hacienda Don Manuel Restaurant in Brookfield to resolve allegations that the restaurant was not operating in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”).
The Letter of Resolution will resolve an ADA complaint filed by an individual with mobility disabilities alleging that Hacienda Don Manuel’s bar counter was not accessible to individuals in wheelchairs and that Hacienda Don Manuel would not provide “Happy Hour” services to individuals in wheelchairs sitting at tables in the restaurant.
In order for the U.S. Attorney’s Office to issue the Letter of Resolution, Hacienda Don Manuel will design and construct a fully accessible bar counter with a low section for individuals who use wheelchairs. Additionally, Hacienda Don Manuel will institute a written policy regarding the provision of Happy Hour specials to individuals with disabilities who may need to sit at tables within the restaurant. Finally, Hacienda Don Manuel will train managers, bartenders and staff on the new policy and on the provision of services to individuals with disabilities. Hacienda Don Manuel will perform these obligations within six months.
Under federal law, private entities that own or operate places of “public accommodation,” including restaurants, are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of disability. The ADA authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate complaints and undertake periodic reviews of compliance of covered entities. The Justice Department is also authorized to commence a civil lawsuit in federal court in any case that involves a pattern or practice of discrimination or that raises issues of general public importance, and to seek injunctive relief, monetary damages and civil penalties.
U.S. Attorney Durham noted the commitment of the owner of Hacienda Don Manuel to work collaboratively with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to address the ADA issues and to increase the restaurant’s accessibility without litigation. “We appreciate that Hacienda Don Manuel’s ownership and management cooperated during our investigation and we commend their prompt action to ensure the restaurant’s compliance with the ADA,” said U.S. Attorney Durham
Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that any place of public accommodation or public entity in Connecticut is not accessible to persons with disabilities may contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 203-821-3700.
Additional information about the ADA can be found at www.ada.gov, or by calling the Justice Department’s toll-free information line at (800) 514-0301 and (800) 514-0383 (TTY). More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt.
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica H. Soufer of the District of Connecticut in coordination with the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.