lawsuit - Archive

Employer sued over laborer’s alleged hearing loss

March 20, 2015 in Disability Law, Employment

 

 

The Louisiana Record
Louisiana’s Legal Journal

By KYLE BARNETT

GRETNA – A man is suing his employer for allegedly contributing to his hearing loss by not poprely protecting him from a loud work environment.

Martel Brigand filed suit against Hydril Company and Travelers Property and Casualty Company of America in the 24th Judicial District Court on Jan. 24.

Brigand alleges that he began working for Hydril Company at 201 Klein Street in Westwego on Oct. 17, 2011. The plaintiff contends throughout his employment he was exposed to loud noises at his job site and was never provided with safety equipment or informed by his employer that the loud noises could damage his hearing. Brigand asserts that in 2013 and 2014 he began experiencing diminished hearing and instances of total hearing loss. The plaintiff claims that after he began experiencing hearing problems he filed a workers’ compensation claim against Hydril Company that they refuted and said were not eligible for compensation.

Read  . . . original filling – Lawsuit 

 

 

Netflix Charged With Discriminating Against the Deaf

October 17, 2011 in Technology

NVRC Note: This lawsuit is discussed at http://www.hackingnetflix.com/2011/10/netflix-other-companies-face-yet-another-lawsuit-over-captions.html

Some of the comments are very harsh.PRLog (Press Release) – Oct 4, 2011 – Netflix and four other high tech corporations have been charged with violating human rights in a formal legal complaint which alleges that willfully refusing to provide closed captioning on most of the programs it transmits over the Internet constitutes illegal discrimination against the handicapped by denying the deaf “full and equal enjoyment” of its goods and/or services in violation of the D.C. Human Rights Act, the toughest anti-discrimination law in the U.S.

If convicted, Netflix would have to add closed captioning to virtually all of the movies, TV shows, and the other programming it provides over the Internet to customers; a tremendous benefit not only to the deaf, but also to the much larger number of customers who are older or otherwise simply hard of hearing, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who has filed more than 100 successful complaints against discrimination based upon race, sex, country of origin, and disability.

Netflix — and Apple, Panasonic, Tivo, and Toshiba, which have been charged with “aiding and abetting” for providing and modifying their devices to facilitate Netflix’s Internet transmissions — could also face penalties for every day and to every person who has been subjected to this discrimination, as well being forced to pay attorney fees.

The complaint recites that Netflix has assured deaf organizations, as well as deaf individuals who have complained about the discrimination, that there is no technical reason why the closed captioning information — which is allegedly already available in most of the source material Netflix uses to transmit the programming, including even in the DVDs which it provides to customers — cannot be transmitted over the Internet, and Netflix has repeatedly promised to do so.

Netflix’s “willfully, maliciously, and unfairly refusing to provide closed captioning services for the programming it transmits to customers through the Internet,” and its continued refusal to meet the legitimate needs of their deaf, hearing impaired, and hard of hearing customers, is the basis of this legal action, says Banzhaf, who helped establish the National Center for Law and the Deaf, require the open captioning of information in emergency messages broadcast by TV stations, get deaf students admitted to law schools, and caused Congress to invite the first deaf person to testify on deaf-related issues before a congressional committee.

Many courts have held that even providing the same services to everyone may nevertheless illegally discriminate against one group as compared with another if that service has the effect or consequence of adversely affecting one group. For example, a university which provides uniforms and equipment to its university athletes, but doesn’t provide protective cups and/or jock straps, obviously has the effect or consequence of discriminating against the male athletes, even though the female athletes are likewise denied these same items.

Two U.S. Court of Appeals decisions make this point very clearly. In the first, the Sixth Circuit court held that even providing identical restroom facilities to males and females may constitute illegal sex discrimination against women because their needs are very different. In that case the facilities were filthy, which presented a far more serious health problem to women since men don’t have to sit to urinate. The court held “anatomical differences between men and women are ‘immutable characteristics,’ just as race, color and national origin are” – and, of course, as deafness is.

Similarly, in another case, where both male and female workers were equally required to urinate outdoors in the open, the court held that the requirement constituted “sexual harassment” of female employees because the same act of urination was both more difficult and more embarrassing for women than for men

This legal proceeding against Netflix is also similar to two other discrimination complaints brought against eHarmony, a match-making Internet website.  Both charged that although the company provided the same service to everyone — help in finding a person of the opposite sex who might be compatible — it nevertheless discriminated on the basis of the prohibited basis of sexual orientation since the service was virtually useless to homosexuals — just as a movie-via-Internet service without captions is virtually useless to the deaf.

eHarmony was ordered to pay $55,000 in one case, and to settle for $2 million in the other.

Ironically, deaf people may sign up to receive DVDs in the mail from Netflix containing many of the same programs they can also receive over the Internet, and which have closed captions which they can turn on so that they can understand and fully enjoy the programming.  However, they cannot get this same closed captioning if they obtain their programming from Netflix over the Internet.

As a result, the deaf are denied the full and equal enjoyment of the Netflix Internet service since, with the DVD delivery-by-mail service:
■ they have to order the programming days in advance and cannot be spontaneous, entertain visitors with different tastes who suddenly drop in, etc.;
■  they must wait several days before they can watch the programming they desire;
■  they are limited — by the number of DVDs they can have out at any one time — in terms of how many programs they can watch in a given time span;
■  they must put up with the inconvenience of opening and repacking the mailing envelopes, finding and then putting them back into a mailbox, etc.

Banzhaf, who has been a leader in using legal action as a weapon against the problems of the deaf, just as he has also done with the problems of smoking, obesity, and sex discrimination, says that finally the silent minority may be heard, and be able to enjoy — even if they cannot hear — the movies and TV programs everyone else takes for granted.

JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
Creator, Banzhaf Index of Voting Power
2000 H Street, NW, Suite S402
Washington, DC 20052, USA
(202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418
http://banzhaf.net/

 

NAD Sues BB&T Bank for Denying Relay Calls

July 1, 2011 in Advocacy & Access

 Thursday, 6/30/2011 

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Vargas & Stein, LLP and Raymond Marshall of Chason, Rosner, Leary & Marshall filed a lawsuit against BB&T Bank in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of the Virginia Association of the Deaf, Inc. (VAD) and a deaf Virginia resident, Melanie Williams. The lawsuit alleges that BB&T’s policy of refusing relay calls is a violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The lawsuit asks the court to order BB&T to adopt a policy where all incoming relay calls from people who are deaf or hard of hearing must be accepted in same extent that they accept telephone calls from hearing customers.

The VAD has a number of members who are customers of BB&T. Along with Ms. Williams, they are unable to access BB&T’s customer service via telephone because BB&T customer service representatives refuse to accept relay services.

 

More at: http://www.nad.org/news/2011/6/nad-sues-bbt-bank-denying-relay-calls

NAD Files Lawsuit to Make “Family-Friendly” Resort Accessible

July 1, 2011 in Advocacy & Access

NAD Files Lawsuit to Make “Family-Friendly” Resort Accessible  Friday 7/01/2011

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Vargas & Stein, LLP and Chason, Rosner, Leary & Marshall filed a lawsuit against Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Great Wolf Resorts, Inc, a national chain of indoor water parks, offers different forms of entertainment including a popular attraction, “MagiQuest”, which is described on its website as a “live-action adventure game in which a player goes up to a station and waves an electronic wand in order to trigger an auditory-based clue to locate the next station.”

When Plaintiff K.M., a deaf child, visited a Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia, she was not able to participate in the interactive game with her hearing siblings. Similarly, co-Plaintiff Suzanne Rosen Singleton, a deaf mother, was barred from providing support to her hearing children in figuring out the clues. Great Wolf Lodge also features storytelling puppet shows that rely heavily on audio.
More at: http://www.nad.org/news/2011/7/nad-files-lawsuit-make-%E2%80%9Cfamily-friendly%E2%80%9D-resort-accessible