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U.S. Department Of Justice And California Child Care Facility Reaches Settlement For Failure To Accommodate Child With Diabetes
The U.S. Department of Justice entered into a settlement with Community First School Corp. (CFS), a California company that provides early education, childcare, and before- and after- school care, to resolve a complaint that CFS failed to accommodate a child with diabetes. According to the settlement agreement, a child attending CFS was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. After the child’s diagnosis, she required a continuous glucose monitor that provided electronic blood glucose readings on an iPhone application. The child’s parents provided CFS with an iPhone and a small remote transmitter and requested that CFS keep both devices within twenty feet of their child at all times so that her continuous glucose monitor could transmit readings of the child’s blood glucose levels to the provided iPhone and the parents’ iPhones. The child could have worn a belt with the small remote transmitter, which she did at another childcare facility. If an alarm rang on the iPhone indicating that the child’s blood sugar was low, the parents requested that CFS give the child juice. CFS declined to provide the requested accommodations so the parents had to remove their child from the facility.
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title III) prohibits places of public accommodation, such as schools, colleges, universities, and childcare facilities, from discriminating against or excluding individuals based on disability in the full and equal enjoyment of their goods and services. Under Title III, a public accommodation must make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures where such modifications are necessary to afford such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that making the reasonable modification is a fundamental alteration to the nature of such goods and services.
The Department of Justice determined that CFS discriminated against the parents and their daughter in violation of Title III by failing to make reasonable modifications that were necessary for the parents and their daughter to participate in and benefit from CFS services, which forced the parents to remove their daughter from CFS.
As a condition of the settlement, CFS is required to make reasonable modifications for individuals with disabilities in the future and to adopt and implement written policies on nondiscrimination, the reasonable modification process, diabetes management consistent with the National Diabetes Education Program’s Sample Diabetes Medical Management Plan, and information for parents or guardians of children with disabilities on how to request reasonable modifications. CFS must also provide live training to all employees on the nondiscrimination requirements of Title III, which includes training on diabetes management, considering requests for reasonable modifications, and providing reasonable modifications to enrolled children. CFS must also pay $15,000 to the parents and $2,500 to the United States Treasury.
While this settlement is only binding on CFS, it provides a valuable reminder of the obligations imposed by Title III on places of public accommodation, such as schools, colleges, universities, and childcare facilities, to provide reasonable modifications to permit individuals with disabilities to participate in their services.