A Clifton taxi company has been ordered to pay $42,000 for refusing to provide a cab to a deaf woman during a blizzard. According to prosecutors, Nicole Perkins of Queens contacted the company three times on Jan 21, 2014, only to be hung up on. On the third attempt, a Clifton Taxi operator told the relay operator to, “Please stop calling.”
Federal law requires all telecommunications providers to offer relay services, allowing individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have a speech disability to communicate in real time by telephone. Perkins had used a telecommunications relay service that allowed her to initiate the call via text message from her cell phone. She called the company’s advertised phone number while she waited for a bus that was delayed due to heavy snowfall. A State of Emergency was ultimately declared that evening as a result of the extreme weather.
Superior Court Judge Thomas J. LaConte ruled the company had violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) Act, which prohibits denying service on the basis of disability or failing to provide a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability. He ordered Clifton Taxi to pay the woman $6,000 for emotional distress. The company was also required to pay $20,000 in fines and $16,000 in attorney fees.
Violations of anti-discrimination laws are civil offenses. If you or a loved one has been cited for a criminal offense in New Jersey, contact an attorney for help. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled criminal defense attorneys with experience helping people in many different situations. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-979-7551 today for a free consultation about your case.