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via .ORGWorld News
By Marcus Aurelius
Theatre Must Provide Captioning For All Live Performances Says Federal Judge
May 1, 2018
Seyfarth Synopsis: A Missouri federal judge orders a theatre to provide, upon request, captioning services for the deaf for all theatrical performances.
A federal judge in Missouri recently ordered a 4500-seat indoor theatre to provide open or closed captioning for all theatrical performances upon request with two weeks’ notice, in a lawsuit brought by deaf patrons and advocacy organizations.
The Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri initially offered no captioning services of any kind for its theatre productions. After the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit, the theater agreed to provide captioning on a handheld device for one prescheduled Broadway-style performance per production (usually on a Saturday matinee), if it receives a request for captioning two weeks before the show. The theatre provided stands for the devices only at designated accessible seats because the fire marshal considered them to be a fire hazard. The plaintiffs maintained that captioning should be available for all shows, and that the theatre should provide stands for the handheld devices at all seats, not just accessible seats. They also sought an injunction requiring the theatre to (a) publicize the availability of captioning; (b) provide a means to request captioning; and (c) provide a method for people to purchase tickets by non-telephonic means, including e-mail.
The judge agreed with the plaintiffs on every issue but one. The judge held that providing captioning for only one show per Broadway-style production denied plaintiffs the equal opportunity to participate in the theatre’s performances because it limited their ability to choose from a number of different performances that were available to non-disabled patrons. The court also found that the theatre had failed to meet its obligation to provide auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication with the plaintiff. The theatre did not attempt to argue that providing captioning for all performances upon request would be an undue burden or fundamental alteration of its performances. Accordingly, the court ordered the theatre to provide captioning for all theatrical performances upon request with two weeks’ notice. The court also – with no discussion – ordered the theatre to publicize the availability of captioning, provide a means to request captioning, and provide a method of buying tickets through non-telephonic means, including e-mail. The court did not require the theatre to provide stands for the captioning devices at non-accessible seats, due to fire safety concerns.
The decision serves as a reminder that Title III of the ADA requires public accommodations to provide auxiliary aids and services to individuals with disabilities to ensure effective communication with them, unless doing so imposes an undue burden or fundamentally alters the nature of the goods and services provided. Organizers of events that are open to the public should keep this in mind and have a plan for ensuring effective communication for participants and spectators with different types of disabilities, as there have been a number of lawsuits filed in the past several years over the lack of captioning for live events.
Edited by Kristina Launey.
via TheWorldNewsOrgWorld News
The silence will speak volumes at a three-day convention in Brampton from July 29 to 31.
More than 600 deaf and deaf-blind from Canada are expected to take part in a series of religious talks conducted solely through American Sign Language (ASL).
The Bible-themed talks, drama and movies are being held at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses 2594 Bovaird Dr. W. near Bovaird and Heritage Rds.
At the event, there will be tactile services for the deaf and deaf-blind, 10 television screens, Braille literatures and 18 sign language interpreters, explained Mike Franklin, spokesperson, ASL Convention, adding the entire program will be in ASL with speakers from across Canada, including both hearing and hearing impaired.
“Sign language is the language of heart for the deaf and deaf-blind and it’s really their first language,” he said. “This event will give many an idea of how valuable it is to deaf people to have both a program in their language and three days of association with people who all use sign language. ”
Last year, some 600 ASL users from across Canada, including a few new immigrants, attended what was the first ever event in the Toronto area.
Stewart Milner, 46, a Burlington resident who is deaf and has low or tunnel vision, was one of the many travelling to Brampton.
“Last year’s (convention) was uplifting and a spiritual feast,” Milner signed via Brandon Muldoon, an interpreter.
Milner, who was born deaf, could see, but slowly over the years, his vision degenerated. He cannot communicate verbally.
Milner said a loss in vision means that sometimes he cannot see the person using the sign language, and so he has to resort to tactile (touch) methods in which he will place his hands over the signer’s hands to feel the movement and location of the signs.
Milner said he was angry and hurt about the cards he had been dealt with in life for many years until he found solace in spirituality some eight years ago.
“Before I connected with the Witnesses (Jehovah’s), I was very frustrated,” Milner signed. “I was an angry person. As I began to study and understand the Bible, I gave up a lot of bad habits. It wasn’t a quick change, it took years, but I feel I am a happier person for it…”
Many of the hearing and sight impaired that live alone have no opportunity to interact with another humans and this can often lead to a sense of isolation, Franklin explained. By coming to a convention, they can forge friendships. What’s more, they will be in an environment that’s inclusive to their needs.
Muldoon, who works in Mississauga as a sign language interpreter, said his job allows him to help the deaf and deaf-blind individuals like Milner. It has proven to be a fulfilling vocation, both personally and spiritually.
The convention is free and open to all. For more details visit www.jw.org/ase.
Starbucks has dedicated one of its outlets in Malaysia to hiring deaf baristas — a first for the company globally.
The outlet in the Bangsar district currently has 10 deaf baristas, and three hearing staff, Starbucks told Mashable on Wednesday.
If you don't know sign language, the baristas are ready to take orders written on menu cards. Each customer is assigned a number, which will flash on a screen when their order is ready.
The Seattle coffee company worked with the Society of Interpreters for the Deaf (SID) in Malaysia to train and hire the newer baristas, it said.
The shift manager at the Bangsar outlet, Muhammad Aizad Bin Ariffin, has been with the company for three years, and was recently promoted.
He said he's working toward enrolling under the company's Coffee Master programme eventually — Starbucks' advanced coffee expert course.
Starbucks has launched other social good initiatives in the past, including a commitment made several years ago to hire military veterans.
In February, a barista in Virginia made headlines for her gesture to learn American Sign Language to better serve a deaf customer that frequented her outlet.
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