Unanimous California Supreme Court Rejects Attempt to Limit Discrimination Claims by People with Disabilities
Posted on June 11, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
‘The Court’s decision furthers the Unruh Act’s purpose to eradicate arbitrary and invidious discrimination from California’s business establishments.’
(San Francisco, June 11, 2009) — Today the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act does not impose extra legal hurdles for people with disabilities, including people living with HIV who seek damages for discrimination.
Statement from Tara Borelli, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal and a principal author of the friend-of-the court brief Lambda Legal submitted urging today’s legal result in Munson v. Del Taco:
“The Court rightly rejected efforts to misread the Unruh Civil Rights Act to impose extra legal hurdles which would have harmed all disabled Californians who face discrimination in public accommodations, including those living with HIV.
“Real, reliable change for people with disabilities has been painfully slow in coming but the high court’s decision today promises greater fairness in California. The Court’s decision furthers the Unruh Act’s purpose to eradicate arbitrary and invidious discrimination from California’s business establishments.
“Though this case does not directly involve people living with HIV, the application of this decision will be helpful to all people living with disabilities who encounter discrimination, which includes many Californians living with HIV.”
Background on Munson v. Del Taco:
Kenneth Munson, a wheelchair user, filed suit against Del Taco, Inc. alleging violations of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s Unruh Act. Munson’s suit is based on claims arising from visits he made to one Del Taco restaurant, where he encountered architectural barriers to his use of the parking lot and restroom.
Background on Unruh Civil Rights Act:
California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act requires that public accommodations — businesses such as restaurants, rental housing, and doctors’ offices — are open to everyone, without arbitrary discrimination based on disability (including HIV), sex (including gender identity), sexual orientation, marital status, race or several other personal characteristics. Similarly, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) forbids denying disabled people equal access to public places. In 1992, California revised the Unruh Act to better protect disabled Californians from discrimination by saying that a plaintiff who proves an ADA violation has also proven a state law violation.
Attorneys Urge California Supreme Court To Invalidate Prop 8
California School Bans Sixth I Presentation on Harvey Milk
Statewide Action: On Heels of Prop 8 Ruling, “Meet in the Middle for Equality” Rallies ,Civil Rights Advocates in Fresno for LGBT Equality on a Federal Level
Wisconsin Trial Court Dismisses ACLU Lawsuit Seeking Domestic Partner Benefits For Lesbian and Gay State Employees