Atlantic City Taxi Drivers To Undergo Training After Cab Company Allegedly Discriminated Against Blind Man

TRENTON – The Division on Civil Rights announced today that all taxi drivers in Atlantic City will undergo training in state and federal civil rights law as the result of a settlement that resolves allegations the Yellow Cab Company discriminated against a blind man by refusing him and his guide dog a ride to a casino.

Under terms of the settlement, approximately 600 cab drivers who work in Atlantic City will undergo training provided by the Division on Civil Rights and focused on both the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ( LAD) and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as their individual obligations as cab drivers under both laws. The training effort – mandatory for Yellow Cab employees — is being coordinated with the Atlantic City Department of Licenses and Inspections.

The settlement announced today resolves a complaint filed against Yellow Cab by Thomas R. Schierioth, of Atlantic City, in the wake of alleged disability-based discrimination that occurred twice in the same day on July 10, 2010. Schierioth, who is regularly assisted by a guide dog due to his blindness, contacted Yellow Cab and asked to be picked up at his home. When the taxi arrived to transport him, Shierioth alleged, he tried to enter the cab with his guide dog and was told by the driver, “no dog, no dog.” The driver subsequently drove away.

Schierioth apparently got to his destination – the Showboat Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City – by other means, but contacted Yellow Cab several hours later seeking a ride home. According to Schierioth’s complaint, a different Yellow Cab driver arrived in response to his call but the result was the same — upon seeing Shierioth and his guide dog, the driver refused them service and drove away. Shierioth later reported the incident to the Mercantile Association of Atlantic City, and filed a complaint with the Division on Civil Rights in September 2010.

“The alleged actions attributed to the Yellow Cab employees in this case are troubling,” said Attorney General Paula T. Dow. “They are taxi drivers, and they reportedly denied transportation to a blind person who was accompanied by a guide dog to assist with his disability. We are committed to ensuring equal access for all persons.”

Said Acting Division on Civil Rights Director Gary LoCassio, “This is an important settlement because it will help generate greater awareness. The training provided by our division will make clear to every driver working in Atlantic City that denying a ride to a disabled person who requires a guide dog is illegal, and will not be tolerated.”

Under terms of the settlement, Yellow Cab makes no admission of wrongdoing.

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