The Department of Justice today announced a comprehensive settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Doctor Associates Inc. (DAI), the privately held corporation that franchises Subway sandwich shops throughout the United States. The agreement, which sets out steps to make Subway shops physically accessible to people with disabilities, affects more than 20,000 Subway franchises. The settlement focuses on barrier removal for people with disabilities, to ensure that they have access to the facilities; use of the services offered by shops; and whenever readily achievable, access to restroom facilities in the Subway shops.

“People with disabilities should be able to eat at their favorite establishments, and this agreement is designed to improve access to 20,000 Subway shops across the nation,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “I commend DAI for working with us to fashion a practical and effective agreement. We hope that it will serve as a model for other dining establishments so that they will take the steps necessary to serve individuals with disabilities.”

Because the individual Subway shops are franchisees, the agreement recognizes that DAI will facilitate the efforts to ensure compliance while the individual Subway shops will be responsible for removing barriers to access. In particular, DAI will conduct the initial architectural surveys to identify barriers; provide guidance on the ADA requirements and the steps each shop must take to address violations identified in the survey; revise its operations manual to reflect that shops are required to conduct evaluations and remove barriers and that penalties may be imposed if they do not comply; provide interest-free loans to its individual stores for the purpose of ensuring accessibility; and use its best efforts to locate accessible buildings in its site selection for future Subway shops.

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