U.S. settles discrimination lawsuit against Fabco Shoes

Woman in wheelchair claims she was denied entry to Bensonhurst store

April 17, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch says FABCO will now train its employees to obey the Americans with Disabilities Act.  AP Photo
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A discount shoe store chain has agreed to pay a customer a $10,000 settlement in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Attorney after an employee in its Bensonhurst store allegedly refused entry to the shopper because the woman was in a wheelchair, officials announced.

Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said the federal government had reached a settlement with the owners of Fabco Shoes over violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

The discrimination case centers on claims made by Amal Mohamed, a disabled woman who is confined to a wheelchair. Mohamed alleged that on May 1, 2013, she entered the Fabco branch at 2171 86th St. in Bensonhurst to buy shoes for herself and her children. She stated that a Fabco employee told her she was not permitted in the store because the tires on her motorized wheelchair might soil the store’s carpet.

Mohamed also stated that the Fabco worker tried to physically remove her from the shoe store and stopped only when the employee discovered the wheelchair was too heavy to be moved.

Under the agreement, Fabco will pay $10,000 to Mohamed, according to Lynch, who announced the settlement on April 14.

“Instead of treating Mrs. Mohammad like any other customer, Fabco violated her rights under the ADA by not allowing her to shop for herself and her children and attempting to remove her from the store,” Lynch said.

The settlement sends a message to other business owners, according to Lynch. “This settlement serves notice that store owners who fail to respect the rights of individuals with disabilities will be held accountable for their actions,” she said.

The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and requires places of public accommodation to make reasonable accommodations to allow people with disabilities to use and enjoy their facilities.

The shoe store chain also agreed to start a training program to train all of its store managers on their obligations and responsibilities under the ADA. In addition, Fabco agreed to post signs in each of its stores welcoming people with disabilities.

Fabco cooperated in the government’s investigation of the incident, according to Lynch.

Fabco owns and operates 54 discount shoe stores throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx, as well as in New Jersey and Westchester County.

Kevan Cleary, senior trial counsel, handled the matter on behalf of the U.S.

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