Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review March 7, 2001 / 12 Adar, 5761

David Patch

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Demanding an interpreter at a comedy club -- TOLEDO, Ohio | The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is tentatively supporting a deaf woman's claim that a comedy club discriminated against her when it refused to provide an interpreter at one of its shows.

Rebecca Bisesi, 23, contends the club violated state law when it did not agree to supply an interpreter. Under Ohio law, owners or operators of places open to the public may not discriminate against potential patrons who have disabling handicaps.

Frank Stevens, owner of Connxtionscq II Comedy Club, is fighting the preliminary ruling. He said he offered to allow Bisesi and an interpreter to see the show free. "I think we try to reasonably accommodate people with disabilities," Stevens said. "I offered her any seat, any table, for any show, at no cost."

The commission has issued a ruling of probable cause, meaning that in the commission's opinion, it is probable that Stevens's club violated Ohio civil rights law by failing to provide the interpreter.

Stevens, who lives in Lansing, Mich., has hired a Columbus attorney to represent him. He has asked the civil rights commission to reconsider its position. If the commission holds its ground and the two sides can't re|solve their differences, the matter would become a formal complaint to the Ohio attorney general's office, according to Mark Kautz|mann, a commission spokesman. "This is just the start of the process," David Kessler, Mr. Stevens's attorney, said of the probable-cause ruling. "This is enough to at least have a hearing to determine the facts."

Francis Landry, an attorney who has represented plaintiffs in many workplace discrimination disputes, said Bisesi's complaint is groundbreaking because the issue is about one's ability to receive the full effect of a public performance.

But it also would likely uncork a surge of litigation to determine how much notice club and theater owners would need to accommodate patrons and how much burden they would legally have to bear.

David Patch is a writer with the Toledo Blade. Comment by clicking here.


© 2001, SHNS