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Does Southridge's stance on Milwaukee County buses violate the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act has made life a lot easier for many Wisconsin residents. Thanks to this important piece of legislation, employers, landlords and other fixtures of society have to make "reasonable accommodations" for people who have disabilities and are prohibited from discriminating against disabled citizens.

But as is the case with many laws, people who rely on the Americans with Disabilities Act cannot rest on their laurels; oftentimes, it is necessary to take action to defend the rights that have been provided.

For example, it can be hard to define "discrimination." Take the case of Southridge Mall and its corporate owner, Simon Properties, which has said it no longer wants Milwaukee County buses to drop passengers off on its property.

Naturally, many Milwaukee-area residents who cannot drive rely on buses to get around. To them, something about Southridge Mall's decision may smack of prejudice against people with disabilities. It does not help that Simon Properties has been unable to clearly articulate a reason for why it does not want buses to deposit passengers at Southridge. (Simon has recently indicated it may allow buses to continue to serve Southridge after all, but the issue has not yet been resolved.)

Now, whether this is the kind of situation the Americans with Disabilities Act was designed to prevent remains to be seen, but at the very least it does illustrate how life continues to be hard for people with disabilities. Everyone in Milwaukee should know that if they ever feel they have been treated in a way that violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, there are attorneys who regularly work with this law and may be able to help you set things right.

Source: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Southridge owners back s off push to ban buses," Steve Schultze and Annysa Johnson, Jan. 13, 2012

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