Disability Justice
Press Release

City of Burlington Undermines Federal Civil Rights Law

City Attorney OKs Vote Against ADA

By - Jun 2nd, 2019 06:45 pm

BURLINGTON, WISCONSIN – The Burlington City Attorney, John Bjelajac, advised the Burlington City Council their vote against a provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act is legal.  “It’s aggravating how casually people with disabilities are dismissed.” Dorothy K Dean, CEO of Disability Justice, a civil rights organization in Franklin, Wisconsin. “Attorney Bjelajac trivializes the Constitutional right of every person to be part of society.”

The City Attorney told the Burlington City Council they could, and then they did, vote to override civil rights law. The vote illegally approves a five-year delay to install an ADA compliant restroom in a local business. “Mr. Bjelajac rejects the reality that federal civil rights law supersedes building codes,” according to Dean.

The Burlington City Council vote is just one example of the discrimination faced every day by people with disabilities.

“It’s aggravating how casually people with disabilities are dismissed,” Dean says. Attorney Bjelajac, publicly announced that the Burlington Police Department, across the street from the business, has restrooms for people with disabilities. The Police Department does not.

Civil rights attorney for Disability Justice, Jeffery Spitzer-Resnik, in his opinion for the City of Burlington, writes, “What will be next; exemptions to other building codes; violations of other anti-discrimination laws?”

Disability Justice is a civil rights nonprofit, advocating full implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and advocating good public policy.

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