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Woman, Frankfort theater settle over hearing disability

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights board has approved a conciliation agreement between a woman with a hearing disability and a Frankfort theater group, a press release said.

Conciliation agreements are similar to settlements and are negotiated by commission staff to resolve discrimination complaints.

On July 26, 2011, Anita Dowd alleged to the commission that she was the victim of unlawful discrimination based on a disability in the area of public accommodations, which would be a violation of state and federal civil-rights laws. Dowd claimed that Chakeres Theatre in Frankfort failed to provide her with auxiliary aids or captioning services so that she could watch one of its movies, the release said. After an investigation by the commission staff, Executive Director John J. Johnson issued a probable cause finding, indicating there was evidence to believe discrimination occurred.

Prior to holding a final hearing, the parties chose to negotiate, according to the release.

Theatre company officials denied any violations, affirmed that it complied with civil-rights law and agreed to compensate Dowd in the amount of $5,000, the release said. The company told the commission that it plans to cease doing business in the Franklin Square Theater in Frankfort in January 2014. If the company does operate, under the agreement, it must provide auxiliary aids and services to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and undergo commission compliance monitoring.

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