Six Flags Sued Over Disability Access Policy
Six Flags is facing allegations of discrimination, with a lawsuit contending that the system its parks and several others use to provide disability accommodations violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lawsuit filed late last year by a California Army veteran known as I.L. who has mental and physical impairments says that Six Flags’ “Attraction Access Program” illegally discriminates against people with disabilities.
In order to receive disability accommodations at Six Flags parks, the program requires guests to register at least 48 hours before their visit with a third-party company called the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, or IBCCES, and provide personal information and medical documentation in order to obtain an Individual Accessibility Card.
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By contrast, the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California notes that typically-developing guests can purchase tickets upon arrival at Six Flags parks and immediately enjoy the amenities “without any advance planning or preparation.”
“Because disabled persons must gather the necessary medical documentation and submit it with their application on the IBCCES website prior to their park visit, persons with disabilities do not have that same luxury afforded to nondisabled persons,” the suit states. “Defendants have therefore failed to implement policies, procedures, and practices respecting the civil rights and needs of disabled individuals.”
The lawsuit indicates that the ADA bars entities from asking about the nature or extent of a person’s disability or requiring documentation.
The IBCCES Individual Accessibility Card has been adopted by several parks in recent years including Universal Studios and Sesame Place as a means to determine who qualifies for disability accommodations. Six Flags began using the system at its parks in the U.S. in 2020, according to the suit.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, names Six Flags Entertainment Corporation and Magic Mountain LLC, a Six Flags subsidiary that operates Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif. It seeks to compel the parks to change their policies for accessing disability accommodations as well as “declaratory, injunctive, and equitable relief and attorneys’ fees and costs” in accordance with the ADA. In addition, the suit makes claims under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Disabled Persons Act.
The complaint indicates that I.L. applied for and received an Individual Accessibility Card from IBCCES, but that on multiple visits to Six Flags Magic Mountain employees declined him accommodations because they said he didn’t look like he should qualify for the Attraction Access Program. In one instance, the lawsuit states that a park employee ripped up the Individual Accessibility Card and told I.L. that “he did ‘not look disabled enough’ to have the listed accommodations.”
Six Flags and IBCCES did not respond to requests for comment about the lawsuit.
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