For Immediate Release:
Ashley White, Equal Rights Center, 202.370.3204
Equal Rights Center and Pret A Manger Announce National Initiative to Promote Accessibility
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 14, 2012—Today, the Equal Rights Center (ERC), a national non-profit civil rights organization, and Pret A Manger, an international sandwich retail chain with more than 40 locations in the U.S., announced a partnership initiative to promote accessibility at Pret A Manger’s locations nationwide.
"The Equal Rights Center is proud to join forces with Pret A Manger in promoting accessibility for all of Pret’s patrons," said Don Kahl, Executive Director of the Equal Rights Center. “Pret A Manger, an industry leader, joins other ERC partners, like CVS Pharmacies, Archstone Apartments, and NVR Homes, who are putting into action their philosophy that promoting equal opportunity is not only the right thing to do, it’s good business."
Under the initiative, Pret A Manger and the ERC will work together to review accessibility at all Pret A Manger locations in the U.S. The ERC will also work closely with Pret A Manger to review and, if necessary, modify policies and practices to ensure that Pret A Manger locations are accessible and welcoming to all patrons. Finally, the ERC and Pret A Manger will collaborate on trainings for Pret A Manger employees focusing on accessibility and disability etiquette.
"Pret A Manger is pleased to be working with the ERC to ensure that all Americans enjoy equal accessibility in our shops," said Martin Bates, president of Pret A Manger US. "We believe that taking steps to guarantee that our locations are welcoming to all community members is a critical element of responsible business practices and a step that we are delighted to take together with the ERC."
The initiative will be led by the ERC's Corporate Partnerships and Training (CPT) Program. The CPT Program builds relationships with restaurateurs, retailers, housing developers, and other business leaders to promote equal access and opportunity for all as a corporate culture, and to demonstrate the economic benefits of promoting civil rights as part of a sound business strategy. Through work with a diverse group of businesses, the ERC and its partners have made nearly 60,000 housing units and 50,000 retail locations more accessible for people with disabilities, and have trained thousands of partners’ administrators, managers, and other employees on accessibility regulations, diversity in the workplace, fair housing laws, and other civil rights issues.
"We truly appreciate Pret A Manger’s commitment to promoting accessibility, and are happy to have them join our growing group of corporate partners who value equality,” said Victoria Lanteigne, Corporate Partnerships and Training Program Manager at the ERC. “The ERC’s Corporate Partnerships and Training Program is changing the way businesses think about and prioritize accessibility, and is improving the lives of countless individuals by preventing discrimination before it occurs."
About the Equal Rights Center (www.equalrightscenter.org)
Originally formed in 1983, the Equal Rights Center (ERC) is a national
non-profit civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. With
members located in every state and the District of Columbia, the ERC works
nationally to promote equal opportunity in housing, employment,
disability rights, immigrant rights, and access to public accommodations
and government services for all protected classes under federal, state,
and local laws.
About Pret A Manger (www.pret.com/us/)
Pret A Manger, founded in London in 1986, has its US headquarters in New York City. Pret is a privately held company and now has 300 store locations in the UK, Hong Kong, New York, Washington DC and Chicago. With a kitchen in every store, Pret creates handmade, natural, preservative-free food prepared fresh from scratch every day. Pret A Manger means “Ready To Eat” in name and concept; it is fresh, convenient food fast. Any unsold food at the end of the day is donated to charities working with the hungry.