A disabled Minneapolis man filed suit against a local McDonald’s owner and the global corporation alleging the restaurant violated the Americans With Disabilities Act when he was refused service twice while accompanied by his service dog. The man is seeking damages and requirements that company employees be trained and educated about the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
The man, who has muscular dystrophy and a chronic back ailment, uses a wheelchair and has limited use of his arms and hands. His 4-year-old service dog helps with many of his daily duties, such as opening and closing doors.
According to the lawsuit, in late August 2012 the man wheeled himself into the McDonald’s with his service dog in tow. An employee behind the counter told him that the dog prevented him from being served. The man then rode his wheelchair into the drive-through and was told “we don’t serve those things in the drive-through.”
Upon returning back inside the restaurant the man was allowed to buy his meal but was told he could not come back.
Several months later in May 2013, the man once again returned to the McDonald’s location. This time he says his order was taken without issues, but while waiting the restaurant’s manager told him he had to leave.
According to the lawsuit, the manager demanded to see documentation that the dog was in fact a service animal, and told the man he could not eat in the dining area with the dog.
When the man said the law allowed him to eat there, the manager replied: “I am the manager here, and I am the law,” to which other customers laughed. Upon receiving his food, the man and his service dog left.
The man says he hopes the lawsuit shines light on the Americans With Disabilities Act, which requires that state and local governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the public must allow service animals to accompany those with disabilities.
Additionally, the Act puts limitations on inquiries about a service dog’s validity; asking a disabled person to produce the documentation of need is illegal.
“The best thing that could come out of this,” the man tells the Star Tribune, “is that all McDonald’s employees are required to undergo sensitivity training concerning people with disabilities.”
In a statement, the McDonald’s manager says he takes “complaints like this seriously [and] we do our best to provide a great customer experience to every customer.”
Disabled man sues Mpls. McDonald’s, citing conduct over service dog [Minneapolis Star Tribune]