A Subway franchise in Northern Kentucky that turned away a veteran with his service dog will have to adopt and implement a service animal policy, according to the settlement agreement.
According to Cincinnati.com:
“Restaurants, as public accommodations, are required to ensure proper access to their customers with disabilities,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky Carlton S. Shier, IV said. “This includes allowing service dogs, which are a necessary means for many individuals with disabilities. The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities have proper access under the ADA and we are pleased that MD Food has agreed to modify its policies and practices to comply with the Act.”
The veteran in this case suffers from (PTSD) post-traumatic stress disorder and uses the service dog to assist with his disability as many other veterans suffering from PTSD do.
An investigation followed the veteran's citizen complaint and was conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The prosecutor's office found that MD Food, which owns the Crescent Springs, Kentucky, Subway franchise, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when a Subway employee enforced the restaurant's "no dogs" policy and would not allow the veteran to dine in with his service dog.
The veteran said he was embarrassed, anxious, and suffered emotional distress over the incident, according to the release.
Prosecutors say MD Food will pay $1,000 in damages to the veteran in addition to modifying its current policies and practices around service animals. The company agreed to provide training on its new service dog policy to employees and managers and to post the policy at the restaurant.
Many businesses, restaurants, and other public establishments must adhere to the guidelines regarding the use of service dogs set by the Americans with Disabilities Act and are at risk for lawsuits like this one when staff doesn't have the proper training to deal with service animals. Assistance Animals Consulting can help provide guidance for service animal policies from the veterinary perspective and can help facilitate workforce development for businesses who need help implementing a pet policy that meets ADA guidelines. Contact us to learn more if your business needs assistance with planning or training.