I was denied entry yesterday into a restaruant due to having my DAD with me. She was in her vest, no behavioral issues, and they requested medical documentation (not legal to ask for). I have filed with the ADA, but am wondering if it would be worthwhile to contact a lawyer, or will they represent me?
They may, it depends on the restaurant. If it was a major chain, yeah, they'll be there. But if it were a local chain or local to just that town, they might not. If nothing else, you can ask them for advice.
In the future, have them call the police. Have them also call the ADA hotline for businesses to ask questions. Several friends of mine with service dogs carry a form for the manager of the establishment to sign. It has all the information including the law, the hotline, and the possible punishments. Where they sign says "I agree to denying this person his/her rights..." and some other such stuff.
In the meantime, call your local disability advocate such as an Independent Living Center or some other agency that assists people with disabilities. If it was within city limits, you can also contact the city's ADA person (which they must have).
Is there any way you could ask those friends for a copy or rough draft of that document? I would love to have that for in the future. Sadly, it was a chain (Quiznos), and I was simply too flustered to do anything other than tell them it was illegal, I would be filing, and then walk out. In the future I hope to be better prepared. I wonder if they would do the same to someone with a guide dog. Its a pity how ignorace seems to drive people's decisions.
Thanks for the feedback!
If I could remember who had it! LOL I sent an email to a friend of mine who may know.
Since it was a chain, then visit their website and contact them. Poke around to find the best address to use.
And, while fresh on your mind, write it all down so you get the facts right later. Time of day, name of manager (if you don't know, call and ask), words he/she used, etc. Every time you speak to someone or send an email, or anything related to it, write it down.
A lot of folks see a dog and think guide dog. Then you get in your car and drive away. I had a guy chase my truck in a parking lot to yell at me for faking it. I thought it was a joke at first.
I don't blame you for being flustered. I always get that way in confrontational situations. I can think of just what to do or say later, but not on the spot. I do think it is worth it for you to follow up at the corporate level. It will help you and all of us in the future to avoid such problems. Sorry this happened to you, by the way. People are so ignorant sometimes.
It's probably more a matter of ignorance than discrimination. Maybe you can ask for guidance from the ADA.
PaulaO - I wondered about calling the police. That sounds like the best thing to do in such a situation. Hassle and takes up your time, but at least the restaurant would be educated for next time.
Worse case scenario is the police don't know about it either. And they can't actually arrest the manager but they can make him/her feel rather uncomfortable.
Yes, I was thinking that the uncomfortable part would be the only reason for it. I bet they would know about it, though.
Actually, perhaps they could have arrested him. Depends on the local laws. Some states have really good SD laws. Florida, for all its oddness, has one of the best. My friend found this article.
And another. And I realized later that I got the state wrong. Why did I think Myrtle Beach was in Florida? Duh.
What state do you live in, by the way?
I'm in Vermont.
Do a Google search on the SD laws in your state. Many states have additional laws that provide even more rights and actually help. Like, some states have laws that add punishment if someone harms a service dog.
I wish Mn would do something about dog abusers. we have a neighbor that has a service dog that has had to be retrained 3 times cause of her husband abusing him. nothing ever happens, he belongs in prison for animal cruelty.