U.S. Attorney's Office Settles Service Animal Dispute with Haddam Restaurant
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has reached a settlement agreement with the Brookside Bar and Grill in Haddam to resolve allegations that the restaurant was not operating in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”).
The settlement agreement resolves an ADA complaint filed by an individual with disabilities who relies on a service animal and who was a patron of the restaurant. The complainant alleged that the restaurant asked her to show identification for the services animal and, on one occasion, asked her to leave the restaurant because of her service animal.
Under federal law, private entities that own or operate places of “public accommodation,” including restaurants, are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of disability. The ADA requires that a public accommodation, such as a restaurant, modify its policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The ADA requires restaurants and other places of public accommodation to permit individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals in all areas of the place of public accommodation where members of the public, customers, patrons or invitees are allowed to go.
The settlement agreement requires the Brookside Bar and Grill to permit service animals in all areas of the restaurant that members of the public and other patrons are permitted. Additionally, the restaurant will post signage indicating “Service Animals Welcome,” will implement a “Service Animal Policy,” and will train its managers and employees regarding the policy.
The ADA authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate complaints of disability discrimination and to undertake periodic reviews of compliance of covered entities. The Justice Department is also authorized to commence a civil lawsuit in federal court in any case that involves a pattern or practice of discrimination or that raises issues of general public importance, and to seek injunctive relief, monetary damages, and civil penalties.
U.S. Attorney Durham noted that the owners and operators of the Brookside Bar and Grill have worked cooperatively with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to address the matters raised in the complaint without the need for litigation.
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ndidi N. Moses of the District of Connecticut.
Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that any place of public accommodation or public entity in Connecticut is not accessible to persons with disabilities or does not permit service animals may contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 203-821-3700.
Additional information about the ADA can be found at www.ada.gov, or by calling the Justice Department’s toll-free information line at (800) 514-0301 and (800) 514-0383 (TTY). More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt.