GPM Investments Settles ADA Dispute Involving Service Animals
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – GPM Investments, LLC, which is headquartered in Richmond and operates over 1,400 convenience stores in 22 states, including approximately 200 stores in Virginia, has agreed to settle a dispute under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding an allegation of refusal of service to an individual with disabilities accompanied by a service animal.
“People with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal are entitled to participate in their communities on an equal basis to others, including visiting retail establishments,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We are pleased that GPM has agreed to take steps to ensure that these individuals are welcome in all of its stores.”
The investigation began with a complaint from the public alleging that a fas mart ® branded convenience store refused service to an individual with disabilities accompanied by a service animal.
Under the settlement agreement, GPM will adopt a service animal non-discrimination policy applicable to all stores that it operates, including fas mart branded stores, train all its employees, display signs in its stores indicating that service animals are welcome, and pay $1,000 in damages to the complainant.
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Gordon, the Civil Rights Enforcement Coordinator for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by public accommodations, such as convenience stores. Among other things, public accommodations must allow people with disabilities the full and equal enjoyment of their goods, services and facilities. They must make reasonable modifications of their policies, practices and procedures to permit people with disabilities to be accompanied by service animals.
The Department of Justice has a number of publications available to assist entities in complying with the ADA, including Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA. For more information on the ADA and to access these publications, visit http://www.ada.gov or call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD). ADA complaints may be filed by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.