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Press Release

U.S. Attorney's Office, Department of Justice, And McPal, Inc. D/B/A McDonald’s agree to Resolve Alleged Violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia has reached a settlement agreement with McPal, Inc., a franchisee of McDonald’s, to resolve an investigation into allegations that it violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) by failing to allow the use of a service dog by a person with a disability.

“This settlement agreement ensures that those who are assisted by service animals will enjoy the same service as all citizens, and we hope it ensures that the same will occur at other restaurants as well,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John A. Horn.

The investigation in this matter was initiated by a complaint filed with the United States, alleging that the complainant’s son is an individual with a disability who uses a service dog for assistance. The complainant and her family visited a McDonald’s restaurant in Canton, Georgia and were met by a restaurant manager who refused to allow the service animal into the establishment. Despite the complainant’s explanation that the dog was a service animal, the manager insisted that the animal could not remain in the facility. 

Under the settlement agreement that the government has reached with McPal, the McDonald’s franchisee agreed that it will provide at least one hour of training regarding the ADA to its customer service employees and that it will also provide each employee a copy of its Service Animal Policy. All new employees will also receive this training.

The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. Under the ADA, privately owned businesses that serve the public are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these private businesses, such as restaurants, to allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. 

Assistant United States Attorneys Aileen Bell Hughes and Cynthia B. Smith represented the United States in this matter.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated February 4, 2016

Civil Rights