U.S. Attorney’s Office Settles ADA Service Animal Dispute with Cedar Rapids Convenience Store
Midwest Petroleum & Convenience, Inc. (Midwest Petroleum), doing business as 7Star Liquor and Tobacco Outlet, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, convenience store, has agreed to settle a dispute under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding an allegation that it refused service to an individual with disabilities because of her service animal.
“People with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal are entitled to come and go freely in the community,” said Acting United States Attorney Sean R. Berry. “We are pleased that Midwest Petroleum has agreed to take steps to ensure that people who use service animals are welcomed and accepted.”
Under the settlement agreement, Midwest Petroleum agreed to adopt a service animal non-discrimination policy, provide relevant training to its employees regarding the ADA, post signage indicating service animals are welcome, and pay $1,000 in damages to the complainant.
As part of its investigation, the United States Attorney’s Office determined that, on December 26, 2020, the complainant entered 7Star Liquor and Tobacco Outlet with her service dog. A Midwest Petroleum employee told the complainant that dogs were not allowed within the store. Even after the complainant informed the employee that the animal was a service animal, the complainant was forced to leave.
The Americans with Disabilities Act 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.
Individuals in the Northern District of Iowa that believe their civil rights may have been violated may submit their complaints by e-mailing the United States Attorney’s Office at USAIAN.CivilRightsComplaint@usdoj.gov or by accessing https://civilrights.justice.gov/. For more information on the ADA, or to access publications available to assist entities in complying with the ADA, 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).
The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Gillespie and the Disabilities Rights Section of the United States Department of Justice.
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