LEXINGTON, Ky. – Casa Fiesta Mexican Restaurant, in Richmond, Kentucky (“Casa Fiesta”), entered into a settlement agreement with the federal government to resolve a recent complaint alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), relating to the use of service animals.
The settlement agreement resolves an ADA complaint that was filed by an individual with disabilities, who relies on a service animal and attempted to eat at Casa Fiesta. The complainant alleged that restaurant staff demanded that she provided documentation proving that her dog was a service animal. Staff also attempted to seat her away from other patrons or outside.
As part of the settlement, Casa Fiesta adopted a Service Animal Policy, trained its staff members on the ADA’s requirements for service animals, and posted signage permitting service animals.
Under federal law, private entities that own or operate places of “public accommodation,” including restaurants, are required to modify their policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability. Under the ADA, service animals are defined as animals 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 where members of the public, customers, patrons, or invitees are allowed to go. The law also prohibits inquiries into the details of a person’s disability, in connection with their use of a service animal, and forbids demands for documentation relating to certification, training, or licensure of the service animal.
“Under the ADA, individuals with disabilities are legally entitled to proper accommodations in public areas,” said Robert M. Duncan Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “It is critically important that we protect these rights and ensure proper public access to everyone. We appreciate the assistance of Casa Fiesta in quickly resolving this matter, and in undertaking steps to ensure proper access at their restaurant.”
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Pond with coordination with the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.
For additional information on the ADA or to file an online complaint, visit the ADA’s website at www.ada.gov. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt.
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