116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The owners of a Cedar Rapids liquor and tobacco outlet have agreed to settle a dispute under the Americans with Disabilities Act that came after the store refused to let a customer bring a service dog into the store.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Midwest Petroleum & Convenience, doing business as 7 Star Liquor & Tobacco Outlet, 502 E Ave. NW, agreed to adopt a service animal non-discrimination policy, provide ADA training to its employees, post signage stating service animals are welcome and pay $1,000 in damages to the customer who was refused service.
“People with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal are entitled to come and go freely in the community,” Acting U.S. Attorney Sean Berry said in a statement. “We are pleased that Midwest Petroleum has agreed to take steps to ensure that people who use service animals are welcomed and accepted.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office determined a woman entered the store with her service dog Dec. 26, 2020. A Midwest Petroleum employee told the woman dogs were not allowed inside the store. The woman told the employee the dog was a service animal, but she was forced to leave the store.
The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by public accommodations, such as convenience stores, the news release stated.
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.
According to ADA provisions, a service animal isn’t required to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness, and covered entities such as, a convenience store, may not ask for documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry.
Any individual in the Northern District of Iowa who believes their civil rights may have been violated can email complaints to the U.S. Attorney’s Office at USAIAN.CivilRightsComplaint@usdoj.gov or by accessing the U.S. Department of Justice website.
For more information on the ADA, or to access publications available that help entities comply with the ADA, visit the Justice website or call the ADA information line at 1-(800) 514-0301 or 1-(800) 514-0383 (TDD).
The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Gillespie and the Disabilities Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.
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