WESTLAND (WWJ/AP) – The U.S. Justice Department says a Detroit-area restaurant will pay $60,000 for telling a family to leave because the children had a genetic skin condition.
The department sued the Golden Corral in February, saying the Westland restaurant violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Danielle Duford of Garden City took her four girls to the buffet restaurant in May 2011. The lawsuit says they paid but soon were asked to leave when other customers noticed the skin of Duford’s 14-month-old daughter.
In the suit, the Duford said the manager approached their table and asked what was wrong with her child, declaring, “she has scabs all over, so obviously there is something wrong with her.” [View a copy of the complaint].
Duford said she then explained to the manager that three of her children suffer from epidermolysis bullosa, a genetic condition that causes the skin to be so fragile that the slightest friction or temperature change can cause severe blistering. Duford told the manager it’s not contagious, but the manager insisted they leave.
“We hope that today’s settlement will help prevent discrimination based on unfounded fears by raising awareness of the duties to accommodate individuals with less common disabilities,” said Barbara McQuade, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
“No one should be excluded from participating in the basic activities of daily living on account of fears of their disability, nor should children be shamed from going out in public,” said Eve Hill, Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We are confident today’s settlement sends that message.”
The Justice Department said Wednesday that the restaurant has agreed to pay $50,000 to the family and a $10,000 fine.
More information about the Americans with Disabilities Act is available at the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information line at (800) 514-0301 and via the ADA website at www.ada.gov.
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