Wellington restaurant that refused to serve man with disabled dog apologizes

The restaurant would not provide the man with indoor lunch while he was accompanied by his disabled dog.

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The restaurant would not provide the man with indoor lunch while he was accompanied by his disabled dog.

A Wellington restaurant that refused to serve a man because of his disabled service dog has apologized and paid $3,500 in compensation.

The unidentified restaurant would not provide the man with lunch inside while he was accompanied by his dog, the Human Rights Commission said on Tuesday.

Jonathan Mosen, who is blind and runs employment organization Workbridge, said for too many people with disabilities, waiting for service dog discrimination to happen was a bit like a ticking time bomb.

“You know it’s going to kick in at some point, but it can still surprise you when it does,” he said.

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Mosen and his wife, who is blind and travels with a guide dog, had been stopped and sometimes turned away from restaurants. He had called the police on occasion.

“I’ve seen this kind of discrimination everywhere, and it’s really that a lot of people think that guide dogs are pets, and they don’t understand that they have a special status,” he said. he declares.

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“People think they are pets, they don’t understand that they have a special status,” says Jonathan Mosen.

“My wife is blind and travels with a guide dog. After a pleasant evening, it is sometimes spoiled by an Uber driver who believes he has the right to refuse his guide dog.

“And just last week, while staying at a hotel for my son’s wedding, the happy occasion was ruined when we had to deal with a deeply distressing guide dog issue for which, to its credit the hotel eventually apologized profusely.”

Mosen said not all people with disabilities felt as comfortable advocating for their rights as he did, and an education campaign was needed.

Being challenged over the use of a service animal was distressing and could have a significant impact if it involved missing an appointment, he said.

“It raises your blood pressure, it raises your heart rate, it’s the feeling of injustice, that we’ve fought as a blind community for so long for this right. It’s like we have to prove ourselves again and again. again.

The service animals were very well trained and had a wide selection.

“In a way, if someone tries to take your guide dog away from you, it’s almost like taking your eyes out,” Mosen said.

The restaurant has apologized in writing for breaching the Human Rights Act 1993, acknowledging that it had discriminated against the man, whose identity was also confidential in the regulation.

He also paid $3,500 to compensate the man for humiliating him, eroding his dignity and hurting his feelings, Human Rights Proceedings Director Michael Timmins said in a statement.

“Notably, the restaurant has agreed that the term ‘guide dog’ used to describe ‘disability’ in the Human Rights Act includes disabled assistance dogs as defined in the Control Act 1996 dogs.”

“This settlement is a timely reminder to service providers, including those in the hospitality industry, that the Human Rights Act requires them to reasonably accommodate guests with disabilities,” Timmins said.

“Such accommodation is not a ‘nice to have’ but a legal obligation.”

Reasonably accommodating customers with disabilities often results in no additional cost to a business, he said.

“It can be as simple as changing attitudes, adjusting the way they communicate with customers, or making existing facilities accessible. Some of these solutions are common courtesy.

In some cases, companies may need to redesign their systems to accommodate people with disabilities.

As part of the settlement, the restaurant would undergo anti-discrimination training with employees.

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