Wellington restaurant that refused to serve man with disability dog ​​apologises - petsitterbank

Wellington restaurant that refused to serve man with disability dog ​​apologises

The restaurant would not provide the man lunch indoors while he was accompanied by his disability dog.

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The restaurant would not provide the man lunch indoors while he was accompanied by his disability dog.

A Wellington restaurant that refused to serve a man because of his disability assist dog has apologized and paid $3500 in compensation.

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

The restaurant 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 settlement.

He also paid $3500 to compensate the man for humiliating him, eroding his dignity, and injuring his feelings, director of Human Rights Proceedings, Michael Timmins​, said in a statement.

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“Notably, the restaurant accepted that the term ‘guide dog’ used to describe ‘disability’ in the Human Rights Act includes disability assist dogs as defined in the Dog Control Act 1996.”

“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 customers with a disability,” Timmins said.

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

Reasonably accommodating customers with a disability often had no extra cost for a business, he said.

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

In some cases, businesses might need to redesign their systems to accommodate people with disabilities.

“People think they're pets, they don't understand they have a special status,” says Jonathan Mosen.

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

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

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

“You know it’s going to go off at some stage, but it can still surprise you when it does,” he said.

Mosen and his wife, who is blind and travels with a guide dog, had been challenged and sometimes refused service at restaurants. He had called the police on occasion.

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

“My wife is blind and travels with a guide dog. After a pleasant night out, it is sometimes spoiled by an Uber driver who thinks they have the right to refuse her guide dog.

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

Mosen said not all disabled people felt as comfortable as he did in standing up for his rights.

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