ADA Rules Questioned After Disabled Woman is Asked to Leave Restaurant
SPRING HILL – Today’s service animals do much more than help lead the blind; many of them can alert their owners of an impending seizures, Psychiatric and Autistic conditions or even sense when an owners blood sugar is reaching dangerous levels.
Individuals who are licensed to travel with these animals are protected from discrimination by the American Disabilities act (ADA) and certain state laws. Although there are some exclusions and exceptions to the rules, most businesses and animal owners abide by these rules.
Those rules came into question Tuesday, when Jodi Semones, who has diabetes, entered Niki’s GryoMania Greek Restaurant on Spring Hill Drive.
According to Semones, when she entered the restaurant with her service dog Samantha, the owner, Sandy Martino became irate and demanded that she leave. Semones says he tried to explain that Samantha was a certified service animal and that she doesn’t have to leave but Martino said that due to her allergies to animals, she cannot have a dog in the building.
According to the ADA, allergies and the fear of animals are not valid reasons to deny services to a disabled person, but according to Martino, in addition to her allergies she also has severe asthma. Due to some other congenital health problems, an allergic reaction could kill her, says Martino.
So there is a quandary; according to the ADA, business owners are not allowed to ask customers what their health issues are, so should customers have the right to ask the business owner for their medical history?
Martino has a small sign posted on the front door, asking patrons not to bring animals into the restaurant. She’ll also be inquiring with the ADA regarding her rights to deny service animals inside.
Semones says she was unaware of Martino’s more severe health conditions and that all of this could have been avoided if Martino would have explained her condition. Martino says she was respectful and believes she is within her right not to explain her health problems to customers.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2015 Real News Real Fast, Inc.