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Restaurant To Pay After Booting Kids With Rare Disorder


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A restaurant will pay $60,000 after refusing service to a family all because their kids look different as a result of a genetic condition.

The payment comes as part of a settlement announced last week between the U.S. Department of Justice and a Golden Corral restaurant in Westland, Mich. The Justice Department had sued the establishment earlier this year alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In May 2011, Danielle Duford visited the buffet-style restaurant with her four daughters, three of whom have epidermolysis bullosa, a genetic skin disorder that causes blisters as a result of minor injuries or temperature changes. Even though Duford explained the children’s condition to the restaurant manager, emphasizing that the disorder is not contagious, the manager told the family to leave immediately and said that their presence was making other customers “uncomfortable,” according to the lawsuit.

Now, Golden Corral has agreed to pay Duford and her daughters $50,000 in damages in addition to $10,000 in civil penalties. Under the settlement, the restaurant will also develop a non-discrimination policy and train its employees to understand their obligations under the ADA.

“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 of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

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Comments (16 Responses)

  1. JM Andy says:

    Outrageous! 60K is NOT enough.

  2. barbara smith says:

    The restaurant is stuck in the stone age. Hopefully, the staff will learn about disabilities, civil rights and being humane. Good to know our tax dollars are being well spent on the civil rights dept.

  3. CA Simpson says:

    Disabled myself, I try to empathize with those you can’t or don’t know how to empathize. People who have a disorder that might cause alarm to the general public need to be prepared to explain the condition and to put forth proof, if necessary, that they do not present a public health risk. This, in my mind, is only common sense. What if someone did present a public health risk? Should the restaurant just ignore that?

  4. Sheila Mootry White says:

    A discriminatory act, not as egregious as the one described occurred on a Vallejo Transit aka Sol Trans bus earlier thils year. A gentleman in a wheelchair approached the bus and waited for the driver to assist him in boarding, by way of the llift. She asked him to take the next bus and he responded, “I want to take this one”. Grudgingly she boarded him, but was not at all happy about it. When we arrived at the next pick up, several riders had to stand up because of the limited space. As we approached El Cerrito BART two of the standees got off, she asked the remaining standee to sit down. He replied, “There are no seats”. Now, my question was why did she not ask the individuals who had to stand up on the bus to take the next bus as she had the gentleman in the wheelchair? I wrote a letter of complaint to the bus company, but of course I never received a response.

  5. Charlie Bean says:

    Good for the family!

  6. Paul says:

    @CA Simpson: The parent did speak to the manager regarding the disability, and they ordered her to leave anyway. It’s reasonable for them to ask, but to eject them anyway? They and every other restaurant in the area learned an important lesson about disabilities today.

  7. Caroline A. Zuk, Esq. says:

    Thank you to the Office for Civil Rights for helping this family.

  8. Margaret Campbell says:

    Guess what, this has gone on forever. We were booted out of a local restruant because we had a disabled 5 year old. Then the second time because she made other clientiell feel uncomforatble. Then our church at that time asked us to take her into the foyer during the service. Her sister was giving the scripture reading that night. First time dad had set foot in any church since her sister was a baby. I am glad someone has to be responsible for their actions! We were told many times by individuals in public that we should not bring her into the public because she did not look right. She is 24 now. Sure glad she cannot understand what happened. Glory to God. He created our children wonderfully and fearfully made, they are!

  9. AlWBrown says:

    What infuriates me about this is this…

    As a semi-frequent customer at Golden Corral I see people coughing/sneezing/people just doing nasty stuff all the time. Yet you don’t see them getting booted. Then a family with genetic disorders come by and they get booted when there isn’t anything wrong with them? That is ridiculous. This article has changed my views on the restaurant and as much as I like their Friday breakfasts…well..that cut’s a line even for that.

  10. soricobob says:

    It’s not the restaurant that’s stuck in the Stone Age, but Westland! I lived there many years ago, and moved for that very reason. The town used to be called Nankin Mills, but when the shopping center was built the town was re-named in it’s honor; does that tell you something. It’s the town where Alice Cooper lived before he went to Phoenix.

  11. Dennis Burgess says:

    I have significant Cerebral palsy and I make a mess when I eat but I enjoy going to restaurants. I am sure that I have made a lot of people feel uncomfortable. but I cannot stop enjoying my life just because other people may not understand my disability. Everyone is made differently and we need to educate society about that

  12. Haddayr says:

    “uncomfortable.” The word bigots like this always use.

  13. marie camp says:

    I believe all places of businesses, police, fire and emt and even hospitals should have training to teach people about disabilities. I think it would be an extreme asset for all involved. What can it hurt? You would a lot more caring people.

  14. Kevin Nolan says:

    The owner of the Restaurant should be made to do some form of Community Service on top the fine in-order to show how difficult it is to live in a society based on appearance of an individual, It must so difficult for the parents and child involved who has to face discrimination on a daily basis.

    Lets see change the way they look at people with conditions and disabilities for the better. Life is hard enough without having to put up with narrow minded and uncaring individuals like this. I think the money means nothing, it does prove the law worked in this case, compulsory CS for the EB Charity / Support Group, would educate the people responsible.

    Hope the family and children are OK.


  15. Teresa Roberts says:

    To discriminate against this family was not only bad business, but disheartening. We all do not look and
    act the same. To add insult to injury, the Father explained their condition and still was asked to leave. This is not uncommon. Two years ago, our weekly meet up group was told by a shift manager from McDonald’s that the playground would close at 7pm. We had been there numerous times well after 8pm. Never being told this policy. I felt it was because our kids were loud, but not disruptive. And four of the kids were Autistic. I questioned the shift manager and he played the I don’t know card. I called the corporate office and the next day received an apology. It did not alleviate the bad feelings though.

  16. Elliot Holloway says:

    Wow.. with the way these people were treated, I’m amazed I wasn’t kicked out from a local Golden Corral for having my service dog there..

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