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Disability Discrimination at McDonald's

The U.S. is ahead of other countries when it comes to anticipating and accommodating the needs of the disabled. We have the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the provisions of which make life much easier for people with disabilities. Public buildings must be accessible, employers must make reasonable accommodation so that people can work, and public places must accept companion animals that help individuals more fully participate in life.

However, events sometimes show that we still have a long way to go in matching individual attitudes with the provisions of the law. A Star Tribune story from Minneapolis shows that very clearly.

A man with muscular dystrophy who uses a wheelchair has filed a lawsuit against the McDonald's Corporation and an individual McDonald's franchise, claiming that he was discriminated against at a Minneapolis McDonald's. He decided to sue after he and his dog, his helper with daily activities such as door opening and picking things up, were asked to leave the franchise of the giant fast food chain.

Apparently the manager of the McDonald's asked to see documentation that proved that the dog was a legitimate service animal. When the man was unable to provide documentation about the animal on the spot, he was thrown out.

The same thing happened to him about 18 months ago at the same franchise, where he was told that the presence of the dog meant that he could not be served. When he went outside and used his wheelchair to approach the drive-through, he was told that he would not be served. When he returned to the service counter inside the restaurant, he was finally served but told to not come back.

Something similar to this incident occurred in Great Britain, when a woman was barred from using her mobility scooter to approach the drive-through at a McDonalds. Last year, a restaurant in Taiwan called police to remove a woman with Down syndrome who was allegedly hampering business. In 2010 in Naperville, Illinois, a child with autism and her father were asked to leave because of the little girl's dog, a service-certified labradoodle. In Oak Grove, California, a group of mentally disabled adults was asked to leave a McDonald's in January, 2014 because they were "conducting business," according to the manager.

At Binder & Binder®, we know that being disabled and facing discrimination like this is challenging enough. People with disabilities should not have to face additional difficulties when seeking the Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits that they paid for with every pay check. We work hard to make the process of applying for SSD benefits as smooth and easy as possible. If you need assistance with your claim for disability benefits, do what so many other disabled people have done: Contact Binder & Binder®, America's most successful SSD advocates.

Source: Star Tribune, "Disabled man sues Mpls. McDonald's, citing conduct over service dog," Apr. 24, 2014.

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