A Detroit-area Golden Corral will pay a $60,000 settlement for booting a family from their restaurant because of a skin condition, the U.S. Justice Department says.
The Westland restaurant was sued by the Justice Department in February for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Danielle Duford said she took her four daughters to the restaurant in May 2011. Shortly after sitting down, the family was asked to leave.
Duford claimed in the suit that she was approached by the Goldren Corral’s manager, who was concerned about the appearance of her 14-month-old daughter’s skin.
The manager allegedly said, “She has scabs all over, so obviously there is something wrong with her.”
He claimed he had “a right to ask what’s wrong if it concerns our customers and is contagious.”
Duford says she explained that her four children suffer from a non-contagious, genetic skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa. The condition causes the skin to be so fragile that any friction or temperature change can cause severe blistering. The skin often appears to be painfully peeling, red and cracked.
Although he was told it was not contagious, the manager insisted that the family leave. He told them to “go find somewhere else to eat” because they were making other patrons “uncomfortable.”
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Golden Corral will pay $50,000 to the family and an additional $10,000 in civil penalties to the U.S.
“We hope that today’s settlement will help prevent discrimination based on unfounded fears by raising awareness of the duties to accommodate individuals with less common disabilities,” McQuade said.
The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, giving everyone the right to full and equal enjoyment of goods or services.
“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, Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We are confident today’s settlement sends that message.”