Ed Murray, Mayor
SUBJECT: Refusal to settle discrimination case proves costly
1/29/2003 3:35:00 PM
Elliott Bronstein (206) 684-4507
Refusal to settle discrimination case proves costly
Refusal to negotiate a settlement in a discrimination charge has proved costly to a Seattle tavern. Shortly before it was scheduled to face the Seattle City Attorney’s Office before a Hearing Examiner, the Kort-Haus Tavern agreed to pay a total of $4,750 to settle a case against it.
The charge dated back to the early morning hours of August 20, 2000, when customer John McLandress attempted to enter the Kort-Haus with his service dog. The owner of the tavern initially denied entry to Mr. McLandress’s service dog, citing health regulations. A police officer called to the scene eventually confirmed that people with service animals are entitled to enter facilities that are off-limits to pets, and that service animal owners are not required to carry identification for their animals. After almost 90 minutes, Mr. McLandress was allowed to enter the tavern with his service dog.
A few weeks after the incident, Mr. McLandress filed a discrimination charge with the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR). After an investigation, SOCR found that the Kort-Haus Tavern had violated Mr. McLandress’s civil rights, and invited the owner to negotiate a settlement. When the owner refused to enter into negotiations, SOCR referred the case to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office for further action.
"In a case like this, the charging party might have been content with a written apology," explained Angela Dawson-Milton, SOCR’s Enforcement Manager. "Once the case went to the City Attorney, however, a simple case wound up becoming expensive for the respondent."
The final settlement includes $4,600 to Mr. McLandress and his attorney, and $150 to The Delta Society for purchase of a Service Dog Welcome Kit.
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