Source: United States Attorneys General 10
FARGO – United States Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota completed its investigation and entered into a settlement agreement with Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (“Ulta”) to resolve allegations that Ulta violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”). Specifically, a complaint alleged that Ulta refused to allow an individual with a disability who uses a service animal to enter Ulta with her service animal. Ulta operates a retail store located in Fargo, North Dakota, where the alleged incident occurred.
During its investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office found that the complainant attempted to enter Ulta with her service animal. An Ulta employee told the complainant she was not allowed to enter the store with her service animal, and incorrectly told her a North Dakota cosmetology statute prohibited service animals without documentation.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals with disabilities who use service animals may enter places of public accommodations, such as retail stores, with their service animals. There is no requirement that individuals with disabilities show any documentation, licensure, or certification, nor is there a requirement that the service animal be wearing any vest, harness, or collar that indicates it is a service animal. A service animal is simply any dog trained to work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. If a place of public accommodation is unsure whether an animal is a service animal, under the ADA they may only ask two questions:
• Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
• What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
Under the settlement agreement, Ulta agreed to adopt a nationwide service animal non-discrimination policy for all its stores, provide relevant training to its employees regarding the ADA, post signage indicating service animals are welcome, and pay $1,000 in damages to the complainant.
“People with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal are entitled to come and go freely in the community,” said United States Attorney Puhl. “The corrective measures agreed to by Ulta will give individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy the largest beauty retailor in the United States, as is required by the ADA. We hope other proprietors will proactively comply with this important civil rights law. Service animals play an important role to ensure the independence of people with disabilities, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities will have full and equal access to places of public accommodation.”
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa H. Burkland of the District of North Dakota.
Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that any place of public accommodation or public entity in North Dakota is not accessible to persons with disabilities may file a complaint online at www.ada.gov or contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 701-297-7400.