Sporting Goods Company Changes Policy Following ADA Allegation

KANSAS CITY, KAN.– Scheels All Sports Inc., located in Overland Park, Kansas, agreed to create a new policy as part of a settlement following allegations the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Scheel’s new ADA policy (1) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, (2) does not impose eligibility criteria that tends to screen out individuals with disabilities, and (3) provides reasonable modifications to Scheels’ policy, practices, and procedures as necessary to avoid discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Under the settlement, the company will also pay $1,000 in compensatory damages to the complainant, train its staff on the new ADA policy, create an ADA liaison, and allow the U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Kansas to monitor its conduct for three years. 

The allegations stem from a discrimination complaint filed in 2019 by an 18-year-old woman with Down Syndrome. An investigation revealed that during a high school outing at Scheels, a Ferris wheel attendant refused to allow her to ride with a classmate because of her disability. He cited a company policy requiring individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by an adult. Although a teacher assured the attendant as well as managers the complainant could safely ride with her classmate, the staff refused service because of her disability.   

“Scheels’ former policy and practice was inconsistent with the ADA, which prohibits eligibility criteria that screen out individuals with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying goods and services,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard.  “Moreover, any screening policy must be based on legitimate safety requirements, and not on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities.”

   

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea Taylor and Tyson Shaw investigated the matter.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability. 

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