Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry restaurant ejects guide dog owner

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Media captionRestaurant turns away blind diner

A restaurant turned away a diner registered blind after claiming they cannot permit her guide dog.

Holly Scott-Gardner, 22, filmed the staff at PGR Restaurant in Coventry and uploaded the video online, where it has been shared over 70,000 times within 24-hours.

Despite the university student insisting it was illegal to turn her away, the staff refused service.

PGR Restaurant says they were unaware of the law around guide dogs.

More on this and other Coventry and Warwickshire stories

Ms Scott-Gardner, from Coventry, had gone to the restaurant for her birthday lunch with a friend on Monday.

She was told by a staff member (seen in the video standing behind the bar) that her dog was not allowed in.

Image copyright Holly Scott-Gardner
Image caption Ms Scott-Gardner feels some restaurants value able-bodied punters more than disabled diners

The owner of the restaurant, Majed Bahgozen, was called and Ms Scott-Gardner was asked to leave the guide dog outside, dine outdoors or go elsewhere.

Guide dogs law

Guide dogs, or assistant dogs, are highly trained and instantly identified by their harness or coat they are wearing.

They are trained to sit quietly with their owner and go to the toilet on command.

The Equality Act 2010 was updated with changes to indirect discrimination, which now applies to disability.

It is illegal if a person with a disability is treated unfavourably because of something connected with their disability, such as a guide dog, and this treatment is unjustified.

Treatment can be justified if it is proven to meet a legitimate objective in a fair and reasonable way.

Initially, Ameena Slaviskus from PGR, who was not there at the time, claimed they "didn't know she [Ms Scott-Gardner] was blind because she didn't have a card on her neck".

Ms Slaviskus also said a training staff member was working on Monday who was unaware of "what guide dogs mean".

However, the restaurant later back-tracked and said the female staff member seen in the video is not a trainee.

Mr Bahgozen apologised on Facebook saying "we truly didn't understand what guide dogs purposes were and for that we accept all the blame".

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Restaurant owner, Majed Bahgozen, admitted he was unaware of the policy around guide dogs

Ms Scott-Gardner was told they had a no-dogs policy to avoid disruption to other customers.

"It shows that they value their able customers more than their disabled ones," said Ms Scott-Gardner.

"It really concerns me that businesses are not aware of the law, because if you're not aware of discrimination laws, what other laws are businesses not aware of?" questioned the student.

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