KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Scheels All Sports in Overland Park, Kan., has agreed to make changes in its policies as part of a settlement over allegations that the firm had discriminated against a disabled customer.

The settlement was announced Wednesday, June 16, by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas.

The allegations stemmed from an Americans with Disabilities Act discrimination complaint filed in 2019 by an 18-year-old woman with Down syndrome.

An investigation found that during a high school outing at Scheels, a Ferris wheel attendant refused to allow the woman to ride with a classmate because of her disability.

The attendant cited a company policy requiring individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by an adult. Although a teacher assured the attendant as well as managers that the young woman could safely ride with her classmate, the staff refused service because of her disability.

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“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,” Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard said in a written statement. “Moreover, any screening policy must be based on legitimate safety requirements, and not on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities.”

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According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Scheel’s new ADA policy:

  • Prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.
  • Does not impose eligibility criteria that tends to screen out individuals with disabilities.
  • 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 text of the agreement can be read at https://www.ada.gov/scheels_sport_sa.html

The Forum has reached out for comment on the case from the Scheels headquarters office in Fargo.