Man sues to get his miniature horse into Gamestop and Marshalls
“A paraplegic man claims in court that GameStop and Marshalls violated his civil rights by refusing to let him enter their stores with his assistance animal: a miniature horse named Princess who pulls his wheelchair,” Courthouse News Service reports.
For those unaware, the Department of Justice’s latest regulations implementing Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act “ADA” require hotels, restaurants, stores, and other places of public accommodation to modify “policies, practices, or procedures” to accommodate miniature horses as service animals. You can read about the miniature horse regulation here.
According to the complaint the stores should have accommodated Princess:
“Princess’ height is 29 inches. Her width is 12 inches. Her length is 31 inches. Her weight is 115 pounds. Plaintiff has been professionally trained to control Princess and can do so without difficulty. Defendants’ facility is large enough to accommodate Princess. Princess is housebroken. Princess’ presence in defendants’ facility does not compromise the legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for its safe operation.”
The folks at ChipChick, a gaming site, has an interesting take on the lawsuit:
It’s hard to blame the store employees too much – chances are most people in that situation wouldn’t know exactly how to handle something like a miniature horse. I feel like that’s not in the training manual.
ChipChick is exactly right — most employees wouldn’t know what to do if a customer entered the store with a miniature horse. That is precisely why the ADA requires employers to train their employees as to what the law requires.
Gamestop’s alleged failure to train its employees is especially disappointing. (But maybe not all that surprising, most of my experiences there have been miserable — the prices are high, and their employees always push you to preorder some upcoming title and buy the rewards card). One would think that Gamestop would be at the forefront of ADA compliance. The whole appeal of video games is the medium’s ability to transport you beyond the physical limitations of being human. And as such, a considerable percentage of Gamestop’s consumers are people with disabilities (some studies say as many as 20% of casual gamers have disabilities). Gamestop should pursue these consumers. Training their employees on how to accommodate people with disabilities should be a priority — not just because it is the law but because it would be good business.
Tiny top hat tip: Amy W. and Jeff E.