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Bamboo Dedham says sorry following discrimination complaint

Posted by Natalie Feulner  November 22, 2011 10:00 AM

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Bamboo Dedham, an Asian cuisine and sushi bar restaurant, has posted a public apology following a complaint filed by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination on behalf of a group of 13 diners who say they were denied service because several people in their party had guide dogs.

“Bamboo and Mandarin restaurants do not tolerate discrimination, and will abide with all of the conditions requested by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination to ensure that customers accompanied by service animals feel welcome and are treated appropriately at our establishments,” the statement reads.

The restaurant would not answer questions about the incident or subsequent apology, but deferred to attorney Douglas Resnick, who said the message was “part of an agreed upon resolution of an MCAD matter.” The commission also declined to comment on the case until it was “completely settled.” It did, however, provide copies of the claim.

According to documents provided by the commission, on June 26, 2011, a group of 13 diners went to Bamboo Dedham for dinner. Five members of the group require the use of guide dogs and one was in a wheelchair.

When the group arrived, they were informed by employees at Bamboo that the restaurant would need to see identification for the dogs and that they were not allowed at the buffet.

Members of the group attempted to show employees copies of Massachusetts General Law chapters 151B, 272, 98, and 98A which require equal access to places of public accommodation by persons with service dogs.

Eventually, a member of the group called the Dedham Police Department, and Officer David Chamber arrived. However, Chambers told the group that he could not require the restaurant to accommodate the customers and that they should have called ahead, the claim alleges.

Chambers was asked to contact his supervisor, who arrived but agreed with Chambers and said the law was “unclear how they define public accommodations,” according to an affidavit by Zhen Fong, a member of the group.

Ultimately, the group decided to dine at another restaurant and filed the claim a month or so later.

Natalie Feulner can be reached at natalie.feulner@gmail.com.

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