New Scheels company policy at forbids discrimination against people with disabilities and any criteria that could screen out people with disabilities. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)
TOPEKA — An Overland Park sporting goods store has reached a settlement with federal authorities over a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and agreed to change its policies.
The allegation against Scheels All Sports comes from a complaint filed in 2019 by an 18-year-old woman with Down syndrome. An investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office found that during a high school trip, the woman was denied a ride on a Ferris wheel by an attendant who cited company policy forbidding disabled riders without an adult.
Despite assurances from teachers that the woman could ride safely, staff refused service.
“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.”
The new company policy at Scheels forbids discrimination against people with disabilities and any criteria that could screen out people with disabilities. Under the settlement, Scheels must also pay $1,000 in damages to the complainant and institute further policies to ensure staff abides by the ADA.
The Kansas U.S. Attorney’s Office will monitor the company’s conduct for three years.
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Noah Taborda started his journalism career in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri, covering local government and producing an episode of the podcast Show Me The State while earning his bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Noah then made a short move to Kansas City, Missouri, to work at KCUR as an intern on the talk show Central Standard and then in the newsroom, reporting on daily news and feature stories.