By Christopher Baxter/Statehouse Bureau
TRENTON — The popular gas and convenience store company, Wawa, has agreed to pay a Cumberland County man $12,500 to settle allegations he was illegally denied service because he was accompanied by a service dog, state authorities said today.
Patrick Stark of Millville entered his local Wawa store June 13 with a service dog, Copenhagen, to buy a sandwich, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a news release.
But he was allegedly told he would not be served unless he took the dog outside. Stark complained and tried to explain the the dog was permitted by law, but a store manager told him he must leave, the office said.
Under the settlement agreement, Wawa will post signs in all of its New Jersey stores advising that service dogs are welcome. The company has also agreed to train its company employees in the state about the laws pertaining to service animals, the office said.
The company did not admit any liability as part of its settlement with Stark and the state. Wawa entered into a separate, confidential agreement with Stark that did not involve the state. No details were disclosed about that agreement.
Stark told the state Division of Civil Rights he requires a service dog because he experiences periodic seizures and the dog is trained to assist him. Deputy Attorney General James Michael and investigator Mark McNierney handled the case.
A representative for Wawa could not immediately be reached for comment.
Read more: NJ.com