Ever left a restaurant grumbling about having to pay a surcharge to assure that your meal didn’t make you sick?
For many diners with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity that’s a common occurrence, as restaurants often charge more to create a dish without wheat, barley or rye. Meanwhile, they regularly customize orders for other diners at no charge.
That unfair treatment at a P. F. Chang’s China Bistro so peeved Anna Marie Phillips that she’s suing the chain for discrimination and for violating the American with Disabilities Act. The suit alleges the restaurant violates civil and disability rights by forcing gluten-free diners to pay higher prices.
P.F. Chang’s gluten-free menu charges $1 extra for every dish while allowing other diners to change menu items for free, according to the suit. Because diners with celiac disease or gluten allergies must follow a gluten-free diet, they have no choice but to pay more. Particularly egregious are charges for items that are naturally gluten free, such as vegetable dishes, the complaint says.
Phillips’s lawyers filed the class-action lawsuit in Santa Clara County California. They’re asking the court to stop the restaurant from charging extra for gluten-free food, pay back gluten-free diners for the surcharges and order civil penalties, compensatory and punitive damages.
Maybe your corner café will think twice before charging you more for that gluten-free bread.
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