Celiac Disease Foundation responds to gluten-free P.F. Chang’s lawsuit

Lana Bandoim's picture

The Celiac Disease Foundation issued a response to the lawsuit about the gluten-free menu at P.F. Chang’s restaurant. Anna Marie Phillips started a class action lawsuit against the chain because the gluten-free menu is more expensive than the regular menu. The foundation views the issue from another point of view.

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Anna Marie Phillips is suing P.F. Chang’s restaurant and claiming it is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by charging people with celiac disease more for the gluten-free menu. The Celiac Disease Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on education and advocacy. It is not supporting the class action lawsuit.

The CEO of the Celiac Disease Foundation, Marilyn G. Geller, stated: “Celiac Disease Foundation recognizes that restaurants bear a financial burden for the employee training and other accommodations that are required to serve meals that are safe for those with celiac disease.”

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On the other hand, attorney Mark Heller offers a different view on the situation: “Having a dietary issue is a disability. To have to pay a premium price is discriminatory, and there is legal basis for a case. It would be like installing a handicapped ramp and then charging people a dollar to use it."

Anna Marie Phillips claims that P.F. Chang’s restaurant is adding an unfair surcharge to the gluten-free menu that places a burden on people with celiac disease. She considers the disorder a disability that falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Phillips thinks the extra charges are discrimination, and P.F. Chang’s should not charge more for the items.

P.F. Chang’s adds an extra $1 for gluten-free items. However, Anna Marie Phillips points out that the charges are applied to items such as vegetables, which naturally do not have gluten, and she views this as unfair. The class action lawsuit seeks a payment of $4,000 for each violation of the ADA, so Phillips’ lawyers believe it will easily cost millions. The case is currently in the U.S. District Court for Northern California.

Read more about celiac disease:
Doctors ignore proper celiac disease diagnosis and care
Celiac disease tripled in children in last 20 years

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