A United States Department of Justice investigation found Comfort Inn and Suites in Conway, owned by Umang Patel, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a DOJ settlement agreement filed in March.

According to the agreement between the United States and Conway Lodging, or Comfort Suites, the investigation carried out by the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office for the DOJ found the business violated the Americans with Disabilities Act "by failing to modify its policies, practices, or procedures to allow the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability without making inquiries pertaining to documentation, including proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal."

The complainant alleged that on Sept. 27, 2012 the business discriminated against people with disabilities and denied equal access to people with disabilities who use service animals.

Further, the complainant told the DOJ an employee requested documentation of the service animal, and the complainant was told he could not stay in the hotel without documentation for the service animal.

The agreement states the man produced documentation of the service animal so that he could stay at the hotel.

Under the agreement, the business and its operator shall be afforded accommodations "equal to that afforded to other individuals."

Further, the business agreed to modify policies and procedures to permit the use of a service animal by individuals with disabilities without requiring verification of the person’s need for the service animal.

The business and Patel were required to provide training for employees on the business’ service animal policy within 90 days of the agreement’s effective date, Jan. 17, 2014.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)