MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A veteran with a service-related disability reached a $75,000 settlement Wednesday after her employer refused to allow her service animal to come to work.
Laura Ritt was continuously denied requests to bring River, her service dog, to work at the Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s St. Paul Park refinery. The company continued to deny her requests even after a psychiatric nurse practitioner disclosed Ritt’s diagnosis and explained how River would help her disability-related symptoms to at work.
River was trained to provide Ritt with physical and mental comfort; the service dog could also move physical barriers in Ritt’s work building.
On Sep. 23, 2019, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights found probable cause that the St. Paul Park refinery violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The act requires employers to accommodate the known disability of an employee.
Under the terms of the settlement, St. Paul Park refinery must ensure employees with disabilities can perform their job without facing discrimination. The company must also provide anti-discrimination and anti-bias training to address implicit bias.