Food Allergies May Qualify for Accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act

May 2, 2013

Food allergies can result in serious and even deadly injuries if ignored. Recently, as a result of a recent settlement between the federal Department of Justice and Lesley University in Massachusetts, students with serious food allergies may now qualify for accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. By applying ADA to food allergies, the Department of Justice has turned food into an access issue… access to an education in this case. This decision will likely impact both higher education as well as the primary and secondary levels. The Lesley University case involved a student who had celiac disease, and because of that, required a gluten-free diet. This was not available as part of the mandatory meal plan that the University required the student to participate in. The Department of Justice responded to a complaint from the student, entered into a settlement with the university in which Lesley University agreed to make dietary accommodations for students with special dietary needs. The implications of this settlement are likely to be far reaching and require significant changes for all levels of education in order to avoid charges of discrimination against students with special dietary needs.

Foods which are mislabeled, restaurants which ignore customers’ requests for food information because of allergies and other vendors may negligently cause catastrophic, and completely avoidable, injuries to consumers by failing to take known allergic sensitivities into account.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as a result of food product mislabeling or misrepresentations, you may be able to take action. Please contact the attorneys of Lane Brown, LLC, or call us at 312-332-1400 to speak with us about your options. We can help. To learn more about Lane Brown, please visit our website at


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