A Maryland family filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of their 11-year old son Wednesday, alleging that Colonial Williamsburg discriminated against him when he was told to eat outside one of its facilities despite having a food allergy.
The suit alleges that Colonial Williamsburg violated federal and state law by discriminating against the boy, referred to as J.D. in court documents, by not allowing him to eat his food inside Shields Tavern after his family notified staff that the boy could not eat the food there due to his allergy.
Colonial Williamsburg spokesperson Joe Straw said the foundation does not comment on pending litigation.
According to a news release from Stein & Vargas, the law firm representing J.D. and the family, the boy was part of a class field trip to Colonial Williamsburg in May and is not able to safely consume food containing wheat or gluten due to having a severe autoimmune disorder.
“After J.D. was seated at a table with his class, management learned that he could not eat their food because of his disability and told the 11-year old that if he was going to eat his food, he needed to leave immediately,” the release stated. “Although his father and his teacher both attempted to reason with management, J.D. was made to leave the facility with his father and eat outside in the rain while his classmates remained inside.”
The lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division.