A Rockwall mother says her handicapped daughter is a victim of discrimination following a confrontation at a local nail salon Monday.
Rockwall resident Peg Bartenstein said her daughter, Julie, was not only refused service by City Nails manager Amy Le, but also was told she could only return on certain days when business was slow and would be charged double the rate for the same service. Julie, 26, is deaf and has cerebral palsy.
“Anyone who knows my daughter knows she loves to have her nails done,” Bartenstein said. “We had been to this place three times prior to Monday.”
Bartenstein went on to say that the staff had been courteous and seemed to handle the additional challenge of dealing with her daughter’s condition, without complaint. That all changed during their most recent visit.
“Amy was very nasty to my daughter and told her she’d no longer be able to do her nails,” Bartenstein said. “She said it took too much time and other customers were waiting. But, Julie’s caretaker took her to the shop when it first opened and there was only one other customer at the time.”
Amy Le declined to comment but sons Kevin and Steven Le confirmed Bartenstein’s claims.
“She shakes her fingers too much,” Kevin said. “If she wasn’t shaking it would be fine, but it takes two hours to finish.”
Steven also verified the accusation of an additional charge for future visits.
“A manicure takes about 30 minutes, but she can’t control her body and it takes two people and we’re very tired when we finish,” he said. “Amy cannot handle her. I told her to come back but it will cost double.”
Julie’s mother said she had a good relationship with Kevin and Steven in the past, but their excuse was a bit exaggerated.
“I told her she’d never go that shop again and she said she’d really miss Kevin and Steven,” Bartenstein said. “I always tipped them well because Julie can be a challenge and I appreciated their hard work. But, there’s no way it ever took two hours to finish.”
Bartenstein went on to say she felt her daughter had been wrongfully-discriminated against.
“In my opinion, this is total and absolute discrimination and I was under the impression that the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) forbids this,” she said.
When asked if City Nails had a right to refuse service or increase the prices for reason of disabilities, Stephanie Myers, Accessibility and Disability Rights Coordinator in the Governor’s office said, “absolutely not.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Herald-Banner was still waiting for official ADA documentation from Austin.