A DEAF woman who was attending a work do has said she was left upset after staff at a popular Indian restaurant initially refused her entry with her service dog.

Nadine Hodgson, who is 50 and hard of hearing, attended Malik's Restaurant in Cookham on December 7 with her service dog Elvis.

She hoped to enjoy an evening with colleagues to mark the festive period and took Elvis along with her in his assistance dog uniform, which consists of a jacket and lead slip.

Slough Observer: Elvis in his uniformElvis in his uniform (Image: Natalie Ruan)

Upon arriving at the restaurant, Nadine claims she was discriminated against and initially refused entry.

Nadine said: "I was greeted by a host holding his hands up to stop me entering and telling me dogs are not allowed in the restaurant.

"I tried to explain that it was okay and that my dog is an assistance dog.

"He demanded to see his passport and I presented this to the host.

"Whilst examining it in detail and for some time, he told me that he would decide if he'd let us in or not."

Malik's confirmed that they are investigating the incident and explained their policy on assistance dogs.

A spokesperson from Malik's said: "We accommodate assistance dogs provided the dogs can be easily identified as assistance dogs or with ID."

Assistance Dogs (Uk) said all hearing dogs receive special training and health checks to minimise risk to public health and that the dogs are trained to lie quietly and not to interfere with people, food or objects.

Nadine claims to have made this clear to the host, saying "it would be illegal to deny us access."

"The host continued to make excuses telling me that the dog would be a problem for other diners."

Nadine says she went to leave, but her colleague stepped in and "smoothed things over" and the pair were allowed entry to the restaurant.

However, Nadine claims the host refused to speak or look at her for the rest of the night, having reportedly said to attendees "rudeness will not be tolerated".

"No one should have to experience what I did," Nadine said.

"This experience has knocked my confidence and I am worried about being confronted by a similar situation.

"It has been worrying me ever since and I keep playing it over and over, thinking how I could have handled it differently."

Slough Observer: Nadine, her son Jack and assistance dog ElvisNadine, her son Jack and assistance dog Elvis (Image: Nadine Hodgson)

Laws surrounding assistance dogs state that under the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal to deny a working dog access to a public place, including shops, cafes, restaurants, hospitals, medical clinics and public transport.

It is also illegal to treat a disabled person less favourably because of something connected with their disability.

Nadine raised her experience with Malik's Cookham in an email complaint on December 8 and says she did not receive a response. 

A spokesperson at Malik's Cookham said: "We are currently investigating a complaint made against a member of staff at Malik's over the identification of an assistance dog.

"The customer experience is paramount at Malik's, and in our 24 years being at the heart of the community here in Cookham we’ve never received such a complaint.

"This matter will be addressed following the investigation.

"As an award-winning establishment, we pride ourselves on our product and service."