Popular athletic retail giant, Reebok International LTD., is facing a monumental, class action lawsuit for discriminating against blind individuals. Jose Del Orden has sued over Reebok’s policy and practice of maintaining a website that is inaccessible, denying blind individuals equal access to the goods and services of the company’s website. The class action lawsuit aims to stop Reebok from its continued systemic civil rights violations against the blind in the state of New York and across the United States.
Plaintiff, Jose Del-Orden, is a resident of New York, is legally blind, and a member of a protected class under the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). Orden has filed this civil rights class action lawsuit against Reebok on behalf of himself and the entire class of blind individuals across the United States. Lee Litigation Group, PLLC, will represent Jose Del Orden.
Defendant, Reebok International LTD. is an American for-profit corporation that owns and operates 422 retail stores worldwide, including four locations in New York State. These stores provide important goods, such as shoes, sports equipment, clothing, and accessories, to the public. The corporation also provides these goods and services to the public on their website, Reebok.com.
- Reebok is violating basic equal access requirements under state and federal laws for failing to maintain an accessible website for blind individuals.
- com contains access barriers, blocking blind individuals from independently navigating and completing a purchase, using assistive technology.
- Reebok engaged in acts of intentional discrimination.
- Reebok failed to take corrective actions to eliminate access barriers, knowing it was causing harm and discrimination against blind individuals.
- Because of access barriers on Reebok.com website, including coupons and special pricing offers, blind individuals were being denied benefits related to goods and service at Reebok’s physical locations.
- Reebok’s refusal and failure to eliminate access barriers to Reebok.com causes blind individuals to be denied equal access to Reebok Stores, as well as the goods, services, and benefits offered to the public through the website.
- Reebok operates exclusively on a visual interface, including checkboxes and drop down menus that are inaccessible.
- Blind individuals must rely on other sighted individuals for assistance accessing and buying goods on Reebok.com.
- Blind individuals must unavoidably disclose private information, including credit card numbers, to other individuals to complete transactions on Reebok.com.
- Reebok violated statutes enacted in all fifty states, including the District of Columbia, put into place to protect disabled individuals.
Plaintiff is seeking
- A declaration that Reebok.com operates in a manner, which discriminates against blind individuals and fails to provide equal access for individuals with disabilities, as required by the ADA.
- Declaratory and injunctive relief to correct Reebok’s practices and policies to include necessary measures to ensure full compliance with state and federal law.
- Reebok must update and eliminate all accessibility barriers and monitor such measures, so blind customers can independently use Reebok.com.
- To bring Reebok.com into full compliance with the requirements of the ADA.
- For Reebok to pay compensatory damages to compensate affected class members for being subjected to unlawful discrimination.
- Plaintiff to receive compensatory damages and civil penalties and fines under N.Y.C. Administrative Code.
- Plaintiff is entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
- Any further relief the Court deems proper and just.
*This case is being tried as a class action lawsuit, affecting over 5 states and the amount in question exceeds $5,000,000; therefore, Judicial Economy will be served to avoid filing numerous lawsuits against Reebok, by individuals with disabilities, in multiple states across the United States.
This lawsuit mirrors a case settled by Target back in 2006 for over $6 million. Now, a decade has passed, and unfortunately, widespread website accessibility has still not been established, but that is quickly changing. As the Internet continues to become a life staple, being a significant source of conducting business and performing everyday activities, companies operating online are becoming a “place of public accommodation,” meaning, under Federal law, they cannot discriminate on the basis of “color, religion, national origin, or race” and must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Companies that have chosen not to make their website accessible, because they do not know how, think it will cost too much, or think it’s not important, are leaving the door wide open for a class action lawsuit similar to what Reebok is experiencing.
Well-established guidelines and tools for making a website accessible are easily available. Guidelines that have been in place for several years and have been successfully followed by other companies, making their website accessible. Reebok did not follow these guidelines, denied access to blind individuals, and now they are paying the price. No matter the outcome, the point is loud and clear: Company websites must be accessible, or they are discriminating against individuals with disabilities. In 2016, there is no excuse for having an inaccessible website. Don’t leave the door open for a lawsuit to come and find you; contact us now at sales@AuditGenie.com, make your website accessible today!