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The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) set out nearly 30 years ago to make institutional and commercial facilities accessible for people with disabilities. Despite progress and greater accessibility in general, facilities — in some cases, high-profile facilities — still struggle to meet ADA guidelines.
Consider the latest case, in which three blind Maryland residents and the National Federation of the Blind recently sued mega-retailer Walmart, alleging that the company violates the ADA because its self-checkout kiosks are not fully accessible to blind customers.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court also claims that an employee at the Walmart in Owings Mills, Md., allegedly attempted to take money from one of the plaintiffs while she was checking out at the store, according to The Albuquerque Journal.
The suit claims a store employee was helping a blind customer with a purchase at a self-checkout kiosk in July 2017 when the employee selected an option for cash back from her debit card and took $40 without her knowledge.
The plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction that would require Walmart to make its self-service kiosks throughout the United States accessible to blind customers, issue a declaration that it has been violating the ADA; and pay court costs and attorneys’ fees.
“We don’t tolerate discrimination, and we believe our checkout procedures comply with applicable law,” says Randy Hargrove, a Walmart spokesman. “When we learned of this specific situation, we looked into the matter, and as a result, the associate is no longer with the company. We take this matter seriously and will respond as appropriate with the court.”
This Quick Read was submitted by Ryan Berlin, managing editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.