BJ’s Wholesale Club Website Access for the Blind ADA Class Action

This civil rights action concerns not discrimination on the basis of race or sex but the lack of access guaranteed to certain classes of disabled persons by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The complaint for this class action alleges that BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. does not make its website accessible to the blind.

The class for this action is all legally-blind individuals in the US who have tried to access BJ’s Wholesale Club’s website and have not been provided equal access to the goods and services offered, during the statutory period. A New York State subclass has also been defined, for legally-blind individuals in New York State.

People are classified as legally blind if they have a visual acuity equal to or less than 20/200. Some of these people have limited vision; others have none. 
The number of visually-impaired or blind people is substantial, with approximately 8.1 living in the US and 400,000 in New York State.

The ADA sets standards to make public accommodations accessible to individuals with various kinds of handicaps, to eliminate discrimination against them in public life. The complaint claims that “[s]uch discrimination includes barriers to full integration, independent living, and equal opportunity for persons with disabilities, including those barriers created by websites and other accommodations that are inaccessible to blind and visually impaired persons.”

The World Wide Web Consortium, an international standards body, has developed Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that major companies and government entities follow. They allow the use of screen readers by such measures as adding alternative text in place of images and enabling websites to be used with keyboard commands.  

The Internet is more and more necessary for everyday life. It offers information, job listings, and the opportunity to buy goods and services. This can be particularly important to people who have limited mobility because they are not sighted. 

BJ’s website offers thousands of different products for sale, information on its locations, services and opportunities related to its products, and other information about the stores and company.

Plaintiff David DiCarlo is legally blind and uses a screen reader. He tried to use the BJ’s website to buy an HP-brand computer. Unfortunately, the complaint says, the website has barriers to access, including the following:

  • Incorrect focus order
  • Inability to skip repeated blocks of content
  • Lack of keyboard access
  • Insufficient labeling
  • Use of images of text rather than text

The complaint alleges that the company has violated the ADA, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York State Civil Rights Law.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Civil Rights

Most Recent Case Event

BJ’s Wholesale Club Website Access for the Blind ADA Complaint

November 16, 2018

This civil rights action concerns not discrimination on the basis of race or sex but the lack of access guaranteed to certain classes of disabled persons by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The complaint for this class action alleges that BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. does not make its website accessible to the blind.

bjs_wholesale_ada_compl.pdf

Case Event History

BJ’s Wholesale Club Website Access for the Blind ADA Complaint

November 16, 2018

This civil rights action concerns not discrimination on the basis of race or sex but the lack of access guaranteed to certain classes of disabled persons by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The complaint for this class action alleges that BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. does not make its website accessible to the blind.

bjs_wholesale_ada_compl.pdf
Tags: Americans with Disabilities Act, Civil Rights, Legally Blind