Burt’s Bees Website Not Accessible to the Visually-Impaired ADA Class Action

Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) so that those with disabilities could have full access to public accommodations and live independently, without requiring help for most everyday activities. The complaint for this class action alleges that the Burt’s Bees Products Company violates the ADA because it does not maintain a website that is accessible to the visually-impaired.  

The class for this action is all legally-blind individuals in the US who have tried to access Burtsbees.com and have been denied access to the enjoyment of goods and services offered there during the relevant statutory period.

The action has been brought against Burt’s Bees and its parent, the Clorox Company, on behalf of the roughly 8.1 million blind or visually-impaired persons in the US, including the 400,000 or so who live in New York. People are considered legally blind if they have a visual acuity equal to or less than 20 x 200. Some of these people have no vision at all; others have limited vision.

The Internet has become a necessity for people nowadays, including to obtain information and order consumer items. This is particularly necessary for the visually-impaired because they may not be able to drive themselves around in order to shop. 

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international website standards organization which has published website accessibility guidelines. The complaint says that these are followed by government agencies and large businesses. 

The federal government has also established website accessibility standards which include such things as adding invisible alt-text to graphics, ensuring that all functions can be performed by a keyboard, and adding headings for easier navigation. These functions allow the visually-impaired to use screen readers that give them full use of the websites’ functions.

The website for Burt’s Bees offers goods, price specials, retail locations, and other advantages, the complaint says. If the visually-impaired do not have equal access to the website, they miss out on equal participation, the complaint says. This includes such things as connecting with the company on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, purchasing products online, learning of job openings, and otherwise acquiring information about the company. 

According to the complaint, the website lacks alt-text for graphics, navigation links, adequate prompting and labeling, image maps, and accessible forms; it has inaccessible drop-down menus and offers of “free stuff” and does not allow customers to make purchases except through the use of a mouse.

The complaint alleges violations of the ADA as well as New York State’s Human Rights Law and Civil Rights Law.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Civil Rights

Most Recent Case Event

Burt’s Bees Website Not Accessible to the Visually-Impaired ADA Complaint

October 12, 2018

Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) so that those with disabilities could have full access to public accommodations and live independently, without requiring help for most everyday activities. The complaint for this class action alleges that the Burt’s Bees Products Company violates the ADA because it does not maintain a website that is accessible to the visually-impaired.  

burts_bee_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

Burt’s Bees Website Not Accessible to the Visually-Impaired ADA Complaint

October 12, 2018

Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) so that those with disabilities could have full access to public accommodations and live independently, without requiring help for most everyday activities. The complaint for this class action alleges that the Burt’s Bees Products Company violates the ADA because it does not maintain a website that is accessible to the visually-impaired.  

burts_bee_complaint.pdf
Tags: Accessibility, Civil Rights, Legally Blind