Health

Judge: Hollister Guilty of Discriminating Against Disabled Customers

| by Lauren Schiff
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The ‘hip’ porch-like main entrances into Hollister Co. stores may provide some customers with a certain vibe, however the company is now being legally reprimanded for them.

Hollister, an Abercrombie & Fitch offshoot, has been fighting charges which argue that its stores are discriminating against potential customers in wheelchairs because their porch steps cause their main doors to be inaccessible.

Apparently, the brand has actually been dealing with complaints about its entrances for a while, as it has been embroiled in a legal battle for four years, per the Daily Mail.

Wiley Daniel, U.S. District Judge, notes that Hollister’s “inaccessible porches violate the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).” The law, writes the Daily Mail, “prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.” Customers in wheelchairs should, under the act, be able to utilize the same doors, whether technically handicapped or not.

Hollister, Co.’s main argument is that they do indeed provide doors which are wheelchair accessible, located slightly to the sides of their porch entrances. These ground-level doors, they say, are meant to be used by all customers alike.

Daniel, however, points out that the Hollister stores were built after the ADA had been passed, and thus are required to provide entrances equally accessible by all. The judge argues that by using the porch entrances, Hollister Co. “unnecessarily created a design for their brand that excludes people using wheelchairs from full enjoyment of the aesthetic for that brand.”

Anita Hansen, one customer who argues against Hollister, Co., says she personally faced problems attempting to navigate through a few of the store’s locations. “In that store, I am more aware of my handicap,” she says. “I don't feel I have a disability when I shop somewhere else because I don't need help to get around.” This is the problem the ADA attempts to remedy.

The Abercrombie & Fitch brand has had discrimination issues before, and recently was under fire for not making sizes large enough for customers who were overweight.

Daniel ruled today that the center front entrances, specifically of the Hollister Co. stores at Park Meadows Mall and the Orchard Town Center mall, do indeed violate the ADA.

Sources: Daily Mail, Denver Post