October 25, 2021

Volume XI, Number 298


October 22, 2021

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Title III Accessibility Class Actions Target Retail, Food and Hospitality Industries

Many retail, restaurant and hospitality employers are looking to technology to improve the guest experience and their bottom line. Among other things, these employers are installing self-serve touchscreen kiosks and touchscreen ordering and purchasing systems. As the e-menu trend, and touchscreens in general, find their way into stores and restaurants, entities must consider whether this new technology creates accessibility issues and legal exposure under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Title III of the ADA requires that places of public accommodation provide guests with disabilities equal opportunity to enjoy the goods and services offered.

In recent years, a wave of ADA Title III class actions have been filed against restaurants and retailers alleging that touchscreen technology creates an unlawful accessibility barrier for visually impaired customers. The types of lawsuits emerging in this area include class actions filed by advocacy groups for visually impaired individuals against owners of DVD rental kiosks alleging the kiosks are inaccessible to visually impaired individuals.

Touchscreen technology likely is here to stay. One answer to technology accessibility issues may be more or different technology. Considering the legal landscape, places of public accommodation currently using touchscreen technology or considering implementing this technology should proactively assess whether computerized self-service ordering and purchasing devices are accessible and can be used by all guests, regardless of their disability.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume V, Number 202

About this Author

John Ella, Jackson Lewis, employment contracts attorney, trade secret lawyer, drug testing legal counsel, compete litigation law

V. John Ella is a Principal in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He practices in all aspects of employment law and advises clients in the areas of employment contracts, handbooks, trade secret and non-compete litigation, drug testing law, privacy law, commission claims, defamation, sexual harassment claims, employment and housing discrimination, plant closings, ERISA benefits litigation, public accommodations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, wage and hour compliance, whistleblower and Sarbanes-Oxley claims, as well...

Nora R. Kaitfors, Employment Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law FIrm

Nora R. Kaitfors is an Associate in the Minneapolis, Minnesota office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Ms. Kaitfors practices in a variety of employment litigation matters, including drug testing law, discrimination, harassment, wage and hour claims, wrongful termination, retaliation, FMLA, ADA, and employment compliance matters.  Ms. Kaitfors also assists clients in obtaining resolution of disputes through mediation, both private and with various administrative agencies.  Ms. Kaitfors also provides training for clients on a variety of topics including the...

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