Lawsuit Filed Against Kohl’s for Lack of Accessibility for Customers With Disabilities

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee and Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd. filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Kohl’s Corporation and Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc. (Kohl’s), a Wisconsin-based department store retail chain. The lawsuit challenges Kohl’s for violating Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the New York Human Rights Law (NYHRL) by discriminating against customers with mobility disabilities at department store locations nationwide. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Equal Rights Center, a not-for-profit organization in DC whose members are persons with disabilities or disability rights advocates, and on behalf of Devora Fisher, Edith Prentiss, Monica Kamal, Jean Ryan, and Regina Lee, all of whom are individuals who use wheelchairs and who are Kohl’s customers.

The lawsuit alleges that after the above-mentioned individuals attempted to shop at their local Kohl’s department stores, they routinely met with accessibility barriers inside and outside the stores, preventing them from shopping independently or from shopping altogether. The ERC then undertook a survey of the accessibility of Kohl’s department stores in several states and found accessibility barriers in most of them, including: excessively narrow aisles, inaccessible sales or service counters, inaccessible merchandise displays, inaccessible parking spaces, inaccessible restroom facilities and inaccessible fitting rooms. Executives at Kohl’s were made aware of these accessibility barriers as early as 2012 but have done nothing to remove them.

By failing to remove these barriers, Kohl’s is denying equal access to the goods and services of its department stores to a significant portion of the US consumer population, and is discriminating on the basis of disability. The lawsuit aims to bring Kohl’s into compliance with the ADA and the NYHRL, and to grant equal and full access to individuals with disabilities. Everyone, including individuals with mobility impairments (who are also paying customers), deserve equal treatment, dignity, and the full enjoyment of the privileges and services of public accommodations.

A copy of the complaint is linked here.

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