Walmart is being sued by disability rights advocates who say the mega-chain has placed its payment machines too high in some stores, making them inaccessible to customers using wheelchairs and scooters. Some customers say they then have to tell cashiers their PINs to complete transactions.
The plaintiffs call it the first case of its kind, and are accusing Walmart of discriminating against disabled customers who can’t reach the point-of-sale terminals, reports Reuters.
They claim it makes it difficult for those customers to use credit or debit cards to purchase items, and that Walmart has refused to replace older terminals even while using more accessible versions in other stores.
Some customers say they’re forced to “stretch and strain upwards” to see the payment screens, while others say they’re forced to recite their personal identification numbers aloud to cashiers, risking identity theft.
“I feel unsafe when I check out,” said one customer in a statement.
The complaint was filed yesterday in the federal court in San Francisco, and accuses the chain of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and California state laws protecting the disabled. The plaintiffs want the suit to get class-action status, and force Walmart to make payment terminals fully accessible to wheelchair and scooter users.
“Wal-Mart should be an industry leader, not a defender of discrimination,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs said in a statement.
A Walmart spokeswoman replied to the complaint in a statement reading:
“Our goal is that every POS machine be accessible within the regulations and guidelines of the ADA and California law.”
The lawsuit was filed by Center for Independent Living Inc, a group based in Berkeley, California; and California residents Janet Brown and Lisa Kilgore, who both use wheelchairs. Two other disability rights groups are also involved.