A civil rights group has achieved class status in a suit
that alleges that Target’s website is inaccessible to the blind, in violation
of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The plaintiffs fault Target for not adopting technology used
by other companies to make Web sites accessible to the blind. The technology
allows reading software to vocalize invisible code embedded in computer
graphics and describe content on a Web page.
Bottom Line: Civil rights suits alleging inaccessibility to
certain technology are often criticized for failing to allow market forces to
take effect. This argument suggests if one company’s website is not accessible,
those that cannot access it can “vote with their pocketbooks” by using other
resources. Plaintiffs in such actions often argue that some disabilities are not
substantial enough to be worth the additional time and effort required of the
enterprise to make the changes, thus requiring the ADA and similar law. While
the merits have not yet been decided, the plaintiffs were successful in
convincing the judge that class status was appropriate for this action.