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Disability Rights Advocates Sue Wal-Mart over Payment Machine Access
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In what is called the first lawsuit of its kind, a complaint was filed with the federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday accusing Wal-Mart of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and California state laws protecting the disabled. Plaintiffs say that Wal-Mart discriminates against the disabled by mounting “point of sale” terminals despite other stores using more accessible equipment. The lawsuit seeks class action status.

Bill Lann Lee, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said in a statement, “Wal-Mart should be an industry leader, not a defender of discrimination.” The lawsuit also seeks a permanent injunction against Wal-Mart requiring point-of-sale terminals to be fully accessible to people in wheelchairs and scooters. The plaint mentioned that Wal-Mart’s policy makes it difficult or impossible for disabled customers to pay for goods with credit or debit cards and Wal-Mart consistently refuses to replace these terminals.

Ashley Hardie, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said in a statement that Wal-Mart is committed to serving disabled people. She said, “Our goal is that every POS machine be accessible within the regulations and guidelines of the ADA and California law.”

  
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However, according to the complaint, some customers are forced to “stretch and strain upwards” to see Wal-Mart’s view screens, while others risk identity theft by being compelled to provide their personal identification numbers to cashiers verbally.

The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Independent Living Inc on behalf of California residents Janet Brown and Lisa Kilgore, both of who use wheelchairs. Brown said in a statement “I feel unsafe when I check out,” due to the compulsion of providing personal identification numbers to cashiers.

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