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Disability-bias suit seeks promotional video captions

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A hearing-impaired Los Angeles man is suing the Bed Bath & Beyond retail chain, complaining that it fails to provide captions or transcripts for the promotional videos that play in the aisles of its stores.

The suit alleges that the videos—which demonstrate household products—offer valuable information to shoppers, helping them make better buying decisions. But the man claims the lack of captions or transcripts make that info inaccessible to hearing-impaired people like him.

The plaintiff in the case has filed numerous suits in California courts over a variety of issues. On the same day he sued Bed Bath & Beyond, he filed at least five other access lawsuits in L.A. Superior Court against other public accommodations. He and his lawyer may be planning serial claims alleging the same kind of bias against hearing-impaired customers.

It’s not without precedent. Two years ago, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the ADA compels the Washington Redskins to provide captioning of the lyrics to the songs playing while the football team’s cheerleaders dance.

Note: Although this case doesn’t directly involve employment law, it could affect your company. If you use videos to interact with your customers, make sure they are captioned or otherwise accessible to hearing-impaired viewers. When videos are provided by third-party vendors, ask them to provide captions—and agree to indemnify you should you be sued for displaying inaccessible content.

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