A class action suit against the well-known coffee corporation Starbucks will be allowed to move forward after a judge ruled on the matter. According to the claim at the center of the case, the company is guilty of ignoring the federal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiffs allege that the beverage pick-up counters in all of its coffee shops are too high for many individuals with disabilities and that the company has been aware of the issue since 2005.
The claim went on, suggesting that thousands of individuals have been discriminated against due to the height of the counters, potentially putting many at risk of injury since the counters in question are used to provide hot beverages. The suit wants the corporate company to modify all of its stores by lowering the counters so that disabled individuals are no longer discriminated against nor put at risk. The company has also been accused of using a common design throughout all of its stores -- including those in Houston, Texas -- meaning that the high countertops were part of the general design concept for each and every location.
Starbucks denied this allegation and has allegedly introduced a lower location for beverage delivery in stores across the world since the lawsuit was filed last year in May. A legal representative for the class represented by the lawsuit said that the introduction of such a modification was news to him.
Violations of the ADA such as this one can result in citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as long as workers are affected. It is likely that some individuals victimized by the inadequate counter heights at many of the coffee giant's shops have been burnt by hot coffee during attempts to retrieve the beverages they purchased. Imagine such a situation with a heavy piece of equipment or machinery. Without ADA accessibility, companies can increase the safety risks of employees and customers alike. OSHA may even find that some of these to be willful violations. If you have suffered an injury due to such an inadequacy, reach out to a legal professional as soon as possible.
Source: Legal News, "Federal judge says ADA class action against Starbucks can proceed, include all Calif. stores" Jessica M. Karmasek, Jun. 19, 2013