Glossier sued for violating ADA with inaccessible website

Just after opening its new permanent LA store, Glossier has been sued in NY by a visually impaired customer claiming the cult digital-first brand's website is not accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Glossier's website, the source of a new ADA website lawsuit - Glossier.com

In her complaint, activist plaintiff Kathleen Sypert is seeking a class action against Glossier whose "website is not equally accessible to blind and visually-impaired consumers."

Sypert is visually impaired and uses screen-reading software to do her e-comm shopping. She alleges that she was unable to access Glossier's "goods and services" on its website as a result of "multiple access barriers."

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has long been a consideration for brick-and-mortar space planning, with retailers and merchandisers having to ensure physical clearance in aisles and accessibility throughout their spaces, the ADA also applies to websites despite the fact the legislation was written and enacted prior to the age of e-commerce.

Attorney Thomas Bacon, who has represented previous ADA website plaintiffs, told The Fashion Law, "Case law holds that websites are considered extensions of places of public accommodation because they provide access to the goods, services, facilities, accommodations, benefits and advantages of a place of public accommodation.”

And the issue of ADA inaccessible websites has hit the fashion industry hard enough to gain the CFDA's attention. This month, Attorney Adam Michaels wrote a blog post for the CFDA warning retailers to address their websites and make sure they are accessible. He noted that New York State, where Sypert filed her case, has seen 300 ADA website cases in Q1 of 2018 alone.

Indeed, New York has seen a particularly high number of this kind of case. In addition to city and state laws that provide the opportunity to get monetary damages and attorneys fees in these cases, the plaintiffs, like Sypert, are looking for equitable changes to be made so that they can shop on the retailers' sites.

Retailers from Nike to J. Crew, Armani and Valentino have been hit with ADA website cases which generally settle out of court. 

On average, ADA web plaintiffs recover only $500 per case. Their victories are mostly moral, with the retailers updating their sites for increased accessibility.

This is not the first time Sypert has sued a retailer over ADA violations, as she previously brought a similar case against AllSaints to court, as well as other consumer product goods retailers.

Glossier has not yet responded to the lawsuit.

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