In 2009, when Julie Farrar took her pre-teen daughter to a Hollister clothing store in Westminster, Colo., she was shocked the store’s main entrance had steps. “It was surprising that something like that would be built and deemed acceptable,” says the wheelchair user from Denver.
Farrar brought legal action against two stores and the case morphed into a class-action suit against 248 Hollister stores. Hollister, a brand of Abercrombie & Fitch, maintains they are ADA compliant because chair users can enter through shutter-covered side doors. Farrar says the store violates the ADA because they built new construction with barriers.
This spring a federal judge ruled Hollister’s entrances violate the ADA and he ordered the company to work out a solution with disability advocates. Little progress has been made and Farrar doesn’t understand why. “I feel they’re being dragged kicking and screaming with their eyes and ears shut,” she says. Farrar says Hollister’s failure to cooperate will hurt them because they will be left with costly legal bills.
Farrar would return to Hollister if they remove the steps. “I would like Hollister to do the right thing and set an example as far as being leaders in the business community,” she says.