A Denver federal judge has ordered the clothing retailer Hollister to make all store entrances wheelchair accessible by 2017. The ruling forces the clothing chain to redesign the entrances of 231 of its stores.
The lengthy legal battle began after Julie Farrar, a policy analyst with the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition, encountered steps at a Westminster, Colo., Hollister store entrance while shopping with her daughter and subsequently sued. Hollister contested the lawsuit, saying that alternative side entrances were offered, but disability advocates argued it violates the 23-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act.
Farrar is puzzled as to why Hollister dragged the case out, but she’s happy with the ruling. “It sends a great message that it’s not acceptable to build things that are not accessible,” she says. Farrar adds that the federal courts have again agreed that people with disabilities have the right to enjoy equal access to the same things as everybody else.
Hollister was unable to be reached for comment.