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Does Abercrombie & Fitch discriminate against disabled people?

Employers are required to comply with many state and federal regulations when it comes to certain employment practices. It can be confusing and overwhelming for people to fully understand all the requirements when it comes to hiring and firing employees and designing acceptable policies for operations. If an employer fails to comply with employment laws, he or she can face some serious consequences.

Abercrombie & Fitch has been a recent example of how questionable employment practices and policies can have a dramatic effect on a company. The CEO has made some unpopular and controversial statements regarding their hiring practices and marketing strategies, but the company recently came under fire for discriminating against people with disabilities.

Abercrombie & Fitch owns the popular clothing store Hollister. In 2009, two Colorado Hollister stores were the target of a lawsuit claiming that their entryways and sales counters are not accessible to people in wheelchairs. In 2012, the case expanded into a class-action lawsuit and now includes 248 Hollister stores across the country. 

Visitors to the Hollister stores in Colorado who were in wheelchairs say that they could not get into the store because there was no wheelchair access. Instead of entering through the front, disabled customers were required to enter through a side door. Despite the fact that Abercrombie & Fitch has argued that the side doors are wheelchair accessible, reports indicate that the side entrances are often blocked off with merchandise inside the store.

A federal judge in Denver recently sided with the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and called Hollister's entrances unfriendly to disabled customers. 

People who have been unfairly treated by a company may have a legal claim against that company in the form of a harassment or discrimination lawsuit. Not only can these lawsuits prove to be costly for employers, but a company's public image could be at stake as well.

Source: USA Today, "Judge: Hollister clothing unfriendly to disabled," May 22, 2013

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