Posted on Jun 13, 2013

Have you seen this quote on Facebook?

"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. We go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive, all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong in our clothes, and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

This is a statement that Michael Jeffries, the 61-year-old CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister stores, made in 2006.  The statement has been making the Facebook rounds and has caused a recent backlash against the company. However, this is not the only problem currently facing Abercrombie & Fitch. The company doesn’t only discriminate again the not-so-cool kids; a federal judge has ruled that it is also discriminating against those with disabilities.

In 2009, the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition filed a lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and J.M. Hollister, LLC. They said that the company was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because the stores did not have accessible entry way doors and because countertops were too high for those in wheelchairs. Abercrombie & Fitch said the side doors, which have artificial steps leading up and down, met regulations at the time of construction.

In March, Federal judge Wiley Daniel agreed with the Colorado coalition. He ruled against 248 stores in March and said that the stores were discriminating against the disabled by not providing sufficient access for those in wheelchairs and those with limited mobility. He ordered that the problem be fixed.

The company has said that fixing the doors would be too expensive. They claim that they would be forced to close each store for ten days at a total cost of $8 million. Judge Daniel is now considering an injunction against the company. An injunction is a court order that would require the changes to be made.

In 2009, an English employee filed a lawsuit against the company after she was asked to leave the sales floor and work in a stockroom because her prosthetic arm did not meet the company’s image standards. She was awarded £9,000 (English pounds).

For more information on this, or for help with your own disability claim, contact us today.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska