On January 3rd, Beyoncé’s company Parkwood Entertainment LLC was hit with a class action lawsuit alleging that it denies visually-impaired individuals equal access to its website (www.beyonce.com) in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and related New York laws. The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring Parkwood to remediate its website, in addition to attorneys’ fees and money damages.
Plaintiff asserts that she is “a big fan of Beyoncé” but that the website's "thousands" of access barriers did not allow her to navigate it to learn more about Beyoncé and make online purchases. Plaintiff alleges that the website: (1) lacks accessible drop-down menus, navigation links and adequate prompting and labeling; (2) contains redundant links or empty links that contain no text; (3) does not allow users to navigate the site with a keyboard as opposed to a mouse; and (4) that many “important pictures” on the site lack a text equivalent.
This case highlights the prevalence of these website accessibility lawsuits, and serves as an important reminder for all companies to review their digital presence—e.g., websites, mobile applications and online job application systems—to assess whether they comply with the ADA and related state laws.
For an overview of the legal basis for the lawsuits, see my prior post here.