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Hollister's Porches Violate ADA, Judge Rules

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 06, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

National clothing chain Hollister's porches are not ADA compliant, according to U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel. An Abercrombie & Fitch company, Hollister store's porches are often fixtures of the "aesthetic" design of the store.

The porch entrances have several steps above ground that make it difficult for customers in wheelchairs to use.

The suit, filed in Colorado, alleged that the porch entryways were violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the Denver Post.

Hollister does provide additional entryways for disabled customers. These doors are usually located close to the porch entryways and do not have steps for customers to climb.

This allows easy access for disabled customers, the Denver Post reports. However, there are some drawbacks to the additional doors. These ground-level doors are often designed to appear like shutters, making it difficult for consumers to distinguish it as an entryway.

Plus, the judge found that the existence of these additional entryways does not make Hollister compliant with the ADA.

The ADA is federal law. It mandates that most businesses and facilities that are open to the public make ensure that their businesses provide reasonable access for the disabled.

Businesses generally need to provide reasonable accommodation for disabled customers if the accommodation is "readily achievable." This means if accommodation would come hand-in-hand with huge financial costs, a business may not be required to provide accommodations.

This evaluation is on a case-by-case basis, and is determined by the financial resources of the business, the number of people employed at the business, and the overall size of the parent company, amongst other factors.

With regards to the Hollister store porches, the judge found that making customers with disabilities enter the store using an alternative entrance was excluding them from proper enjoyment of the brand, according to the Denver Post. In essence, Hollister porches are not ADA-friendly.

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