LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired v. ADP TotalSource
In September 2020, DRA filed a class action suit on behalf of San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and two of its employees against payroll processing and HR giant, ADP TotalSource and its parent company Automatic Data Processing, Inc. for failing to make their industry-leading products and services accessible to blind managers and line staff.
LightHouse, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco that promotes the independence, equality and self-reliance of people who are blind or have low vision, purchased ADP’s Workforce Now human resources and payroll products and services in October 2017. Blind employees, who make up a significant portion of LightHouse’s staff, immediately began having trouble using the Workforce Now website and mobile app to perform HR-related tasks—tasks that the ADP product was meant to streamline, like punching in and out, requesting time off, and approving time off requests.
The suit, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, alleges that ADP’s cloud-based payroll and HR services are not accessible to blind professionals who use assistive technology such as screenreaders, in violation of California civil rights and anti-discrimination law.
Websites and mobile applications can easily be made accessible for individuals who use screen readers—which interact with the app’s or website’s digital elements, such as images, text, buttons, links, and headings, and convert that information into audible synthesized speech or output that information on a digital braille display. Many companies and organizations, for example in the banking and informational technology fields, have successfully made their products and services compatible with screen readers and assistive technologies. ADP has not incorporated these accessibility features into its cloud-based HR product.
The lawsuit’s demands include injunctive relief requiring ADP to make Workforce Now accessible as well as damages to compensate LightHouse for the losses it has incurred from its staff’s inability to use the product it purchased in the manner intended.