updated 12:55 pm EST, Tue February 17, 2009
Apple Store disabled suit
Apple has come to a resolution with lawyers and plaintiffs in a lawsuit regarding disabled access at its San Francisco retail location, according to ifoAppleStore. Jana Overbo and Nicole Brown-Booker initiated the suit in 2007 after experiencing problems navigating the store in wheelchairs. Issues included the width of the aisles, merchandise located too high, pressure required to open the front door, theater seating and Genius Bar staff that did not offer assistance.
The settlement includes a confidential agreement on damages, legal fees and other expenses, although Apple denied any liability for the claims. The computer-maker also agreed to reduce the front door pressure, install handrails, modify the first-floor restroom, change the theater seating and install Braille panels near each elevator. The company will also train its staff on wheelchair assistance and aisle accessibility.
Although the settlement terms included structural changes for just the San Francisco location, the staff training will be given to all of the current and future retail store employees. Training topics will include moving display products to more accessible locations, while employees will also be asked to "monitor the toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom in the Apple Retail Store and insure that an adequate supply of toilet paper is placed in the upper dispenser."
Apple recently announced that its stores will undergo interior changes and reorganization, placing education and software at a higher priority than hardware. Individual sections of the stores will promote the Mac operating system, iLife software suite and iWork applications.
Amid the changes at Apple's retail locations, Microsoft will be working out the details of its own entrance into the brick-and-mortar business. The stores will also focus on software, serving as a venue to promote the upcoming Windows 7, Windows Live and Windows Mobile products.
Apple's employee training in San Francisco is scheduled for completion by June 30th, while the rest of the stores should be finished by the end of the year. Permit applications for the corrective work should be submitted by March 15th and the work completed within 30 days upon receiving approval.