DOJ forces online grocer Peapod to make website accessible to disabled

The Justice Department reached an agreement Monday with Peapod, a popular Internet grocer, to settle claims that the company's website discriminated against people with disabilities.

The agreement forces Peapod LLC and parent company Ahold USA to update so assistive technologies like text-to-speech and Braille displays function with the site.

The DOJ hailed the action as ensuring that anti-discrimination laws under the Americans with Disabilities Act apply to Internet businesses as well as brick and mortar stores.

"This agreement ensures that people with disabilities will have an equal opportunity to independently and conveniently shop online for groceries," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, of the department's civil rights division. 

"We applaud Peapod for working cooperatively with the department and for its commitment to customers with disabilities."

Peapod will be required to adopt a formal web accessibility policy, hire an accessibility coordinator, auto test the website for openness and solicit feedback from customers on how site can be improved.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a company cannot exclude, deny service to, segregate or treat differently people who are hearing or vision impaired.

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