The case between Gisele Mesnage, who is blind, and Coles online has settled amicably, with Coles agreeing to make improvements to its shopping website that will make it more accessible.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) represented Ms Mesnage in this legal case.
‘Ms Mesnage relies on a screen-reader to use the internet. Like many people who are blind or have a vision impairment, she has had ongoing problems using the Coles website to do her shopping since 2008,’ said PIAC CEO, Edward Santow.
‘After negotiations with Coles failed to bring about a lasting solution, in October 2014, Ms Mesnage brought legal proceedings against Coles under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
‘This settlement is a victory for equality. If you’re blind, it is impossible to do your grocery shopping in a store without assistance. Accessible online grocery shopping is fundamental to allowing our client and other blind people to live independently,’ said Mr Santow.
‘I am delighted that the case has settled with such a positive outcome,’ said Ms Mesnage.
‘It demonstrates Coles’ commitment to recognising the importance of accessibility and improving the online shopping experience for everyone.
‘Online shopping enables people living with disabilities, especially those who are blind or have low vision, to live more independently, saving the time and transport costs and empowering them to do this ordinary domestic task, grocery shopping, on their own.
‘I congratulate Coles on taking this important step and call on other online shopping sites to follow suit.
‘I would also like to thank Bentham IMF, Australia’s leading litigation funder, for backing my case as part of its pro bono program,’ Ms Mesnage said.
MEDIA CONTACT: PIAC Senior Media and Communications Officer, Gemma Pearce: 0478 739 280.
From left: Graeme Innes, Gisele Mesnage, Michelle Cohen (photo Gemma Pearce).