Guitar Center Sued Over Handicap Accessibility
Guitar Center was issued a class action lawsuit Jan. 2 in a Los Angeles court, alleging the musical instrument retail stores lack suitable handicap accessibility accommodations.

The suit outlines handicap accessibility obstructions at several California Guitar Center stores, including a lack of handicapped parking spaces, bathrooms containing heavy doors and high soap dispensers and hand dryers. These facilities violate the state's Unruh Civil Rights Act, according to the suit.

"Plaintiff and others similarly situated have been denied access to the benefits of the goods, services, programs, facilities and activities of defendant's stores, and have otherwise been discriminated against and have suffered damages caused by defendants' accessibility violations," the complaint said, as referenced by law360.com

Lead plaintiff Hector Velarde has a mobility disability and is dependent upon a wheelchair, according to the complaint. Velarde visited a Guitar Center in Cerritos, California, in November 2014 and says he suffered discrimination as a result of the store's lack of handicap accessibility.

Velarde was unable to use the sink, soap dispenser and toilet seat during his time in the store, according to the complaint. He said he wrote to Guitar Center November 25 to alert them of the issues, but received no response.

A private investigator inspected several Guitar Center locations across California that also lacked adequate restrooms, parking spaces and appropriate signage, said the complaint.

"To date, barriers and other violations still exist and have not been remedied or altered in such a way as to effectuate compliance with the provisions of the California Standards or the [Americans with Disabilities Act]," the lawsuit said.