Deaf Woman Sues Taco Bell Over Drive-Thru Experience
She claims drive-thru employees made it hard for her to order
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2016 5:55 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A deaf New Jersey woman who primarily communicates in sign language is suing Taco Bell, saying she found it difficult, if not impossible, to order two tacos at the fast-food chain's drive-thru window, the AP reports. Gina Cirrincione claims that on Jan. 11, she wrote her order on a slip of paper and handed it to an employee at a Taco Bell drive-thru pickup window. Her video of the exchange shows an employee trying to explain that orders are placed at the start of the drive-thru. "I will do it this one time," he then said. "After that, no more." Cirrincione says on March 15 she again wrote her order on a slip of paper and handed it to a drive-thru employee at a different Taco Bell. The note was returned and the window was shut without the order or an explanation, she said. She said she entered the store and was ignored.

Taco Bell's drive-thru system requires a customer to hear and speak, making it inaccessible to the deaf in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, the lawsuit claims. Taco Bell spokesperson Laura Nedbal said in a statement Friday that the company had not yet received the lawsuit so could not comment on it. However, she added, "Taco Bell has a fundamental policy to respect all of our customers and employees, and we are committed to maintaining an environment free of discrimination or harassment." Cirrincione wants Taco Bell to develop a policy to consider the needs of deaf customers and to train employees about their rights. She also is seeking punitive and compensatory damages.