Does McDonald’s Drive-Thru Discriminate Against The Blind?


Many McDonald’s switch to a drive-thru-only service late at night for safety and labor-cost reasons. And all McDonald’s prohibit ordering in the drive-thru on foot for customer safety reasons. Makes sense, right? Well, a Louisiana man is arguing that these two rules combine to create discrimination against blind customers. And he does have a bit of a point.

Scott Magee says the drive-thru only hours create a period of time when the fast-food chain is barring blind customers from ordering food, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Magee — who is blind — filed the complaint in May after attempting to order from a local McDonald’s in August of last year. Magee says he was not only turned away from the McDonald’s for being on foot, but that the employees mocked him for attempting to order.

Via the lawsuit, which was acquired by CBS Chicago:

“McDonald’s violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by prohibiting visually impaired pedestrians from ordering at drive-thru windows after restaurant lobbies are closed. While McDonald’s sighted customers can independently browse, select, and pay for products at Defendant’s drive-thrus without the assistance of others, blind people must hope for a companion with a car or paid taxi services to assist them in selecting and purchasing McDonald’s food. This lack of accessibility to the blind is particularly offensive given the sophistication and size of McDonald’s Corporation, as well as the advanced technological society in which we live today.”

Magee goes on to cite the recent changes in the menu and breakfast hours as examples of Mickey D’s adaptability, before noting that that flexible ideology doesn’t extend to blind customers.

“Curiously absent, however, from McDonald’s continued adaptation, is any concern whatsoever for the accessibility of their late night drive-thrus to the disabled,” he said.

Magee is seeking class-action so that other blind customers can join in his complaint. McDonald’s told Eater that they have not yet received the lawsuit and they do not comment on pending litigation. Check out the whole lawsuit here.