Tech & Rights

Blind Bank Customer Wins Mobile App Discrimination Case

Rabobank in the Netherlands discriminated against a blind customer by not providing equal accessibility to their mobile app for online banking.

by Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten
(Image: Sweetsola/Flickr)

The silent bank

The new version of the app was not accessible for the blind man. The bank did not respond to the man's request to access the old version of the app, which was accessible for him.

In accordance with the Equal Treatment and Disability Treatment Act, companies should make their goods and services accessible to all. If necessary, they must make effective adjustments for customers with a disability. This obligation does not apply if the requested adjustment is a disproportionate burden for the company.

Discrimination based on disability

Rabobank was unable to show that the man's request for access to the app was a disproportionate burden on the company. The bank indicated that they need to develop a new app to enable the voice-over function. However, the bank did not clarify why the old app could not be offered to the man again.

According to the judgment of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights on October 4, 2017, the bank should have responded to the man's request for a temporary solution, like access to the older, accessible version of the app. The bank therefore discriminated against the man based on disability or chronic disease.

The full text of the judgment of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights can be downloaded here.

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