Peloton being sued for classes missing closed captioning in violation of New York State Human Rights Law

Peloton is being sued in New York State Court over a lack of closed captioning in some of their classes, which is a violation of New York City Human Rights Law. The case, which is hoping for class action status, is Phillip Sullivan Jr. v. Peloton Interactive, Inc, and was filed on December 10th, 2020.

The filing notes that this is a civil rights suit:

Plaintiff brings this civil rights class action against Defendant for failing to design, construct, and/or own or operate the Peloton App in a manner that is reasonably accessible to, and independently usable by, deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

The main claim being made in the lawsuit is as follows:

Plaintiff is legally deaf and therefore a member of a protected class under the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law. Plaintiff cannot access the audio portion of a video without the assistance of closed captioning. Due to the Peloton App’s lack of closed captioning, Plaintiff has been denied reasonable access to the goods, services, and benefits offered through Defendant’s Peloton App. Most recently in October 2020, Plaintiff attempted to watch several videos on the Peloton App, including “10 Minutes Stretching,” but could not comprehend the content of the videos due to their lack of closed captioning. Plaintiff has experienced a similar lack of captioning issues with other videos posted on the Peloton App, as provided below. The general inaccessibility of the Peloton App has deterred Plaintiff and all other similarly situated deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals from reasonably accessing the Peloton App.

In the lawsuit, it specifically mentions that the following classes (“among many others”) were attempted but no closed captioning was available:

  • 2 minute Warm-Up
  • 3 minute Warm-Up
  • 10 minute Arms Toning
  • 10 minute Stretching

What is not specifically mentioned anywhere in the lawsuit:

  • The instructor, date & time of the classes attempted above
  • Whether the classes were taken live, or on-demand
  • What Peloton Digital platform was used (iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, etc)
  • Whether other classes were tried that did include closed captioning

Editor’s Note: Closed captioning is available for a large number of on-demand classes on the Peloton Bike, Peloton Tread, and Peloton Digital iOS app. As mentioned above, the suit does not note what platform they were attempting the classes on, and whether they were live or on-demand, or the exact date of the classes. Due to this it isn’t clear if the issue is they were using a platform where they totally aren’t supported, or if they were finding various classes where closed captions are missing on a platform that supports it.

The lawsuit is seeking both an order to force Peloton to include closed captioning in all their classes, as well as compensatory damages.

The initial existence of this suit was first reported by TMZ a few days ago. We will provide an update to this case once it is available.

Chris L
Chris is the founder of Pelo Buddy. He purchased his Peloton in 2018, and has been riding and running ever since. You can find him on the leaderboard at #PeloBuddy.

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