January 27, 2020 Top Story

Use of Website Not Necessary to Sue for Discrimination

A plaintiff does not need to transact with the business to establish standing

By Onika K. Williams

A state supreme court has held that a person does not have to use a website’s services to have standing to sue the website for its alleged discriminatory terms and conditions. The court held that the plaintiff merely had to show an intent to use the website’s service, not actually use it. Accordingly, the decision opens the door to discrimination claims by potential customers. The case has divided experts, some who see the decision as significantly opening the door to more discrimination claims, while others believe it modestly extends current law.

Electronic payment service sued for user agreement discrimination

Electronic payment service sued for user agreement discrimination

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Bar Against Bankruptcy Attorneys Leads to Discrimination Suit

The conflict in White v. Square, Inc. began when a bankruptcy attorney visited a website for Square, Inc., an internet service that allows individuals and merchants to process electronic payments. Square does not charge its users a registration fee; rather, the company collects a percentage of every transaction and a flat fee for each transaction. The attorney visited Square’s website to register for its services. However, Square’s user agreement asks users to confirm that they “will not accept payments in connection with the following businesses or business activities: ... bankruptcy attorneys or collection agencies engaged in the collection of debt.”

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