I know you're trying to find out if you're legally required to make your website accessible in the U.S. UU. If your website is commercial in nature (you sell goods or services), then that does become a resounding yes. Let's briefly look at the 12 categories that the ADA considers places of public accommodation.
A) an inn, hotel, motel or other place of accommodation, except an establishment located within a building containing no more than five rooms for rent or rent and which is actually occupied by the owner of such establishment as the residence of such owner; B) a restaurant, bar or other establishment serving food or drink; C) a movie theater, theater, concert hall, stadium or other exhibition entertainment venue; E) a bakery, grocery store, clothing store, hardware store, shopping mall or other establishment selling or renting; F) a laundry, dry cleaning, bank, hairdresser, beauty salon, travel service, shoe repair, funeral home, gas station, office of an accountant or lawyer, pharmacy, insurance office, professional office of a health care provider, hospital or other service establishment; G) a terminal, depot or other station used for specific public transportation; H) a museum, library, gallery or other place of public exhibition or collection; I) a park, zoo, amusement park, or other recreation location; J) a daycare center, elementary school, high school, private undergraduate or graduate school or other place of education; K) a daycare center, senior center, homeless shelter, food bank, adoption agency or other establishment of a social service center; and L) a gym, spa, bowling alley, golf course or other place of exercise or recreation. But it's important to remember that, in a way, it's the plaintiffs' law firms that make the decision because they're the ones who decide who to send demand letters to. And, since you're very unlikely to enter into a technical legal battle with customers, the practical result is that if you have a website, it's best to make it accessible. Now, is it very unlikely that some will receive a compliance letter or demand from the ADA website? But the more commercial your website is, the more it becomes open season for serial web accessibility claimants.
If your website is connected to a physical location, there is a good chance that you are in the web accessibility demand group. If your website is only web-based, you can still be sued and even theoretically lose a case on the merits in court. Web-based businesses without physical presence are increasingly being swept away by ADA compliance. Although not all courts agree on this, plaintiffs' law firms simply resort to courts that do.
Indeed, even companies without a physical location are completely vulnerable to web accessibility demands. You originally wondered if your website should be ADA compliant, but the best question is how likely are you to receive a demand letter. Again, if you have a physical location (for example,. Must have an accessible web presence.
If your website is a commercial activity; if you sell products or services or if financial transactions are made on your website, then you better make sure that your website is accessible. From there, it's a sliding scale of your risk. For example, maybe you're an independent contractor, like an architect who has a full informational website with blog and contact information. This type of website is much less likely to receive a demand letter than a bank, but it is not inconceivable that the plaintiffs' law firm will send a demand letter.
The main reason I say that all websites should be accessible is because there is no definitive law on web accessibility for private entities in the United States. Instead, the legal standard is just a continuous record of what feels right in the spirit of the ADA. Plaintiffs' law firms operate on ambiguity and are combining disability discrimination claims that look legitimate and not as a mere appropriation of money at first sight. Of course, 98% of these lawsuits are ultimately just a grab of money, but it doesn't matter in terms of how you, as a website owner, react.
You need to make your website accessible because the law is being invented as we go along. Perhaps, technically, your website is not a “place of public accommodation” (the ADA requires accessibility from places of public accommodation), but it is a moot point because plaintiffs' lawyers don't mind sending you a demand letter to test the waters. Once you receive that demand letter, it will be more efficient for you to settle with them for several thousand less than what it would cost to have a defense attorney (most likely a prosecutor from another state if you are not in New York, California or Florida) litigate the case. By then, it doesn't matter if you can reference a technically sound legal defense blog post online that you've lost.
Technically, you win in the online message board law. So yeah, I would make my website accessible if I were you. Beyond legal requirements, accessibility is very beneficial, as everyone can better interact with your website. This will provide an excellent overview of the current picture and give you a clear idea of how best to proceed to make your website accessible.
An audit identifies all accessibility issues found on your website. The solution is the solution of all the problems found in the audit to make your website accessible. Do you love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app. As a general rule, if Title II or Title III of the ADA applies to your organization, your website must meet the requirements.
Titles I and II include companies with 15 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor organizations. There are no direct legal requirements in the ADA for websites and digital resources. Your ultimate goal should be to avoid lawsuits by accommodating most users who have some type of disability. People with disabilities should feel that they are not excluded and that a reasonable effort is made to remove the barriers they face when using their online services.
Until Congress acts to clarify the ADA, courts and regulators will likely continue to cite WCAG as the “gold standard for ADA compliance.”. And if you didn't create your website to be ADA compliant, there's a good chance that you have “accessibility issues” on every page of your website, and that you get a demand letter from an attorney threatening to sue you could arrive sooner than you think. Most ADA widgets allow visitors to your website to change font size, contrast, readability, and make other adjustments to suit their disability. Local and state government websites must be accessible under Title II of the ADA and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
You may have heard of all the lawsuits that are filed and lost because of ADA compliance for websites. An ADA-compliant website also creates more business opportunities by giving exposure to a wider audience. But to answer the debated question about whether your website should be ADA compliant, we first need to establish some background that will help us understand why this question is so relevant today. With an increase in commercial litigation lawsuits around ADA compliance for websites, more companies are sounding the alarm and wondering if their site should be ADA compliant and what they can do to prevent such lawsuits.
While the ADA does not provide established guidelines for website compliance, many organizations follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). You really should subscribe to a third-party monitoring service that frequently scans your website for ADA violations to keep abreast of their compliance. If you follow these guidelines at least up to Level AA, ADA compliance shouldn't be a problem for your company. So is following WCAG really what makes a website ADA compliant? Remember, there is no mention in the whole context of the Americans with Disabilities Act about what makes a website ADA-compliant, since it doesn't even mention digital properties.