The American Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990, ensuring that all Americans with disabilities would not be discriminated against in all “areas of public life.” With the evolution of the world wide web, the Department of Justice (the enforcing body of the ADA) placed company websites under Title III and began monitoring for compliance issues. In the past year, we have become aware of several organizations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, that have been sued by attorneys because their websites were not ADA compliant.
Website and mobile applications are a necessary reality of our everyday lives. Big giants like Target, Winn-Dixie, Hobby Lobby and Five Guys came under scrutiny and paid out million dollar settlements when litigants proved their websites discriminated against the disabled.
Approximately 54.5 million people have some type of disability in the United States. It is estimated that 10 million Americans are blind or visually impaired, while another one million are functionally deaf. When you consider the number of people with mobility issues that prevent them from using their hands, or those with mental disabilities, a large portion of Americans are prohibited in some capacity from using a computer, laptop, or mobile device.
In 2015, the Department of Justice announced that all company websites must comply with regulations beginning in 2018. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice did not give “absolute” guidelines – a checklist if you will – for companies large and small to make sure their websites comply.
We recommend that you contact your website designer in order to determine if your company’s website is in compliance with the ADA. If necessary, you may also need to contact legal counsel for additional guidance. Take the necessary steps to make your company website ADA compliant. Demonstrating leadership and fortitude for the millions of Americans with disabilities is a positive and smart business decision.