2010, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued guidance that web sites of “public accommodations” are covered by Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and that they must be either (1) accessible or (2) the goods and services available on the web site must be provided in an alternative manner that affords “an equal degree of access.” Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities and Public Accommodations, 75 Fed. Reg. 43,460, at 43,466 (July 26, 2010). Proposed standards for “accessibility” of web sites are expected to be issued soon.

Even before that, however, at the end of 2013 the DOJ sued a tax return preparation website for inaccessibility under the ADA. See National Fed’n of the Blind v. HRB Digital LLC, No. 1:13-cv-10799-GAO (D. Mass). Here’s a link to the resulting consent decree: http://www.ada.gov/hrb-cd.htm.

While no court has issued a decision on the question of whether a public accommodation’s mobile application is covered by Title III of the ADA, it isn’t unreasonable to expect that to be the next shoe to drop. If you have a concern about your website and/or mobile-application, we can help you review the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA, which is a set of criteria developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium (WC3) (accessibility experts) and has been used by federal agencies such as the United States Department of Transportation for the access standard for airline web sites.

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