As reported in the Pioneer Press, a disabled plaintiff has filed lawsuits against Carver County, Chanhassen and Norwood Young America, alleging that non-accessible websites violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act and other laws. Although these website accessibility ADA lawsuits are common in states such as New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and California, this is the first known case to be filed by a Minnesota plaintiff in a Minnesota court.
Although the law is not entirely clear, the following actions will reduce your risk of getting sued:
- Improve the accessibility of your websites and apps. Use the WCAG2.0[2.1]AA as a guide.
- Consider engaging an experienced website accessibility consultant to help you. Your results will be better, and engaging an independent third party consultant will provide a stronger legal defense if you are sued.
- Adopt, post and follow an appropriate accessibility statement.
- Continue to monitor and improve accessibility to avoid backsliding as you post new content.
- Offer an alternate method of obtaining information, such as a 24/7 telephone line.
- Require all technology vendors to warrant the accessibility of the items they provide.
- Designate an “Accessibility Coordinator” to oversee your effort.
- If you are sued or receive a demand letter regarding website accessibility, seek legal counsel and investigate whether you can shift the risk to an existing insurer or to a vendor who provided the website or app.