While website and mobile accessibility compliance continues to be a litigation risk under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), companies should be aware of other statutes and regulations that also contain accessibility requirements.
For example, the following four federal statutes contain accessibility requirements that apply in particular circumstances:
- Section 504 Rehabilitation Act (for recipients of federal funding);
- Section 508 Rehabilitation Act (for technology sold to the federal government);
- Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (for specific parts of certain health care programs); and
- Air Carrier Access Act (for airline carriers).
In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has begun addressing accessibility in its latest consumer protection regulations. First, the recently effective CFPB Prepaid Card Rule (originally covered here) requires that pre-acquisition disclosures provided electronically be "provided in a manner which is reasonably expected to be accessible in light of how a consumer is acquiring the prepaid account, in a responsive form, and using machine-readable text that is accessible via Web browsers or mobile applications, as applicable, and via screen readers."
Second, in the CFPB's proposed rule implementing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the CFPB proposed that electronic delivery of the validation notice be provided in a responsive format that is reasonably expected to be accessible on a screen of any commercially available size and via commercially available screen readers. In making this proposal, the CFPB argued that "unless a debt collector knows that a consumer does not use a screen reader, it also may be unreasonable for a debt collector to expect that a consumer has actual notice of an electronic disclosure that is not machine readable."
Further, a recent California state court decision highlights how plaintiffs may use California's Unruh Civil Rights Act to bring claims concerning website accessibility, even against entities with no nexus to a physical location. In Martin v. Luxi Group, LLC, No. 30-2018-01029422-CU-CR-CJC (Orange County Sup. Ct. May 22, 2019), the court held that "[w]hile plaintiffs may need a nexus to a physical place of business to recover under the ADA, per Weyer v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 198 F.3d 1114, the court finds that the plaintiffs may recover damages against a web-based business for disability discrimination under the Unruh Act, Cal Civil Code sec. 51(b)."