As a decision maker, you likely know the importance of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. But did you know your website also needs to comply with the ADA? What should you do if you receive an accessibility complaint regarding your website?

ADA website compliance can be a murky area for business leaders to navigate. Public accommodation requirements are rooted generally in Title III of the ADA (every owner, lessor, or operator of any “place of public accommodation” must not discriminate against members of the public who are disabled). However, the statutes do not specifically address websites in any way. Thus, business leaders are left to court decisions to attempt to determine their obligations under the act.

Some courts have ruled websites are places of public accommodation to which a business’s ADA obligations extend. Others have required there to be a “nexus” between the website and a physical location. Still others have held there to be no requirements for websites at all. A set of regulations was set to go into effect in 2018 which would have held websites to the standards of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. However, these regulations were withdrawn by the current administration. These inconsistent federal rulings and the lack of any sort of administrative consistency make compliance for companies a nightmare.

Even though the new ADA regulations regarding websites have not been enacted, it’s very important to begin taking steps toward website accessibility now.  It’s best to err on the side of caution, and considering the unpredictability in this area, businesses should prepare for the likelihood of the ADA’s applicability to all websites at some point. Even if the ADA may not apply to all websites currently, your company may want to start taking steps to make its website more accessible to avoid lawsuits, and more importantly, for the good of individuals with disabilities. If you have any questions about the ADA regulations and your company’s website, contact a Sioux City, Sioux Falls, or Omaha lawyer today!


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