The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides significant legal protections for disabled individuals. Although enacted long before the internet became common, it does impose certain accessibility requirements for business websites. If your business website fails to meet these requirements, you could face substantial damages.
Whether you want to learn more about ADA compliance or you’ve been sued over alleged violations, our New York business law attorneys at Rosenbaum & Taylor can help.
What Does the ADA Say About Website Accessibility?
The ADA was enacted in 1990, years before websites and emails were commonplace in the United States. Nonetheless, the law has developed over the years to require businesses to ensure equal accessibility to all individuals. Title III of the ADA applies to businesses that are considered public accommodations. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice made clear that it interprets Title III to apply to business websites.
A website may be considered non-compliant if someone with a disability cannot access information on it. For instance, someone who is deaf or hard of hearing will require closed captioning for audio on the site. Someone who is blind will need alternate text for images.
New York leads the nation in ADA lawsuits filed over alleged website inaccessibility. If your business is non-compliant, you may be hit with a lawsuit demanding severe monetary penalties.
What Are the Accessibility Rules?
The World Wide Web Consortium has developed a set of standards known as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Courts are increasingly turning to these guidelines to interpret web accessibility in light of the ADA’s requirements. There are websites that can test, for free, whether your site is compliant with the rules. A New York business law attorney can also explain more about them.
Be aware, however, that these rules are subject to constant change. That makes periodic review of compliance an essential step. Again, many sites offer free web audits that can test your site, identify issues, and suggest ways to fix them.
How Can a New York Business Law Attorney Help Me?
At Rosenbaum & Taylor, we take steps to help our business clients comply with various state and federal laws. Because the ADA has such far-reaching implications for websites, we routinely help New York businesses handle accessibility issues. Even if your business is not located in New York, you can still be subject to a lawsuit here if a New York-based user can access your site.
Our firm regularly performs compliance audits for businesses. These include, but are not limited to, ADA compliance. We also check for potential tax law, employment law, wage and labor, safety, and other issues. We can review your business inside and out, including its website, to determine if there are matters that need addressing. We can also help your business adopt written policies and procedures to regularly check for and remedy compliance issues.
If your business is sued in New York for violating the ADA or another law, we’re ready to vigorously defend you. We take legal representation seriously and strive to save our clients time and money where possible. We will review the complaint against you and then develop a legal strategy to respond to it. If possible, we can negotiate an out-of-court settlement that can help put the matter behind you so you can focus on your business.
Don’t Run the Risk of Website Inaccessibility
There are undoubtedly many New York businesses who are violating the ADA without even knowing it. This includes, but is not limited to, web accessibility issues. Don’t let your business become another litigation statistic. Reach out to Rosenbaum & Taylor today to take care of your legal needs.