“Equal access… is one of the most important rights guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division regarding the case and ADA website compliance.
However, companies and organizations in all sectors will be subject to new scrutiny and a likely torrent of legal action based on the DOJ’s renewed position, according to industry experts.
“This new ruling is beneficial to millions of Americans, but it also will relaunch a wave of potentially costly litigation against businesses and governmental bodies that don’t provide equal online access,” said Scott Trachtenberg, chief executive officer of ADA Site Compliance, which provides consulting and technology to ensure websites, mobile applications, videos, PDF files and other online content are compliant with current ADA and Worldwide Web Consortium requirements. “The current DOJ is saying that if you serve the public online, you must serve all of the public, and comply with the ADA.”
Approximately 20 percent of Americans have some form of disability that might make it difficult to communicate, work, attend school, make purchases, find healthcare, credible information and more via the Internet. The ADA and the recent DOJ ruling uphold the legal rights for this significant segment of the population, as well as the responsibility of organizations to provide equal access to their digital spaces.
Defendants in ADA lawsuits typically pay plaintiff’s legal fees, defense costs, plus their own web accessibility auditing and remediation expenses. In all, the average cost can range from tens of thousands of dollars to above six figures. If the remediation is incomplete, copycat suits and serial filers can follow, dramatically increasing financial costs, as well as added stress, time and reputational damage.
Trachtenberg formed ADA Site Compliance in 2016 after he was served with legal papers claiming his previous business, a food delivery service, was not properly accessible for customers with disabilities. Since then, ADA Site Compliance has served clients such as Audi, Five Guys, Western Union, Waffle House, Iberostar, NAPA Auto Parts, City of Tampa, Barry University, Rawlings and other local, national and international brands.
The company has developed an advanced suite of solutions to keep online content ADA accessible, including its proprietary Accessibility ADApter© software that provides automated features such as navigation with keyboard, animation blocker, text enlargement, color contrast adjustment, highlighted content, links and headings underlining, and more.
Human monitoring and expertise, however, are key to more comprehensive digital compliance and accessibility, said Scott Rubenstein, ADA Site Compliance chief technical officer and who also serves on the W3C’s Accessibility Guidelines Working Group.
In the wake of the recent DOJ ruling, ADA Site Compliance is preparing to launch its newest tool, ADAsh, an advanced and streamlined digital dashboard for clients to easily organize, monitor and maintain online content that meets accessibility and legal standards.
“Organizations and businesses of all sizes should make their online presence fair and accessible to all,” Trachtenberg said. “With this new DOJ ruling, they also need to be especially prepared for a wave of legal challenges to prove it.”
For more information, visit www.adasitecompliance.com.
About ADA Site Compliance: Florida-based ADA Site Compliance was founded in 2016 by two guys who want to make the digital world a better and more inclusive place for all. Accessibility and compliance are not only lawful, but the right thing to do. For more information about digital accessibility and compliance, visit www.adasitecompliance.com.
SOURCE ADA Site Compliance