Businesses beware! In the age of COVID-19 and an increased virtual presence, websites can be crucial for businesses. But does your website violate Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? This is a question most business owners do not ask themselves, but it should be close to the top of the list. Plaintiffs are filing an increasing number of lawsuits against companies because the sites are not accessible to visually impaired customers. These Plaintiffs claim that the websites do not meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) created by the nonprofit World Wide Web Consortium because visually impaired consumers allegedly cannot access the sites using screen-reader software. These cases target all manner of businesses across a wide range of industries.
You may get sued if your website is not accessible. Title III of the ADA prohibits owners or operators of “a place of public accommodation” from discriminating against an individual on the basis of their disability “in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.” Western Pennsylvania falls within a certain group of jurisdictions designating websites as public places. Therefore, websites must comply with Title III of the ADA.
Tracking this type of litigation over recent months revealed shocking statistics. Over the last two months alone, seventeen (17) cases were filed by just one individual. Over the last three years, this individual filed seventy-eight (78) cases. Between 2017 and 2021, national litigation on this matter increased from 814 cases filed to 4,055. For those who do not track legal filings, this is quite high. It also means one very important thing – there are people looking for defective websites and taking action to correct these ADA violations. As such, it is important for businesses to check their websites in order to confirm compliance.
Should you have any questions, please reach out to Anthony Judice at (412) 227-0264 or email@example.com, Jean Novak at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gerri Sperling at email@example.com, or any of our attorneys in the firm’s employment practice group.