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Avoiding ADA Lawsuits

On Behalf of | May 26, 2020 | ADA |

Generally speaking, a business website that is accessible to the public in most cases will need to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if the business is to avoid lawsuits being filed by a new army of ADA enforcement plaintiffs.

All businesses are at a very high risk of being hit with this type of lawsuit. From time to time, some types of businesses seem to be targeted more than others, but this changes from month to month depending on how these repeat ADA website plaintiffs choose their targets.  For example, hotels, clothing stores, restaurants, eyeglass stores, vitamin and skincare supply, and financial institutions seem to be popular targets, but these are only a handful of business types, and as mentioned the list seems to change every month. Retail businesses such as Amazon and Target have had judgments issued against them because they were not in compliance with ADA requirements. How a company decides to bring its site into compliance depends on a variety of factors such as how many pages it needs to upgrade.  Turning the job over to a “webmaster” or web developer” who will focus on what he or she calls WCAG 2.0 or 2.1 compliance most often does not solve the problems. Although an understanding of these guidelines is helpful, neither of the versions of the WCAG “guidelines” have been adopted as the law in the United States. While web developers and webmasters might think they know what needs to be done, they are not reading what the Courts have said (which seems to change on a monthly basis), nor are they reading what the Department of Justice is saying. Only attorneys who have years of practice in this regulatory area can provide the needed guidance to both the website owner and to the technical team.

Anyone promising to get the job done in two days or less is likely trying to take advantage of a company, and simple “plug-ins” being advertised will not solve the problems despite their claims of making a website “mostly compliant.” The ADA website lawsuits being filed usually focus on the areas that plug-ins do not address. The website owner needs to focus on lawsuit avoidance not on a theoretical or abstract concept.

The right Plug-in can be of some help, but in most cases, they are only a small part of the solution.    Addressing the legal issues and avoiding ADA website lawsuits, in our view, requires the implementation of a four-point protection program which should be discussed with a knowledgeable ADA website attorney.