New Online Accessibility Act introduced to Congress would require businesses to make their website and mobile apps accessible

Article shared courtesy of NRN.com

Joanna Fantozzi | Oct 02, 2020

 

The Online Accessibility Act — legislation that was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday by Reps. Ted Budd, (R-N.C.) and Lou Correa, (D-Calif.) — would officially extend the Americans with Disabilities Act to consumer-facing digital accessibility. Under the extension of the ADA, businesses would have to make their websites and apps accessible to the visually impaired. Currently, the law only applies to “public accommodations,” which only extends to physical locations.

“Retailers want to serve all customers, and that includes those who are blind or visually impaired,” National Retail Federation chief administrative officer and general counsel Stephanie Martz said. “This bill makes it clear that the ADA applies to websites and requires that businesses make their websites accessible, but it also sets clear rules on what that means. This should put an end to frivolous lawsuits that have diverted resources that could be better used to make sure online products and services are easily available to everyone. Equal access to the internet is increasingly important with the rapid growth of online commerce and particularly the spike in online shopping we’ve seen during the pandemic.”

Lawsuits over ADA access on websites and mobile apps have become increasingly common. One high-profile case, which involved Domino’s, went all the way up to the Supreme Court in October 2019. In the case, the Supreme Court denied a petition from Domino’s in response to a lower courts decision that ruled in favor of f a blind man named Guillermo Robles who sued the chain when he was unable to order pizza off the Domino’s website or mobile app even with screen reading technology.

Businesses currently can follow the rules laid out in the Web Content Accessibility guidelines established by the Web Accessibility Institute. Those that are in “substantial compliance” with these guidelines or are offering equivalent access through an “alternative method” would be deemed to be in compliance with the ADA, though the Justice Department would be required to issue regulations spelling out these definitions.

“Last year, over 2,000 website accessibility lawsuits were filed by plaintiffs alleging that certain websites were not ADA compliant,” Rep. Bud said in a statement. “This bill solves the problem by providing guidance to businesses on how to bring their websites into compliance. If our bill is passed, job-creators will be able to avoid costly lawsuits and be given a roadmap for how to help their disabled customers access online content.”

If passed, violators could be fined $20,000 for a first offense and up to $50,000 for every subsequent offense. Private lawsuits would be allowed but only after companies had exhausted remedies through administrative compliance.

Back

What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • I would recommend Darryl to any candidate!

    Darryl Jackson did a great job providing the resources and the tools I needed to land a great job. He was patient, knowledgeable, and willing to go the extra mile to ensure that I was successful.     Thank You So Much! Jalen Hannah I would recommend Darryl Jackson to any candidate!
  • Allison Sullivan was fantastic in finding me a wonderful position!

    She was very professional and upbeat! My background was a perfect match for their opening and their remote position, in my field of expertise, is exactly what I was looking for! I could not be happier!
    -Lisa Williams
    Allison Sullivan was fantastic in finding me a wonderful position!
  • Colleen Casey is the BEST!

    Thanks to Colleen Casey of Patrice and Associates, I will be starting a new, more rewarding chapter in my life!  Because of Colleen’s deep dedication and hard work, accomplishing this could not have been any easier.  Thank you for all that you have done!
    Thanks,
    Justin Whitcomb
    Colleen Casey is the BEST!
  • Corina is amazing!

    Corina is a true hospitality professional. She does her research on the candidate, and client to insure both parties are the right fit for each other. She gives great advice and makes a personal connection. I will go to Corina and Patrice & associates for all future needs.
    Thank you again!
    Nick Gonzales
    Corina Mack is amazing!
  • Brenda Falusi helped place me at my dream job!  

    She was a great resource, providing interview tips, customizing my resume and cover letter to fit the role. She also gave possible interview questions, using historical data. She was my hype person, my coach. She is superior to any other recruiter I have used.
    Mahalo,
    Marcus Lage
    Brenda Falusi helped place me at my dream job!