Department of Justice Delays Regulations on Website Accessibility – Plaintiff Firms Send Demands Against Website Operators

December 2, 2015

By Steven E. Helland

Department of Justice SealOn November 19, the Department of Justice announced it is further delaying issuing guidance on what is required of website operators to be compliant under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Since then, colleagues and I at Fredrikson have been contacted by multiple website operators that have received demands from plaintiff law firms such as Carlson Lynch and Kambert Law, alleging that the various websites are not compliant under the ADA.

The ADA is far from clear as to what is required of website operators (hence the need for regulatory guidance). However, online retailers and other website operators may wish to consider taking proactive steps now.

Select Tips and Action Items:

  • Website developers and digital agencies: expect clients to begin to require, by contract, that websites created comply with “Website Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) 2.0. http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/glance/
  • Impacted website operators may look to their website developers and consultants for indemnification.
  • For all involved, if you receive a demand letter, consider notifying your insurer, as you may have coverage.
  • Consider obtaining specialized cyber / digital insurance that would protect against such a claim.

For proactive input or for help responding to a website-related ADA claim, contact Steve Helland.

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