ADA compliance lawsuit

keyserholiday

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
66
I just saw my first case of a company being sued over ADA compliance. The business in question has until June 1st to bring all of their websites into compliance.

To be in compliance they need to
1. add alt image tags, which should have already been done.
2. Remove 360 tours
3. Videos need closed captioning and a video transcript

Make sure you and your clients are adhering to these best practices to avoid a lawsuit and major headaches.
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,758
Virtual tours aren't allowed on websites to be compliant? I know so many that have their Google photographer tour embedded.
 

keyserholiday

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
66
@JoyHawkins apparently there isn't a way to alt image tag each viewpoint. They made the executive decision to remove all of them and hyperlink the text, see our 360 tour.

@Yan Gilbert its nationwide beauty and wellness brand. They have multiple brick and mortar locations.
 

pbarnhart

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2013
Messages
78
Websites aren't mentioned in the ADA - its left up to the courts to interpret what "compliant" means.

First, the Jan 2018 Federal compliance requirements (see Overview of the Final Rule - United States Access Board) are not the only rules covering this issue. There are also a mishmash of state requirements as well, and they are often fuzzy and poorly maintained.

For example, it could be argued that a text description of the tour be made available via link to another page. 99 times out 100 that would be considered a reasonable accommodation and perfectly within the law. But it is still cheaper to delete the tour instead -- especially when interaction and conversion measurement for the 360 tours aren't readily available and you don't know how much of your business to attribute to the feature.

By the way, if you do add a text transcription to your videos, you can still get sued because you don't have a Second Audio Program (SAP) audio description as well. Or you can't tab into the video iframe. Or any of a dozen other minor mistakes common for web design.

You can closely adhere to the WCAG 2.0 and still get sued. You can score perfectly using the WAVE Web Accessibility tool and still get sued. If you can settle for $5,000 do you really want to incur the expense of an ADA Title III lawsuit dismissal at $15,000? If your dismissal fails, you risk having to explain to a jury why you're compliant. There is not some technically-proficient evaluator looking at this. Its 12 jurors trying to read some pretty complex regulations. With a very sympathetic, handicapped individual as the defendant against your an expensive expert witness trying to explain alt tags, tab order, and screen readers.

Most of these lawsuits are structured as a money-making grab by attorneys - an Austin attorney got disbarred over these kinds of stunts (see Austin ADA attorney Omar Rosales suspended from federal court is just one story on this example).

In the short term, remember the story of the two campers and the bear. A bear jumps into camp one night, and the first camper starts putting on his running shoes. "What are you doing?" the second camper said. "You can't outrun a bear!"

"I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you!"

Do what you can to meet WCAG 2.0 or 2.1 compliance. These lawyers simply scan websites for basic compliance, and look for things like alt tags and video transcriptions to see if the business has made a reasonable effort. Then they move on to slower prey. But understand, this is not about compliance, or helping the disabled. It's about easy money.

If you are a business owner, talk to your insurance agent right after you talk to your web designer and check your insurance coverage. If you develop websites, make sure you have liability coverage and your attorney has reviewed the warranty and liability sections of your contract. If you can afford it, consider paying for an audit by a reputable company (which can be used in your dismissal motions).

Long-term? Talk to other business organizations, your state and national legislators, and local accessibility advocates to try and get these laws rationalized.

"As web technologies change and browsers strive to keep up, it is near impossible to achieve 100% accessibility." - Accessibility
 

Amanda Putney

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
8
Below is a great example from the DOJ regarding what an ADA lawsuit resolution looks like. The last paragraph is especially important in regards to websites.

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of places of public accommodations. Title III of the ADA also requires public accommodations to take necessary steps to ensure individuals with disabilities are not excluded, denied services, segregated, or otherwise treated differently because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, such as accessible electronic information. The Justice Department has long considered Title III and its implementing regulation to apply to the online services and communications of public accommodations.
 

Tim Colling

Moderator
Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
1,056
"The Justice Department has long considered Title III and its implementing regulation to apply to the online services and communications of public accommodations."

Everyone who is surprised to hear that the government feels this way should attend a meeting next Tuesday at the first phone booth on the left in Bonsall, California. There should be plenty of room.
 

Promoted Posts

New advertising option: a promoted post by a Sterling Sky employee reviewing your product or service; this will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More information...

Weekly Digest


Weekly Digest
Subscribe/Unsubscribe

Local Search Forum


Google Product Exert

@LocalSearchLink

Join Our Facebook Group

Top