Making Websites More Accessible For the Disabled

Beginning last July, lawsuits began flooding the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh claiming corporations’ websites were not accessible to the blind and other individuals with disabilities, thus violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Companies such as Foot Locker Inc and Toys R Us were some of the household names, among others, that were targeted.

According to the Wall Street Journal, since 2015, more than 240 businesses were sued in Federal Court nationwide. Most of these suits, which all alleged that websites were inaccessible to those with disabilities, settled for between $10,000 and $75,000.

According to court dockets, the suits against Toys R Us and Foot Locker Inc. were dismissed. However, a private settlement may have been reached. According to the Wall Street Journal, Toys R Us is looking for ways to make their website more accessible.

The ADA was signed into law in 1990. It requires public businesses to be accessible to the disabled. However, websites were not expressly included as a public accommodation.

According to The Justice Department, which enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act, it will not release guidelines for website compliance until 2018, which, according to some, has created mayhem for disability cases.

Federal appellate courts have been divided on the issue of whether websites must comply with ADA standards. Juan Carlos Gil, a 34-year-old Miami resident who is legally blind and wheelchair-bound, has sued more than 30 businesses in 2016 alleging their websites violate the law.

He has sued big corporations such as Anthropologie Inc. and Burger King Corp. Gil said that when websites aren’t coded correctly, screen readers get stuck. He says he faces obstacles online 90 percent of the time.

Scott Dinin, Gil’s attorney, has sued restaurants, banks, 108 mall retailers and others during the past year. According to the Wall Street Journal, lawyers say that claims against mobile applications could be next.

If you currently own a business and want to make sure your business practices and resources are compliant and accessible the disabled, the attorneys at Blodnick, Fazio & Associates are available to help you. Understanding the ADA is important for business owners to avoid fines and stay in compliance with the law. Contact the experienced New York business law attorneys at Blodnick, Fazio & Associates by calling (516) 280-7105.

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