laws to require a business’ website be made accessible for the visually impaired. While the courts have expanded the scope of the ADA and similar state laws, they’ve yet to rule on what exactly needs to be done to make a website accessible. The penalties for a non-compliant website can be severe. Specifically, a court can order you to make your website compliant, award the plaintiff ’s attorneys’ fees (which if the case goes to trial can be in the six figures), and if the case is under a state statute additional monetary damages can be added on top of the rest. Suffice it to say, once you receive one of these lawsuits, there is no cheap fix.
HOW TO ENSURE YOUR WEBSITE COMPLIES
As discussed above, there is no website accessibility standard that has been adopted by all states and the federal government. That said, several courts have approved settlements in which websites agree to comply with the WCAG. Accordingly, until and unless your state or the federal government says otherwise, ensuring your website is WCAG compliant is the most likely way to protect your company from potential claims. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as flipping a switch. You’ll want to make sure that if you manage your website in-house, that you review the latest WCAG and determine if you can make the changes yourself. If you use a third-party web developer, confirm they have built your website to this standard.
Also, make sure to review your web developer agreement to see if they specifically agreed to defend and indemnify you for any ADA or related claims arising from the accessibility of your website. Finally, this area of the law is rapidly developing, so check with your attorney for recent developments.
Take the time to review your website now for compliance, then make sure you have a plan in place for maintaining compliance. It will save you in the long run. DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to be a source of general information, not an opinion or legal advice on any specific situation and does not create an attorney-client relationship with our readers.
Tom Woods is a commercial dispute and consumer practices litigator at Stoel Rives (stoel.com). Tom likes to sip spirits while smoking meats. Give him a call (916) 319-4748 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss indirect fire techniques. Corey Day is an alcohol beverage attorney and litigator at Stoel Rives (stoel.com). Corey likes chatting about potent potables, so email him: email@example.com, call him: 916-319-4670, or follow him on twitter: @coreyday.
WWW.ART ISANSPI RI TMAG.CO M
The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.