The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are an international standard used to assess the accessibility of web content for people with disabilities. WCAG 2.1, which was adopted on June 5, 2018, has been the prevailing version of the guidelines relied on by courts, regulators, and industry professionals. On October 5, 2023, the nonprofit standards organization that publishes WCAG released WCAG 2.2, which will likely be seen as the presumptive version of choice in the coming months and years.Continue Reading New Version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Released
Brandon H. Johnson advises service providers, manufacturers and investors in the technology, media and telecom space on a wide array of regulatory and transactional matters.
After sharing its initial proposals on videoconferencing platform accessibility (described in our previous blog post), on June 8, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to require videoconferencing platforms to comply with accessibility requirements under the Communications Act and agency rules governing interoperable videoconferencing services (IVCS). The corresponding Report and Order (R&O) was released on June 12, 2023, as well as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks, among other things, to amend the FCC’s rules to better define the steps necessary to make an IVCS accessible to those with disabilities. The FCC also issued a separate Order granting telecommunications relay services (TRS) providers a limited waiver of the video relay services (VRS) privacy screen rule, which limits when VRS users can turn off their video when not actively participating in a video conference.Continue Reading FCC Requires That Videoconferencing Platforms Comply with Accessibility Requirements
On May 16, 2023, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that she shared proposals with her fellow commissioners that would, for the first time, require videoconferencing platforms to comply with accessibility requirements under the Communications Act and agency rules governing interoperable videoconferencing services.
Among other things, Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s proposals would (1) treat “interoperable…
On March 27, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in a case concerning a plaintiff’s standing to bring an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) suit against a hotel where the plaintiff lacked any intention of ever visiting the hotel. This case could have major implications for the continued viability of “tester” standing in ADA cases and therefore greatly affect the number of ADA claims brought every year against hotels and other businesses offering goods and services to the public.Continue Reading Supreme Court Grants Certiorari To Determine Viability of ADA Tester Standing
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth and U.S. Representative John Sarbanes have jointly introduced a new bill—the Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act (the Act)—to address barriers that Americans with disabilities encounter when attempting to use websites and apps. The Act proposes to codify digital accessibility requirements for websites and apps, set schedules for continuous accessibility-related rulemaking to keep up with technological changes, and establish organizations to serve as support structures to facilitate digital accessibility. If enacted, the Act would fill a hole left open by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which has been interpreted by some (but not all) courts to apply to websites and apps.Continue Reading New Bill Seeks To Establish Digital Accessibility Requirements for Websites and Apps
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced its intention to adopt rules setting forth web accessibility standards for state and local government entities, which are regulated under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If adopted, the rules would be the first of their kind under the ADA. The publication of this announcement may portend future action by the DOJ to adopt web accessibility requirements under Title III of the ADA, which covers a wide range of private businesses that provide goods and services to the public.Continue Reading Justice Department to Issue First-Ever Rules on Web Accessibility Under the ADA
On March 18, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued new guidance (Web Accessibility Guidance) advising state and local governments and businesses open to the public on how to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities, based on the understanding that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to web content. The Web Accessibility Guidance represents the latest articulation of the DOJ’s position on this issue, and it may portend future regulatory enforcement and rulemaking activity in the web accessibility space.
Continue Reading Justice Department Issues ADA Web Accessibility Guidance
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has declined to reconsider its decision to vacate the trial court’s judgment in Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., ending litigation on one of the most significant website accessibility cases in the country. See our recent blog post regarding previous developments.
- On February 28, 2022, almost 200 advocacy groups, led by the American Council of the Blind and others, published a “Joint Letter to Enforce Accessibility Standards” to the head of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division.
In November and December 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice entered into settlement agreements with two private companies and one public entity addressing website accessibility, signaling increased enforcement activity in this area. This update provides more information about the settlement agreements and DOJ’s approach to website accessibility.
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently vacated its April 2021 opinion holding that websites do not constitute places of public accommodations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Prior to this decision, the Eleventh Circuit was the only federal circuit court of appeal to explicitly hold that Title III of the ADA does not apply to websites, although federal courts are split as to whether Title III extends only to websites with a “nexus” to a physical location or to stand-alone e-commerce sites.
- In 2021, as in other recent years, thousands of website accessibility cases were filed and an untold number of demand letters were received by businesses. Businesses should consider digital accessibility and ways to reduce risk of claims.