What does the DOJ do?
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has an important role, which is to uphold federal laws. By upholding federal laws, they keep our country safe and protect civil rights. The DOJ seeks just punishment for the guilty, and ensures the fair and impartial administration of justice. The DOJ ultimately determines whether certain rights fall under the law. Recently, the DOJ announced that website accessibility does fall under ADA, as a protected right.
What is ADA?
In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became a civil rights law to protect individuals with disabilities against discrimination. The law prohibits any type of discrimination against those with disabilities in all public places, and private places that are open to the public. There are five titles under ADA, and they are: Title I (Employment), Title II (State and Local Government), Title III (Public Accommodations), Title IV (Telecommunications), and Title V (Miscellaneous Provisions).
Does this apply to my business?
If your business falls under Title II, State and local governments or Title III, Businesses that are open to the public then you are required to ensure that your communications with individuals with disabilities are as accessible and effective as with others.
Title II – State and local governments
Many services provided by government entities are now available online, which means they must be accessible to persons with disabilities. A few examples of these services are:
- Applying for an absentee ballot
- Paying tickets or fees
- Filing a police report
- Filing tax documents
- Registering for school or school programs
- Applying for state benefits programs
Title III – Businesses that are open to the public
The ADA requires that businesses open to the public provide full and equal enjoyment of their goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to people with disabilities. Some examples include:
- Retail stores
- Hotels, inns, and motels
- Hospitals and medical offices
- Food and drink establishments
- Auditoriums, theaters, and sports arenas
Your business or organization is required to remove any barriers that prevent a person with a disability from accessing your website and services.
How do I ensure compliance?
Here are a few barriers to look out for when evaluating your website compliance, according to the DOJ.
- Poor color contrast – Text that is difficult to read because of the color and color of the background. For example, light gray text on a white background.
- Use of color alone to give information
- Lack of text alternatives (“alt text”) on images
- No captions on videos
- Inaccessible online forms
- Mouse-only navigation (lack of keyboard navigation)
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the idea of your website compliance (or potential noncompliance), our pros are here to help. We’re happy to evaluate your current website and offer solutions. You can also learn more about ADA and website accessibility compliance by reading our blog post, Is Your Business Website Compliant Under ADA Regulations?