Retailers continue to be targeted by website accessibility lawsuits. Unfortunately, the legal landscape remains unpredictable and it varies greatly based on what jurisdiction a retailer is sued in. There remains no easy fix to prevent litigation. Plaintiff’s lawyers argue that “inaccessible” websites or mobile apps fail to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act or similar state civil rights laws. However, there are no set of detailed website accessibility standards or regulations and instead, the Department of Justice’s position has been that the Americans with Disabilities Act’s general nondiscrimination and effective communication provisions apply to web accessibility. The Department has directed that businesses look to existing technical standards for website accessibility including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Section 508 Standards, which the federal government uses for its own websites. And despite the absence of formal website accessibility standards, the Department has continued to file enforcement actions against businesses who operate websites that it deems inaccessible.
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