Does Web Accessibility Compliance Threaten Employers? *

What Does Web Accessibility Mean to the Disabled?


Most of us are familiar with how Accessibility applies to physical business places.  However, little thought has been given to how Accessibility applies to the Internet.  Accessibility on the World Wide Web demands that we break down barriers and open a clear path for everyone.  

This means that web pages must be designed so that those with Visual, Hearing, Motor and Cognitive disabilities have an equal opportunity to navigate and access every web page.



Web Accessibility, a Threat to Employers?


Does ADA Title I Expose You Legally?


While demand letters and suits have focused on ADA’s Title III and its application to websites’ accessibility, has Title I been overlooked?

For employers of 15 or more, “Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, State and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.”  Highlighted here is “job application procedures”. 

If you only post job openings to your website or only take job applications through your website, are you violating ADA Title i if that path is not accessible?  How does a blind person review your current job openings and apply if that content and process is only provided online?


Title I Provides a Payout to Plaintiff’s!


Now, what’s also significant here is the additional penalty exposure here.  While plaintiff’s cannot collect damages or relief for themselves under the currently popular Title III, they can collect damages under Title I. 


Compensatory and punitive damages however are limited based on number of employees and range from $50,000 for 15-100 employees to $300,000 for more than 500.


Since many employers rely on digital means to advertise and accept job applications, this should also be added to the reasons presented by Title III for focusing on Web Accessibility.



Available ADA Source Materials


ADA Title I Technical Assistance Materials


A Guide for People with Disabilities Seeking Employment | PDF  

A 2-page pamphlet for people with disabilities providing a general explanation of the employment provisions of the ADA and how to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (Spanish edition available from the ADA Information Line.)


ADA: Know Your Rights — Returning Service Members with Disabilities | PDF

This 28-page booklet is designed to provide military service members who have been seriously wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom a basic understanding of their rights under the ADA and where to turn for additional information and assistance.


A Guide to Disability Rights Laws | PDF

A 21-page booklet that provides a brief overview of ten Federal laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities and provides information about the federal agencies to contact for more information. (Spanish, Cambodian, Chinese, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Tagalog and Vietnamese editions available from the ADA Information Line.)


Questions and Answers: The Americans with Disabilities Act and Persons with HIV/AIDS | PDF 

A 14-page publication explaining the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the requirements of the ADA for employers, businesses and non-profit agencies that serve the public, and State and local governments to avoid discriminating against persons with HIV/AIDS (June 2012).


The ADA Video Gallery.


The ADA Video Gallery features all of the Department of Justice videos which provide information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Accessibility Toolbar