You are correct, ADA defines an “employer” as any person who is 1) engaged in an industry affecting commerce; 2) employes 15 or more full-time employees each work day; and 3) for at least 20 or more calendar weeks in the year. In the context of physical spaces, ADA would not apply to companies with fewer than 15 employees. However, courts don’t seem to have come to a consensus on what digital compliance really should look like. Because websites can be accessed anywhere in the country, small business owners might potentially face lawsuits in unfavorable jurisdictions. If you are a small business owner, I would recommend consulting with an accessibility lawyer and ask what they recommend.
The ADA has been criticized on the grounds that it decreases the employment rate for people with disabilities and raises the cost of doing business for employers, in large part due to the additional legal risks, which employers avoid by quietly avoiding hiring people with disabilities. Some researchers believe that the law has been ineffectual. Between 1991 (after the enactment of the ADA) and 1995, the employment rate of men with disabilities dropped by 7.8% regardless of age, educational level, or type of disability, with the most affected being young, less-educated and mentally disabled men. Despite the many criticisms, a causal link between the ADA and declining disabled employment over much of the 1990s has not been definitively identified.
Courts have essentially taken three positions when approached with this issue. Some courts take the position that the ADA applies to all commercial sites because the law was meant to protect disabled individuals from having a more difficult time than able-bodied individuals from doing business. That is why the website Scribd was unable to get a case summarily dismissed and ended up settling.
Congress, by authorizing the certification of state and local accessibility requirements under Title III, recognized the important role that state and local building codes and standards may play in achieving compliance with the building-related aspects of accessibility. State and local building officials who are involved in plan approval and construction inspection processes may provide important assistance to construction and design professionals through their oversight of the accessibility requirements of a certified state code.
Claims: The Disney sites were overloaded with video and audio content which could not be turned off by physically impaired people and drowned out screen-reading technology. Websites contained Flash content that is also inaccessible to blind persons. The claimants stated that Disney simply hadn’t addressed the needs of people who are visually impaired and failed to provide accommodations for those individuals on their web resources.
Of the 814 federal cases, New York and Florida led the way with more than 335 and 325 cases, respectively. Surprisingly, California only had nine new website accessibility lawsuits in 2017, most likely because plaintiffs filed in state court. Federal courts in Arizona (6), Georgia (9), Illinois (10), Massachusetts (15), New Hampshire (2), Michigan (1), New Jersey (4), Ohio (8), Pennsylvania (58), Puerto Rico (1), Texas (7), and Virginia (24) also had their share of website accessibility lawsuits.
WCAG 2.0 AA is the standard on which most website owners are operating and is considered acceptable. As a business owner, it’s important to know which set of standards you should be meeting, but most of these standards are very technical. Therefore, we recommend working with a web firm that specializes in ADA website compliance and is familiar with WCAG 2.0.
The Department is evaluating whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of Web information and services are necessary and appropriate. Such an evaluation will be informed by an additional review of data and further analysis. The Department will continue to assess whether specific technical standards are necessary and appropriate to assist covered entities with complying with the ADA.
Under the law, websites should be just as accessible as ATMs (ever notice the Braille there?), elevators, terminals and other user interfaces. Not only should your site be accessible to all on a laptop or desktop but also on tablets and mobile phones. Failing ADA compliance creates poor and awkward experiences for people with physical disabilities. Simply put, ADA compliance is assuring your website falls within a set of prescribed accessibility standards.
The California Green Code appears to require service panels, sub-panels, and raceway of sufficient capacity to accommodate 40 amp circuits rather than mandating one 40 amp circuit for each EVCS in residential and nonresidential locations. For additional information you may contact the Department of Housing and Community Development for infrastructure requirements at residential locations or the Building Standards Commission for infrastructure requirements at nonresidential locations
According to Law360, over 240 federal ADA website compliance lawsuits were filed in 2016 alone. As stated by Seyfarth Shaw, the trend continued through 2017 with an astonishing 814 ADA website accessibility lawsuits filed. A more recent Seyfarth Shaw Synopsis states that web accessibility cases filed to federal court showed no signs of stopping during the first 6 months of 2018 and there have already been at least 1053 ADA lawsuits filed. Most of them were coming from California, New York and Florida residents with disabilities.
One of the first major ADA lawsuits, Paralyzed Veterans of America v. Ellerbe Becket Architects and Engineers (PVA 1996) was focused on the wheelchair accessibility of a stadium project that was still in the design phase, MCI Center (now known as Capital One Arena) in Washington, D.C. Previous to this case, which was filed only five years after the ADA was passed, the DOJ was unable or unwilling to provide clarification on the distribution requirements for accessible wheelchair locations in large assembly spaces. While Section 4.33.3 of ADAAG makes reference to lines of sight, no specific reference is made to seeing over standing patrons. The MCI Center, designed by Ellerbe Becket Architects & Engineers, was designed with too few wheelchair and companion seats, and the ones that were included did not provide sight lines that would enable the wheelchair user to view the playing area while the spectators in front of them were standing. This case and another related case established precedent on seat distribution and sight lines issues for ADA enforcement that continues to present day.
"Equivalent facilitation" is an alternate means of complying with the literal requirements of these standards and specifications that provides access in terms of the purpose of these standards and specifications. In determining equivalent facilitation, consideration shall be given to means that provide for the maximum independence of persons with disabilities while presenting the least risk of harm, injury, or other hazard to such persons or others.
What’s in store for 2018? If the Ninth Circuit upholds the Domino’s district court’s dismissal on due process grounds, the number of California website accessibility lawsuits in federal court may go down dramatically. Even if that occurs, we see no end to the website accessibility lawsuit surge elsewhere and expect that new plaintiffs’ firms will continue to enter the scene. While the current administration’s DOJ is not likely to push the website accessibility agenda, its inaction will not stop the lawsuits. Only an amendment to the ADA can do that, which we believe is highly unlikely. Thus, the best risk mitigation effort for covered entities is still to make their websites accessible as soon as possible, with the assistance of ADA Title III legal counsel experienced in website accessibility issues and reputable digital accessibility consultants.
Path of travel is a term exclusively used in CBC Chapter 11B within the context of alterations to existing sites (see Section 11B-202.4, including Exception 10). For EVCS projects it only applies where EVCS are installed at existing facilities where vehicle fueling, recharging, parking or storage is a primary function. These types of facilities include gas stations, stand-alone parking lots and stand-alone parking structures (see Section 11B-202.4 Exception 10). When an accessible path of travel is required, an accessible path of travel to the specific area of alteration shall be provided; this path of travel, by definition in Chapter 2 of the CBC, includes a primary entrance to the building or facility, toilet and bathing facilities serving the area of alteration, drinking fountains serving the area of alteration, public telephones serving the area of alteration, and signs as well as accessible routes which connect the area of alteration with site arrival points such as sidewalks, streets, and accessible parking (see CBC Section 11B-202.4). These listed elements – primary entrance, toilet and bathing facilities, drinking fountains, public telephones, signs and site arrival points as well as accessible routes connecting all of them – are sometimes called “path of travel elements.” These elements are required to comply with the current code requirements or be brought into compliance when an alteration occurs. Compliance is required to the maximum extent feasible without exceeding 20 percent of the cost of the work directly associated with the installation of EVCS (see Section 11B-202.4 Exception 10).
Explain to the plaintiff that you’ve reviewed the grievance and talked with a lawyer. It may be best to explain the ADA guidelines, and that proposed laws are not currently laws, nor are there current penalties for violating these proposed laws. Knowing that you’ve gone to this trouble can sometimes scare away anyone attempting to file a lawsuit. It’s best to let your attorney contact the plaintiff when making statements.
On October 14, 2017 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 434, which will create a new Government Code section 11546.7 and require, beginning July 1, 2019, state agencies and state entities to post on their website home pages a certification that the website complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA, or a subsequent version, and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
In 2001, for men of all working ages and women under 40, Current Population Survey data showed a sharp drop in the employment of disabled workers, leading at least two economists to attribute the cause to the Act. By contrast, a study in 2003 found that while the Act may have led to short term reactions by employers, in the long term, there were either positive or neutral consequences for wages and employment. In 2005 the rate of employment among disabled people increased to 45% of the population of disabled people.
And once those new customers tell their friends and relatives how they found your website, more people will know you made sure to make it ADA compliant. The fact that you put this effort into ensuring everyone was included will set you apart from your competitors. Therefore, making your site ADA compliant is a great way to get some positive press for your business.
The "building official" is the officer or other designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of this code, or the building official's duly authorized representative in accordance with state law. Local cities and counties have building officials who regulate construction in their jurisdiction. State funded construction on state property is often regulated by a state agency, such as the Division of the State Architect. Sometimes public construction has more than one building official — each has separate jurisdictional oversight responsibilities.
At least one accessible route within the boundary of the site shall be provided from public transportation stops, accessible parking and accessible passenger loading zones, and public streets or sidewalks, to the accessible building entrance they serve. The accessible route shall, to the maximum extent feasible, coincide with the route for the general public. At least one accessible route shall connect accessible buildings, facilities, elements and spaces that are on the same site.
When a property owner hits the 20% cost limitation on path of travel improvements, the jurisdictional entity cannot require further improvements to the path of travel to occur. The property owner should be advised, however, that for older facilities that pre-date the ADA, barrier removal is required by the ADA. Barrier removal, however, will not be enforced by the local jurisdictional entity.