By Brian Cole/Employment litigation lawyer
Over the past year, the number of website disability access lawsuits has surged across all industries, but the problem is particularly intense in the food service industry and QSR sector suits are well represented. In short, being in this business today means knowing the law and its requirements when it comes to website accessibility, lest you leave your brand highly susceptible to a court case.
First off, understand that website disability access lawsuits or web access lawsuits allege that a consumer-facing website is discriminatory because it contains certain barriers that prevent access to individuals with visual, auditory or other disabilities. This type of action is brought under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as under the stipulations of any state’s non-discrimination laws, like the Unruh Civil Rights Act in California.
The costs associated with these lawsuits can be significant, as plaintiffs seek legal remedies that will bring inaccessible sites into compliance, along with any number of attorneys’ fees. Additionally, certain state non-discrimination laws — like the Unruh Act — also add minimum statutory penalties.