There are many risks of not having an ADA compliant website. The biggest risk, however, is a potential lawsuit from a plaintiff with a disability that claims they do not have adequate access to the content on your website. This may be a potential customer with a disability that simply cannot access or purchase the goods and services on an eCommerce website, a disabled student looking to apply to a university online, or a person with a disability that’s interested in filling out a job application online.
Most of the ADA website compliance lawsuits that we’ve seen thus far have fallen under one of these categories. If a person is unable to apply for employment or enrolment at a university online due to their disability, that person would have a strong case for discrimination in court.
The Upward Trend of ADA Website Compliance Lawsuits I in 2019, according to an analysis by international legal firm Seyfarth Shaw, web accessibility federal lawsuits hit record numbers, with 11,053 suits filed in federal court, an 8.8°/o increase from 2018. This increase may be in response to a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which reversed a federal judge’s 2017 dismissal of a case against Domino’s Pizza. A man who is blind complained that he was unable to use Domino’s website or mobile app because neither was accessible. This reversal might have triggered more plaintiffs to launch web accessibility lawsuits.
Over the years, people have filed web accessibility lawsuits over Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act violations. Section 508 federal departments and agencies ensure ICT (information and communication technology) they use is accessible. People have taken legal action against both the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security over Section 508 violations.