Justice Department Urged To Address Web Accessibility
Citing growing litigation, a group of senators is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to weigh in on how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies online.
In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions this month, a half-dozen Republican senators said that the time is now for his agency to speak out.
“Right now it is not clear whether the ADA applies to websites. This leaves business and property owners unsure of what standards, if any, govern their online services,” wrote Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
In just the first half of this year, there were more lawsuits filed related to website accessibility than in all of last year, the senators indicated.
“The department should waste no time in resolving this uncertainty, which will no doubt increase accessibility while curbing unnecessary and abusive litigation,” the letter states.
At the time, the agency said it was “evaluating whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of web information and services is necessary and appropriate.”
With their correspondence, however, the senators said that the current situation is only benefiting attorneys and urged the Justice Department to “promptly” take action by filing statements of interest in pending litigation and other steps.
“Clarity in the law will encourage private investment in technology and other measures that will improve conditions for the disabled,” the senators wrote.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kelly Laco said the agency has received the letter and is reviewing it.