16 October 2016
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JMBM’s ADA Defense & Compliance team takes the ADA seriously, and we recommend that our clients take a proactive approach in identifying and solving potential problems before they become lawsuits. For many years now, we have called attention to the importance of making website ADA-compliant, but hotels, resorts, restaurants, banks, retailers and other owners and operators of commercial real estate continue to be vulnerable to one of the more recent and serious waves of ADA complaints. See Charles Schwab settles web site accessibility claim and New ADA standards for website accessibility.
Today, my partner Marty Orlick talks about a recent wave of website accessibility claims plaguing owners of commercial real estate. Be smart. Understand the problem and fix it now. This issue is not going to go away.
Hotel Websites and Reservation Systems
Is your website accessible to the blind and vision impaired?
Martin H. Orlick, Chair, JMBM’s ADA Compliance & Defense Group
A version of this article was published by the California Bankers Association.
How would you react if you received a letter from a law firm alleging that your hotel’s website is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it discriminates against persons who are visually disabled?
If your reaction is to take it seriously, you would be correct.
How would you react if you discovered a near-identical letter was sent to hundreds of other hotels, restaurants and other businesses – by the same law firm?
If your reaction is that you received a cookie-cutter letter by a plaintiff firm that is using a dragnet to identify possible defendants for lawsuits, you would also be correct.
How would you respond to the demand that you bring your website into compliance with international standards for web accessibility?
If you respond by picking up the phone to call experienced ADA legal counsel, you will be saving time and money.
What it’s all about
In January 2016, the law firm Carlson Lynch Sweet & Kilpela (CLSK) sent hundreds of near-identical form letters to national hotels, restaurants, financial institutions and other businesses, contending that the Department of Justice (DOJ) – the federal agency responsible for adopting ADA Standards – requires businesses to make their websites compliant with the ADA. (Note here that the DOJ has not formally adopted any specific website accessibility guidelines.) CONTINUE READING →