ADA Compliance & Laws
The Department of Justice (DOJ) published the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design in September 2010. These standards state that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities.
For more information on the proposed rulemaking by the DOJ, please go to ANPRM notice posted on July 26, 2010.
How to Comply with the ADA?
The ADA encourages self-regulation of accessibility standards and the Department of Justice is currently developing regulations to provide specific guidance to the entities covered by the ADA. Organizations are encouraged to use the WCAG 2.0 level AA guidelines as a guide on how to become accessible until the DOJ defines the regulations.
United States Laws: American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, is civil rights legislation governed by the Department of Justice. The goal of this law is to make sure that people with disabilities can have an equal opportunity to participate in programs, services, and activities. There are two major sections in the ADA that may apply to web accessibility. These are:
- Title II, which states that communications with persons with disabilities must be “as effective as communications with others” [28 C.F.R. ss 35.160 (a)]
- Title III, which deals with public accommodation of people with disabilities.
United States Laws: Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Sections 504 & 508)
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the first major legislative effort to secure an equal playing field for individuals with disabilities. This legislation provides a wide range of services for persons with physical and cognitive disabilities. Two sections within the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, have an impact on accessible web design. These are Sections 504 and 508.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a civil rights law. It was the first civil rights legislation in the United States designed to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination based on their disability status.
The nondiscrimination requirements of the law apply to employers and organizations that receive federal financial assistance. All government agencies, federally-funded projects, K-12 schools, postsecondary entities (state colleges, universities, and vocational training schools) fall into this category.
The Reauthorized Rehabilitation Act of 1998 included amendments to Section 508 of the Act. This section bars the Federal government from procuring electronic and information technology (E&IT) goods and services that are not fully accessible to those with disabilities. This would include the services of web design since the Internet was specifically mentioned.
The United States Access Board
The Access Board is an independent federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards.