On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. The purpose is to grant millions of individuals with disabilities equal access to all public and private places.
In 2008, the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law, further defining the word “disability:”
Title I of the ADA is intended to ensure equal employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities to ensure they can participate in the job application process or to perform specific job functions.
Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all programs, activities and services of public entities. This applies to all state and local governments and any of their departments, agencies or other instrumentalities.
Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation, including such places as restaurants, private schools, sports stadiums, office buildings, and more. Businesses are required to make “reasonable modifications” to serve people with disabilities.
While the ADA does not explicitly mention website compliance, today, many courts are ruling that the Internet is considered a “place of public accommodation,” defined in Title III. As a result, thousands of private companies are facing legal action from plaintiffs claiming an inaccessible website is an ADA Title III violation.