WCAG 2.0 AA Gains Prominence as Website Accessibility Standard
Authors: Jennifer S. Rusie (Nashville), David Raizman (Los Angeles)
Published Date: January 13, 2017
The U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) finalized a regulation this week that will make the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) Level AA the design standard when interpreting and implementing Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires federal agencies and contractors to make their websites accessible to disabled individuals. Affected federal agencies and contractors will have one year from the publication of the final rule to comply with the revised 508 standards, which would place the compliance deadline sometime in early 2018.
The Access Board’s adoption of WCAG 2.0 Level AA strongly suggests that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will likewise adopt that standard when it finally issues its regulations. The process to issue its final regulations is not even projected to start until late 2018. As we have noted in the past, the DOJ and many courts have ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires accessibility for the websites of most private businesses even in the absence of DOJ regulations.
In the meantime, the DOJ and federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights have also continued to reach private settlements with various parties that likewise make WCAG 2.0 Level AA the applicable standard for ADA compliance. The takeaway for private sector businesses looking to bring their websites into ADA compliance is that WCAG 2.0 Level AA has now gained further prominence as the most likely standard that a court will look to in determining a website’s compliance with the ADA.
Jennifer Rusie represents management in the area of labor and employment law with an emphasis on employment litigation, including cases involving Title VII, the ADAAA, ADEA, FMLA, FLSA, common law wrongful termination, and restrictive covenants. Additionally, approximately half of Jennifer's practice is devoted to Title III of the ADA - both architectural issues and website accessibility. In addition to representing and counseling employers in labor and employment matters, Jennifer represents...
David Raizman is nationally known for his disability rights practice, specifically for his work under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2012, he was recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the top labor and employment attorneys in California and has been recognized multiple times as a Southern California Super Lawyer. David works extensively with hotels, sports franchises, stadium and arena owners and operators, amusement parks, theaters, retailers,...