The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Companies that fail to comply with these regulations can face hefty fines and damage in reputation.
The ADA applies to both brick and mortar business and online websites, meaning that all organisations must comply. However, there are a number of high-profile cases of online businesses not complying with the ADA.
Here is a list of 10 awesome companies that you didn’t know were sued for not complying with the ADA.
In August 2018, tech giant Apple was claimed to be violating the ADA by not being fully accessible to blind or visually-impaired consumers, due to the way that the website was coded.
Apple Insider reported that Apple was alleged to have lacked compliance with WCAG 2.0 guidelines means Apple has “engaged in acts of intentional discrimination,” under the belief the site was not produced with visually-impaired individuals in mind, nor has it been corrected.
This came as a surprise considering that Apple is a company that prides itself on including accessibility features in its products for everyone to use, even going out of their way highlight them on Global Accessibility Awareness Day every year.
Another massive company, Amazon were sued in 2018 on claims that their website was inaccessible to the blind and visually impaired.
The lawsuit claimed that the website ‘Amazon.com’ did not provide text alternatives for non-text content on its website, blocking screen-reading software from presenting information to visually impaired users
The claimant sought damages on behalf of himself and all similarly affected individuals, wanting Amazon to become ADA and WCAG compliant and accessible to the visually impaired.
However, the case was later dismissed after both parties came to a settlement agreement.
Fast food giant Burger King was subject to an ADA lawsuit in 2018 on claims that their website did not provide full and unrestrained access for the visually impaired. It explained that every time the claimant visited the website, they experienced problems that prevented from accessing key information about their goods and services.
It as also claimed that Burger King’s website contained empty links that cause confusion for users of screen-reading software.
The claimant called for a permanent injunction for Burger King to ensure its website accessibility and eventually, the case was voluntarily dismissed after both parties came to a settlement agreement.
One of the biggest shoe companies in the world, Nike were sued for not complying with ADA in 2017. It was claimed that both of Nike’s websites, ‘Nike.com’ and Converse.com, failed to provide equal access for the blind and visually impaired as it did for normal users.
The claimant explained that the websites in questions failed to use alt-text to provide text-equivalents for every page element.
For reference, alt-text is displayed in place of an image if an image file cannot be loaded. For the visually impaired, if screen reading software fails to correctly render non-text elements to visually impaired users, they find it difficult to understand what the element is trying to display.
The case was later dismissed as both parties came to a settlement agreement.
Hulu, a subscription video-on-demand service company, was sued in 2016 by the National Association of the Deaf. They claimed that Hulu’s services provided a lack of closed captions for their video content.
This case was settled but Hulu was made to adhere to the Federal Communications Commission’s standards for caption quality, and to include closed caption all full-length English and Spanish video content.
Hulu also agreed to make content available with captions in other languages on demand.
Bank of America
This company was sued in 2015 for a lack of accessibility to the Bank of America Credit Card Rewards Redemption Solutions for Bank of America customers on their website.
The case resulted in a settlement between the company and the claimant.
After the settlement, Bank of America had to launch the New Bank of America Credit Card Rewards Redemptions Solutions that met the criteria established by the WCAG 2.0 standards.
They also had to train their customer service teams to assist with the visually impaired.
In 2012, it was claimed that Netflix, the online video streaming provider, failed to provide adequate closed captioning on its “Watch Instantly” program.
A settlement was agreed and Netflix agreed to quickly provide captions on newly released content. This agreement required Netflix to make “diligent efforts” to ensure that this compatibility was available on most, but not all, devices that supported Netflix at the time.
That’s right, even the luxury watch brand Rolex has been the subject of failing ADA compliance. It was claimed that the Rolex USA website lacked alt-text that prevented visually impaired customers from accessing features, such as general browsing, store locations and opening hours, that the regular viewers can.
The claimant wanted a permanent injunction against Rolex Watch to make their website fully accessible to all users, including visually impaired users
Both parties came to an ADA settlement agreement and the case was voluntarily dismissed.
It was claimed that in 2015, the online dating website eHarmony violated the ADA by failing to build a website compatible with accessibility technology.
It was claimed that the site took advantage of pop-up forms and imagery without alt-text, preventing the blind and visually impaired users from having full access to the site without getting help from others.
The case is yet to be resolved.
The final awesome company to be sued for not complying with the ADA is the National Basketball Association (NBA).
It’s easy to forget that sports leagues are companies; nevertheless, they are and so must comply with company law as much as other businesses throughout the country.
The NBA was sued for not complying with the ADA in 2015 for not meeting accessibility standards and not accommodating to the blind and visually impaired.
The decision on this case is still pending.