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5 Top Companies That Got Sued Over Website Accessibility

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It might surprise you to learn that your favorite brands have been sued for accessibility law violations and not being equal for people with disabilities.  Small businesses have been subjected to an increase of 300% in accessibility lawsuits in recent years with the average settlement being $25,000. Well, no one is above the law. This statement is illustrated clearly in the case of these five companies that failed to meet accessibility standards for their consumers.

Small businesses to corporations have been subjected to an increase of 300% in accessibility lawsuits in recent years with the average settlement being $25,000. Well, no one is above the law. This statement is illustrated clearly in the case of these five companies that failed to meet accessibility standards for their consumers.

Famous Web Accessibility lawsuits

Target

This case is a precedent for web accessibility cases and a cautionary tale to industries that do not meet the WCAG standards. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) notified Target Corporation in 2005 of their website’s inaccessibility to the blind and filed a lawsuit in 2006.

The lawsuit alleged Target of violating the California Unruh Civil Rights Act (California Civil Code Section 51 et. seq.), California Disabled Persons Act (California Civil Code Section 54 et. seq.), and The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)- accessibility laws that require businesses and any space to be accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

Target eventually settled the class-action lawsuit in 2018 and was required to pay damages of $6 million as well as make its website accessible to people with disabilities. Target also agreed to monitor its site’s accessibility by the National Federation of the Blind for three years and train its web developers team.

Netflix 

In 2012, Netflix, the popular streaming service was hit with a lawsuit from the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) for failing to make available adequate closed captioning for most of its Watch Instantly content. Netflix was the only major online-only movie-watching service at the time, so the disparity in access for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers was huge.

Mendizabal vs. Nike

Nike was served a class action lawsuit by Maria Mendizabal in 2017 because both websites it operates – Nike.com and Converse.com – were inaccessible to visually impaired users, like Maria. Maria was suing because of Nike’s failure to “design, construct, maintain, and operate its website to be fully accessible to and independently usable to blind or visually-impaired people.”

 

Screen-reading software is used by visually impaired users to read aloud text from websites. In order for this software to work, websites must be designed to be compatible with it.

 

Amazon

Today, Amazon’s websites are accessible, but this wasn’t always the case. In 2018, the world’s top eCommerce platform was sued over accessibility barriers to users who are visually impaired. The main issues were the inability to use screen readers on Amazon’s websites, as well as its incompatibility with refreshable Braille displays. The lawsuit ended in a settlement.

 

Beyonce Knowles (Park Entertainment)

Right after New Year’s celebrations, on January 3, 2019, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Beyonce Knowles’ company, Park Entertainment, because Beyonce’s website that sold concert tickets and other products related to Beyonce’s music was missing several fundamentals of website accessibility leading to a blind Beyonce fan being unable to buy tickets to a Beyonce concert.

 

The class-action lawsuit focused particularly on people who are legally blind – a category that includes a range of visual impairment, not just total blindness.

 

This high-profile ADA lawsuit settlement put the spotlight on some of the most fundamental elements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Domino’s Pizza

In 2019, Guillermo Robles sued Domino’s Pizza over violations of ADA Title III. Despite using screen-reading software, he was unable to order food from Domino’s website and app. The case was won by Robles, setting a powerful example for businesses.

Final Thoughts

Accessi can help you avoid getting into a legal battle through its automated accessibility audit and comprehensive reports. Get your site tested today to begin your journey to having a WCAG 2.1 compliant website.

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