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Is Your Website ADA Compliant? If You Are in the Hospitality Business, It Had Better Be

There has been a surge of class action lawsuits against restaurants claiming that their website is not ADA compliant. The plaintiffs claim the website is not accessible to blind and visually impaired people. The most recent victim is a Brooklyn bakery chain, Milk Bar, that also has locations in Toronto, Washington DC and Las Vegas. In addition to the violation of the federal ADA laws, the plaintiff claims a violation of New York City and New York’s human rights laws. The plaintiffs argue that the technology is widely available to add features that enable visually impaired people to read websites, and failing to add those features deprives customers of the ability to “full and equal” access to the restaurant’s services and learn about hours, locations, menu items and prices. They claim that requiring visually impaired people to use screen readers is unacceptable and not providing the reasonable accommodations the federal ADA laws require. One objection is that screen readers can only be used with text content and the increasing use of graphic elements and video without an alt-text feature is incompatible with these devices used by the visually impaired. If you are in the hospitality business, and especially if you have more than one location, you should work with your website team to add this feature over the next few months and avoid being the target of the next lawsuit.