Accessibility legislation and penalties vary from country to country, and from state to state or province to province within those countries. Below is a detailed guide to current state, provincial, and federal digital accessibility laws, regulations, and standards.
Updated August 2021
- US – Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973- This requires Federal agencies to make all electronic and information technology accessible to those with disabilities.
All states at least have policies requiring federal government agencies to ensure website accessibility to all visitors, mandated by Section 508, which was an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This usually includes any organizations that receive government funding, such as public hospitals or schools.
- Text alternatives to all non-text elements.
- Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.
- Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup.
- Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.
- Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map.
- Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape.
- Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables.
- Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers.
- Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.
- Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.
- A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of these standards when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes.
- When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology.
- When a web page requires that an applet, plug-in, or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, the page must provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with §1194.21(a) through (l).
- When electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.
- Website Accessibility Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act– Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities by state and local governments. This commonly includes websites for those entities as well.
- 21st Century IDEA Act– This was signed into law on December 20, 2018, and requires all federal government agencies to have modern, accessible websites. These websites must also include self-service, fillable forms so that citizens have digital alternatives to physical paper forms of every federal document. The deadline for these updates is December 20, 2019.
- State and Local Governments – State and local governments are not specifically covered under Section 508, only federal government agencies. However, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs, and activities provided by State and local government entities. While ICT (information and communication technology) isn’t specifically mentioned in Title II or elsewhere in the ADA, past court decisions have held that websites can be considered services of the company to which they belong. Unlike Section 508, the ADA keeps requirements intentionally broad to include a wider range of applications. Many states have legislated their own rules and regulations for digital accessibility. Some have adopted the Section 508 standards, others follow WCAG, and some have developed their own standards entirely. State accessibility laws also apply to private enterprise companies in some cases.
Some states allow plaintiffs to recover additional damages to those awarded in federal ADA laws. The ADA prohibits plaintiffs from recovering damages aside from court costs and legal fees at the federal level. However, some states, such as New York and Florida, allow plaintiffs to recover punitive damages in addition to their legal fees on the state level. California has the Unruh Act, a law that sets the minimum amount that plaintiffs can recover at $4,000.
- Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act – The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation against those with disabilities in any state in the US. The ADA uses intentionally broad language to describe what business offerings must be accessible so it covers just about anything a company may provide. Many jurisdictions have held that websites should be considered services offered by the organization that owns them. As such, the websites belonging to places of public accommodation must be accessible under the ADA Title III, even though digital offerings are not specifically mentioned. All civil rights laws and damages pertaining to places of public accommodation and the services they offer also apply to websites. According to the Department of Justice, the wording is left intentionally vague to allow for greater flexibility. There are no specific guidelines listing exactly what accessibility should look like because accessibility will look different for every website depending on its design. However, many federal courts have referred to the international standard, WCAG, as the guidelines by which to determine and measure accessibility.
Digital accessibility laws differ from state to state, and among different types of organizations. The federal government and any organization receiving federal funding are covered by Section 508 standards, while state agencies and sometimes local and private organizations are covered by state digital accessibility requirements. All public websites- whether owned by federal, state, local, or private companies- must abide by ADA regulations.
Web developers for the state of Alabama are required to comply with universal design standards as outlined by the W3C and Access Board. In their Information Technology Standards document, they cite Section 508 as the standard for accessibility compliance. All graphics must have alt tags, links must be descriptive and intuitive, frames must not be used, and alternatives to online forms must be available via email or phone call. These requirements apply to alabama.gov or secondary state.al.us domain names.
Persons who are blind, visually and otherwise physically disabled are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of all common carriers and public modes of transportation and places “to which the general public is invited.”
A person, firm, or corporation who denies or interferes with admission to, or enjoyment of, full and free use of public facilities, public accommodations, and transportation by people with disabilities is guilty of a misdemeanor.
The state of Alaska is committed to serving all Alaskans and is using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, Level AA as a guide to improve content and services to make its websites more accessible for everyone.
It is unlawful for the owner, lessee, manager, agent, or employee of public accommodation to refuse, withhold from, or deny to a person any of its services, goods, facilities, advantages, or privileges because of physical or mental disability. It is also unlawful to publish, circulate, issue, display, post, or mail a written or printed communication, notice, or advertisement that states or implies that patronage by persons with disabilities is in any way discouraged, unwanted, or unwelcome.
Violators are guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction, punishable by a fine of not more than $500, or by imprisonment in jail for not more than 30 days, or both.
The Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology Office shall develop, implement and maintain detailed accessibility standards for a number of different website elements and functionalities. This policy applies to websites for all public state offices, branches, and departments, including organizations that receive state funding. These agencies must use high-contrasting colors, alt text for images, properly tagged lists and tables, transcripts or captions for audio and video content, offer text-only and downloadable PDF or other web content, and accessible form labels. Additionally, all digital resources must be keyboard navigable.
No individual may be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases, leases to others or operates a place of public accommodation.
Plaintiffs may recover actual and compensatory damages, including damages for emotional distress, in addition to court costs. If it’s appropriate to vindicate public interest, a penalty of up to $5,000 for first-time violations or up to $10,000 for repeat violations against the party responsible for the violation.
Act 1227 of 1999 requires the Arkansas Department of Information Systems to develop Non-visual Standards for Arkansas that ensures the needs of Arkansans who are blind or visually impaired are met through reasonable accommodation in the information technology products and services of the state, including state employees, program participants, and members of the general public. This includes purchases made by the state. If accessible technology is not reasonably available to those with visual disabilities, reasonable accommodation must be made available.
It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of mental or physical disability, and all have the right to the full enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of any place of public resort, accommodations, assemblage, or amusement.
Any person who is injured by an intentional act of discrimination in violation of civil rights laws shall have a civil action to enjoin further violations, to recover compensatory and punitive damages, and, in the discretion of the court, to recover the cost of litigation and a reasonable attorney’s fee.
All state agencies are required to become compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which mandates that all federal agencies make any electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. California Government Code Section 1135 also requires that any information technology created or used by the state be fully accessible. Going one step further, CA-AB 434 requires all California agencies, including state-funded healthcare systems and educational institutions, to become compliant with WCAG 2.0 Level AA and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and post a certificate confirming accessibility on their website by July 1, 2019.
The Unruh Act states all persons within the jurisdiction of California are free and equal, and no matter what their disability or medical condition, are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.
Those who violate the Unruh act are penalized with a minimum $4,000 fine.
Colorado became the first state in the country to legally mandate website accessibility for state and local governments on June 30, 2021. HB21-1110 now specifically requires state and local agencies to remove any digital accessibility barriers or face legal repercussions at the state level.
The law calls for Colorado’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) to develop a set of standards for state and local agencies to follow by July 1 of 2022. The OIT will consult people with disabilities and international standards, like Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), to develop these standards. Once in place, agencies will have two more years, until July 1, 2024, to develop and implement an accessibility plan.
Violators could face injunctive relief in the form of a court order to fix the inaccessible website, possible monetary damages, or a fine of $3500 payable to the plaintiff.
Prohibited discriminatory practices in places of public accommodation include denial of service, terms and conditions, unequal treatment, failure to accommodate, and retaliation based on certain protected classes including disability.
The state has developed a set of requirements that are specified in their Universal Web Site Accessibility Policy for State Web Sites, which is periodically updated. State agencies must also conform to WCAG 1.0 Level A standards. State web design requirements include specific standards for universal design, text-based design, and graphics and images.
Universal design standards require a streamlined layout with clear, consistent navigation and structure, high-contrast colors, and text alternatives for all non-text elements, all of which are usable on a variety of web technologies.
Text-based design requires proper punctuation, straightforward paragraphs instead of columns, tables, images of text, or forms, limit hyperlinks per line of text and describe hyperlinks and lists clearly. Graphics and images should be minimal, have a minimal number of colors, and be described with alternative text, and backgrounds should be clean and not distract from the text.
It shall be a discriminatory practice to deny any person within the jurisdiction of this state full and equal accommodations in any place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement because of intellectual, mental, or physical disability.
Connecticut damages allow plaintiffs to be awarded relief in the form of temporary or permanent injunctive relief, attorney’s fees, and court costs.
The Delaware.gov Web Portal was constructed to comply with the accessibility guidelines developed through the Web Accessibility Initiatives developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. This Portal has achieved Level A compliance with the WAI’s accessibility guidelines. This means all priority 1 checkpoints—and in many cases more rigorous priority 2 checkpoints—were adhered to in its construction. All agencies receiving federal funding are required to comply with Section 508 standards.
No person being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, director, supervisor, superintendent, agent, or employee of any place of public accommodation, may directly or indirectly refuse, withhold from, or deny to any person, on account of disability any of the accommodations, facilities, advantages, or privileges thereof. It is also unlawful to directly or indirectly publish, issue, circulate, post, or display any communication, notice, or advertisement that suggests the patronage of those with disabilities is in any way unwanted, unwanted, or unsolicited.
The plaintiff may recover actual damages suffered, court costs and legal fees, and injunctive or equitable relief. To vindicate public interest, the human rights panel may assess a civil penalty against the respondent to be paid to the Special Administration Fund of up to $25,000, depending on whether the respondent has been charged with previous offenses.
The DC.Gov web portal is committed to meeting the federal government standards of Section 508.
The DC Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and educational institutions.
Plaintiffs may recover compensatory damages and legal fees. Civil penalties may also be assessed and deposited into the General Fund of up to $50,000, depending on the number of prior offenses.
All state government branches must comply with Section 508 when developing, competitively procuring, maintaining, or using electronic information or information technology. Besides being legally compliant with Section 508, state websites must be actually usable to those with disabilities or face civil action as well.
All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this chapter, without discrimination or segregation on the ground handicap.
The Attorney General may commence a civil action for damages, injunctive relief, civil penalties not to exceed $10,000 per violation, and such other relief as may be appropriate under the laws of this state if the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that any person or group has repeatedly engaged in a pattern of discrimination or has raised an issue of great public interest.
All websites owned and managed by state agencies SHALL meet at least the minimum standards for accessibility as defined by the W3C guidelines.
All state of Georgia websites should also comply with Section 508 in order to provide accessible websites.
Blind and visually disabled persons are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges on all public conveyances and places of public accommodation, amusement, or resort, and other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.
Defendants found to be guilty of a misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $2,000.00, imprisonment for not more than 30 days, or both.
Ehawaii.gov wishes to ensure access to government information is available to all individuals and follows Section 508 guidelines.
Under Hawaii law, it is illegal to deny a person access to or to treat them unequally in a place of public accommodation because of that person’s disability.
If after the hearing the commission determines there is a violation of the law, the commission will issue a final decision and order to correct any discriminatory practices and to prevent their recurrence. Remedies may include damages, fines, or other remedies appropriate to correct the harm caused by the discrimination, or punitive damages where there is clear and convincing evidence that an accommodation willfully. deliberately, or maliciously violated the law.
Idaho.gov wishes to ensure accessibility of web resources for all users and has been designed for use in a wide variety of browsers and with assistive technologies in mind. The Idaho.gov portal complies with Idaho’s Web Publishing Guidelines, which are based on the W3C’s Priority 1 checkpoints.
Idaho law prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on mental or physical disability.
If the court finds that unlawful discrimination has occurred, its judgment shall specify an appropriate remedy such as an order to cease and desist from the unlawful practice specified in the order and/ or an order for punitive damages, not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each willful violation.
The Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) requires Illinois agencies and universities to ensure that their web sites, information systems, and information technologies are accessible to people with disabilities. IITAA standards are based on Section 508 and WCAG 2.0.
All individuals within Illinois have ensured freedom from discrimination due to physical or mental disability in connection with the availability of public accommodations.
According to Illinois Civil Rights laws for damages, defendants found by the court to have violated civil rights laws must cease and desist from further discrimination, and plaintiffs are entitled to court costs and attorney fees.
All state digital resources must comply with Section 508 standards. Indiana has developed the Assistive Technology Standards Group (ATSG) to guide state agencies in making progress towards that goal.
It is unlawful for an individual to be denied access or to receive poor service or lesser quality accommodations because of his or her disability.
All State of Iowa agencies, boards or commissions, and contractors for the State developing and maintaining websites, must give employees and members of the public with disabilities access to website information that is comparable to the access available to others.
It is the website accessibility standard of Iowa that all agencies receiving Federal funding must comply with Section 508, and the State of Iowa must comply with WCAG 2.0 levels A and AA, including technologies procured through contractors. State website RFPs must include reference to and acknowledgment of this standard.
It shall be an unfair or discriminatory practice for any public accommodation or any agent or employee thereof to refuse or deny to any person because of disability accommodations, advantages, facilities, services, or privileges thereof. It is also unlawful to directly or indirectly advertise or in any other manner indicate or publicize that the patronage of persons of any disability is unwelcome, objectionable, not acceptable, or not solicited.
Iowa allows for payment to the complainant of damages for an injury caused by the discriminatory or unfair practice. Damages shall include but are not limited to actual damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney fees.
Kansas’s state policy demands that state software and IT complies with Section 508 and W3C guidelines at a minimum.
To protect these rights, it is hereby declared to be the purpose of this act to establish and to provide a state commission having the power to eliminate and prevent segregation and discrimination, or separation in all places of public accommodations covered by this act because of disability.
Kentucky law requires all state and other state-assisted organizations to ensure individuals with disabilities are provided access to all information technology equipment and software “that is equivalent to the access provided to individuals who are not disabled.” Digital resources must be designed to present information in formats intended for both visual and non-visual use. Technology equipment and software must also have been purchased under a contract that includes a technology access clause.
The Kentucky Accessible Information Technology (AIT) law was passed in April 2000. The law is split into five sections covering definitions, technology equipment requirements, procurement of IT, an exclusion clause, and injury violation procedure.
This administrative regulation provides that all places of public accommodation be designed and constructed so as to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. In addition, examinations or courses related to licensing or certification for professional and trade purposes shall be accessible to persons with disabilities.
Louisiana state policy encourages Section 508 compliance.
It is a discriminatory practice for a person to deny an individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement, as defined in this Chapter, on the grounds of disability.
Any person whose civil rights have been violated by discrimination shall have a civil cause of action in district court to enjoin further violations and to recover the actual damages, together with the costs of court and a reasonable fee for his attorney of record, in addition to any other remedies.
The State of Maine is committed to making its information and communication technology (ICT) accessible and usable by everyone. To that end, the MaineIT Accessibility Team evaluates the state’s information and communication technology for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through WCAG 2.0 and Section 508.
State laws prohibit bias based on physical or mental disability.
If there is evidence to prove that civil rights have also been violated an injunction may be filed. The Attorney General can also seek civil penalty under the Maine Civil Rights Act. The civil penalty can be as much as $5,000 per violation.
State laws require posting an accessibility policy in the footer of each site, employing universal usability, testing for usability, validating by W3C standards, using contrasting colors, functioning even without images, and other elements that align with Section 508.
An owner, operator, agent, or employee of a place of public accommodation may not refuse, withhold from, or deny any person any accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of the place of public accommodation because of the person’s disability.
The court may award the prevailing party reasonable attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, and costs. Compensatory damages are available under all of the state and local civil rights laws.
Digital accessibility standards are based on Mass. Gen. L. ch. 151B, which prohibits discrimination against the handicapped in connection with housing and employment, and Ch. 272 sections 98 and 98A, which prohibit discrimination in public accommodations against persons with disabilities. All of these statutes apply to all state agencies. These standards are based on Sections 504 and 508 as well as the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0
All persons shall have the right to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable to all persons.
Violators will be subject to a fine of $300- $2500 for anyone causing discrimination against another in a place of public accommodation.
All State of Michigan (SOM) applications must follow the Web application standards, including WCAG 2.0 level AA, and must complete a SOM Web Application Review to ensure standards are met. All issues identified during a review must be resolved prior to production release.
The opportunity to obtain full and equal utilization of public accommodations, public services, and educational facilities without discrimination because of a disability is guaranteed by this act and is a civil right unless that accommodation would impose an undue hardship.
A person alleging a violation of this act may bring a civil action for appropriate injunctive relief or damages, or both. Damages may include compensation for injury or loss caused by each violation, including legal fees.
The standard incorporates the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
It is an unfair discriminatory practice to deny any person the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation because of disability, or for a taxicab company to discriminate in the access to, full utilization of, or benefit from service because of a person’s disability
Offending parties must pay a civil penalty to the general fund of the state, in addition to compensatory and punitive damages to be paid to an aggrieved party in an amount up to three times the actual damages sustained. The judge may also order the respondent to pay the aggrieved party damages for mental anguish or suffering and reasonable attorney’s fees, in addition to punitive damages up to $25,000.
Mississippi.gov includes an accessibility policy ensuring visitors it is committed to inclusion and universal access in all of its services and programs. It mentions that it tests its websites for accessibility, but no specific accessibility standards are mentioned.
The Mississippi legislature amended the Public Welfare Code in the 1970s to require equal access for persons with visual, hearing, and other physical disabilities to public facilities and places “to which the general public is invited.” Ms. Code Ann. §§ 43-6-1 to 43-6-9 (West’s 2009).
Any person, firm, or corporation who denies or interferes with access by members of the protected class to the public facilities or places, public accommodations, or otherwise interferes with their rights granted under the above statutes, is subject to a fine of $100 or 60-day jail time or both. Ms. Code Ann. § 43-6-11.
Missouri state law (RSMo. 161.935) requires state agencies to develop and procure accessible information technology unless an undue burden would be imposed. Missouri’s law defines information technology the same as Section 508. The statute also charged the Missouri assistive technology council (MoAT) and the information technology services division (ITSD) with responsibility for adopting standards to be used by state agencies in the procurement or development of accessible information technology. The standards reflect both WCAG 2.0AA and Section 508, MoAT and OIT along with the Division of Purchasing developed IT access standards.
All persons within the jurisdiction of the state of Missouri are free and equal and shall be entitled to the full and equal use and enjoyment within this state of any place of public accommodation, as hereinafter defined, without discrimination or segregation because of disability.
Courts who have determined the defendant to be responsible for violating anti-discrimination laws may award to the plaintiff actual and punitive damages and may award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party, other than a state agency or commission or a local commission. A prevailing respondent may be awarded reasonable attorney fees only upon a showing that the case was without foundation.
Individuals who are blind or visually impaired have the right to full participation in the life of the state, including the use of information technology that is provided by the state for use by employees, program participants, and the public. Technology purchased in whole or in part with funds provided by the state that is to be used for the creation, storage, retrieval, or dissemination of information and that is intended for use by employees, program participants, and the public must be accessible to and usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.montana.gov strives to meet W3C Recommendations and other web industry standards, specifically conforming to HTML 5, CSS Level 3, WAI-ARIA, and Section 508.
Except when the distinction is based on reasonable grounds, it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for the owner, lessee, manager, agent, or employee of a public accommodation to refuse, withhold from, or deny to a person any of its services, goods, facilities, advantages, or privileges because of physical or mental disability.
It is also unlawful to publish, circulate, issue, display, post, or mail a written or printed communication, notice, or advertisement which states or implies that any of the services, goods, facilities, advantages, or privileges of the public accommodation will be refused, withheld from, or denied to a person of a certain physical or mental disability.
Businesses that willfully discriminate against any protected class are guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.
All state agencies’ ICT (information and communication technology) must comply with Section 508 and WCAG 2.1 so that state employees and members of the general public with disabilities can access information and data in a comparable way to people without disabilities.
Title III of the ADA protects people with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in the enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation provided by a private entity who owns, leases, or operates a place of public accommodation.
The State of Nevada Department of Administration, Division of Information Technology Services (EITS) is partially conformant with WCAG 2.0 level AA.
All persons are entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of disability.
The court may issue some form of injunctive relief against the defendant and may award costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party.
All state agencies must comply with Section 508 to be accessible to everyone.
It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent, or employee of any place of public accommodation, because of physical or mental disability directly or indirectly to refuse, withhold from or deny to such person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof, or to publish, post, or advertise any written or printed communication indicating that any services, products, or facilities may be denied to any person on the basis of disability. Any suggestion that the business or patronage of any disabled person is unwelcome is also unlawful.
Plaintiff may recover compensatory damages and reasonable attorney fees. The defendant may also be subject to a fine to vindicate public interest of $10,000 for a first offense, and up to $75,000 thereafter.
To achieve the objectives of the policy, a State department or agency must be able to demonstrate that it has incorporated all WCAG Priority 1 checkpoints and paragraphs 1194.22 (l), (m), (n), (o), and (p) of Section 508 for new or revised Web documents.
The Services, Facilities, Privileges, or Accommodations Provided by Public Accommodations (whether or not it has a building, headquarters, office, or other place). Public Accommodations include, but are not limited to, schools, government buildings, courts, restaurants, taverns libraries, hotels, gymnasiums, theaters and hospitals
An Order Restraining Unlawful Discrimination, Reimbursement for Financial Loss, Damages for Pain and Humiliation Experienced as a Result of Unlawful Discrimination, Punitive Damages, and Attorney’s Fees.
The State of New Mexico has adopted the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Conformance Level AA and Section 508.
It is unlawful for any person in any public accommodation to make a distinction, directly or indirectly, in offering or refusing to offer its services, facilities, accommodations, or goods to any person because of physical or mental handicap.
An officer or employee of the labor department who makes public in any manner information in violation of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or imprisoned not more than one year.
State agencies are required to ensure that both internal and external documents are accessible to members of the public as well as state employees, based on the requirements of Section 508.
It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement, because of disability, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from or deny to such person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof, suggest their business or patronage is unwelcome due to their disability, or to in any way publish, advertise, or post any communication suggesting that the business or patronage of a disabled person will be withheld or denied.
Any person, employer, labor organization or employment agency, who or which shall willfully resist, prevent, impede or interfere with the division or any of its employees or representatives in the performance of duty under this article, or shall willfully violate an order of the division or commissioner, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and be punishable by imprisonment in a penitentiary, or county jail, for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or by both; but procedure for the review of the order shall not be deemed to be such willful conduct.
NC.gov and other state agency websites are designed to reduce barriers to content for visitors with disabilities by implementing requirements that allow an inclusive, accessible online experience for users with assistive technology. The platform incorporates federally mandated Section 508 compliance standards and best practices recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) for web accessibility.
It is a discriminatory practice for a person to deny a qualified person with a disability the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of a place of public accommodation on the basis of a disabling condition.
Court costs and legal fees may be awarded.
Discrimination on the basis of any mental or physical disability is prohibited.
Winning plaintiffs may recover court costs and legal fees, but not compensatory or punitive damages.
State agencies are required to ensure their websites comply with both Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 A and AA.
Any proprietor or any employee, keeper, or manager of a place of public accommodation may not deny any person, except for reasons applicable alike to all persons regardless of disability, the full enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of the place of public accommodation.
If the commission finds a violation of division (H) of section 4112.02 of the Revised Code, in addition to the action described in division (G)(1)(a) of this section, the commission additionally may require the respondent to undergo remediation in the form of a class, seminar, or any other type of remediation approved by the commission, may require the respondent to pay actual damages and reasonable attorney’s fees, and may, to vindicate the public interest, assess a civil penalty against the respondent up to $10,000 for the first offense, and up to $50,000 for the second or subsequent offense.
Oklahoma mandates that state websites comply with their own state standards which are based on Section 508 and W3C standards.
It is a discriminatory practice for a person to deny an individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation because of disability.
A court in a civil action suit regarding public accommodation discrimination may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party and assess court costs against the defendant.
Oregon.gov websites are designed with WCAG 2.0 AA, Section 508, and the Plain Language Act of 2010 in mind.
It is an unlawful practice for any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement or any person acting on behalf of such place, to make any distinction, discrimination, or restriction because a customer or patron is an individual with a disability.
Public accommodation discrimination laws do allow plaintiffs to recover both compensatory and punitive damages in addition to court costs and legal fees.
Agencies shall provide access to Digital Content and Services by complying with the revised Section 508 Standards and the current version of WCAG. WCAG Levels A and AA are required, and level AAA is encouraged. Agencies shall procure or use Content Management Systems (CMS) that meet the current version of the W3C’s ATAG. Agencies shall procure or use User Agents that meet the current version of the W3C’s UAAG.
The opportunity for an individual to obtain all the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of any public accommodation without discrimination because of handicap or disability, is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil right which shall be enforceable as set forth in this act.
Plaintiff may be reimbursed for damages such as embarrassment or humiliation. The defendant may also be penalized with fines ranging from $10,000- $50,000, depending on whether or not this is the first offense.
RI.gov has adopted the Design of HTML Pages to increase accessibility to users with disabilities as the primary guideline to meet the objectives of the Universal Access for State Design policy. These published guidelines are maintained by professionals trained in the area of assistive and information technology.
All persons within the jurisdiction of this state shall be entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of any place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons, including those with disabilities.
The blind, the visually handicapped, and the otherwise physically disabled are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of all places of public accommodation, amusement or resort, and other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.
A handicapped person aggrieved by the prohibited discrimination has the right to seek injunctive relief or civil damages, not to exceed five thousand dollars actual damages, plus his attorney’s fee and costs, in the court of common pleas.
The State of South Dakota recognizes the need to ensure equal access to electronic and information technologies for all individuals. The South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications (BIT) has specific standards for web development design in order to provide an accessible web presence that enables the public full access to South Dakota government information and services. The state government follows the W3C recommendations and the federal government’s Section 508 Standards.
No person can be denied the right to the full and equal use of any public accommodation or public service in South Dakota because of disability.
Plaintiffs may recover both compensatory and punitive damages.
Tennessee executive branch agency websites are subject to the same accessible Web standards as federal agencies (Section 508).
State public accessibility laws don’t appear to cover disability.
The Texas Web accessibility standards are based on federal 508 accessibility standards. Additional criteria on accommodations for Webcasts, applets, and plug-ins have been added.
No state public accessibility laws.
Understanding that the government has a responsibility to provide service to all citizens and businesses in its jurisdiction, the State of Utah will make reasonable efforts to accommodate all users by following the W3C recommendations and 508 guidelines.
No individual shall be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity.
Vermont.gov has adopted Section 508 and W3C Web Accessibility Initiative standards and guidelines as the benchmark to meet the objectives of the Universal Accessibility for State Web sites policy.
No individual with a disability shall be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefit of the services, facilities, goods, privileges, advantages, benefits, or accommodations, or be subjected to discrimination by any place of public accommodation on the basis of his or her disability.
A person aggrieved by discrimination may file a charge with the Human Rights Commission or may bring an action for injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages and any other appropriate relief in the Superior Court of the county in which the violation is alleged to have occurred.
Updated 508 Standards apply to a federal agency’s full range of public-facing content, including websites, documents and media, blog posts, and social media sites.
It is the policy of the Commonwealth to safeguard all individuals within the Commonwealth from unlawful discrimination because of disability in places of public accommodation, including educational institutions and in real estate transactions; in employment; preserve the public safety, health, and general welfare; and further the interests, rights, and privileges of individuals within the Commonwealth.
The State of Washington is committed to providing access to information technology to the public and Washington State employees, including individuals with disabilities. Information Technology should be procured, developed, maintained, and utilized so that it is accessible to individuals with disabilities unless it creates an undue burden on the agency. Information Technology, including Web sites, Web-based applications, software systems, and electronically published documents, should provide substantially similar functionality to individuals with disabilities as it provides to others.
The minimum level of compliance for accessibility is Level AA compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.
The right to be free from discrimination because of the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability is recognized as and declared to be a civil right including the right to the full enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement.
Any person deeming himself or herself injured by discrimination shall have a civil action to enjoin further violations, or to recover the actual damages sustained by the person, or both, together with the cost of the suit including reasonable attorneys’ fees or any other appropriate remedy.
State agencies are required to comply with Section 508.
It is the public policy of the State of West Virginia to provide all of its citizens an equal opportunity for employment, equal access to places of public accommodations. Equal opportunity in the area of public accommodations is hereby declared to be a human right or civil right of all persons without regard to disability.
The court in its discretion may award all or a portion of the costs of litigation, including reasonable attorney fees and witness fees, to the complainant.
The State of Wisconsin accessibility policy requires sites to meet a set of accessibility requirements based on Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act.
State law generally prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation and amusement because of disability.
Defendants found to have discriminated against a person with disabilities will be charged between $100-$1,000 for a first violation and up to $10,000 for subsequent violations within five years.
Plaintiffs, including the state, alleging a violation of public accommodation discrimination may bring a civil action for appropriate injunctive relief, for damages including punitive damages and, in the case of a prevailing plaintiff, for court costs and reasonable attorney fees.
The design, development, and content management of the state website are conducted so that all users can access its information.
Any blind, visually impaired, deaf, hearing impaired person or other person with a disability, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons has equal rights to all public places and facilities and shall be afforded full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of any place of public accommodation and any other place to which the general public is invited.
Under this legislation, the Government of Canada will develop document and website accessibility standards and regulations in priority areas such as employment, the built environment, and the design and delivery of programs and services. Organizations under federal jurisdiction will be required to follow accessibility regulations and to develop accessibility plans describing how they will identify, remove and prevent barriers across their operations. They will also be required to establish processes for receiving and dealing with feedback about the implementation of their accessibility plan and about any barriers that a person may have encountered in dealing with the organization. Organizations will also have to publish regular progress reports describing the implementation of their plans, feedback received, and how that feedback has been taken into consideration.
The AODA aims to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to people with disabilities. By January 1, 2020, all internet and intranet websites and web content must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA.
The Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly, and every public sector organization that provides goods, services, or facilities to the public must develop, implement and maintain policies governing how the organization achieves or will achieve document and website accessibility. Obligated organizations, other than small organizations, shall include a statement of organizational commitment to meet the document and website accessibility needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner in their policies. They must also prepare one or more documents describing the policies it developed and make the documents publicly available and, on request, provide them in an accessible format.
In 2017 the government established the Accessibility Directorate within the Department of Justice. The Accessibility Directorate is responsible for:
Supporting the implementation and administration of the Accessibility Act and future accessibility regulations
Addressing broader disability-related initiatives
Acting as the central mechanism for ensuring the concerns of persons with disabilities are heard and acted upon by the government.
The Nova Scotia government is working with people with disabilities, and public and private sector organizations to create six standards for an accessible Nova Scotia.
In order to “be specific enough that one can determine when the requirements have been met,” as per the Terms of Reference, the recommendations call for accessibility criteria that are based on existing national and international standards affecting ICT. Section 7 of the standard specifies WCAG 2.1 Level AA and the Canadian Standards Association’s Accessible Design for Self-Service Interactive Devices for Kiosks CAN/CSAB651.2-07 (R2017). In this way, organizations will find the directions and tools they require, whether they are writing a document, developing a website or introducing a kiosk.
Continued providing accessible and inclusive services by building digital accessibility and inclusion into decision-making, project management, procurement, technology, infrastructure, I&IT and training, and focusing on leadership, developing an effective feedback process and raising awareness. Conformance requires ensuring each Web page meets all five WCAG 2.0 conformance requirements.
This prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities employment, education, publicly available premises, provision of goods and services, accommodation, clubs and associations, and other contexts, including failure to make reasonable accommodations for their disabilities.
UK –The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018
There are 2 main requirements:
- meet accessibility standards – this means making your website ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’ for all users – you can achieve this by making sure it meets the international accessibility standard, WCAG 2.1 AA or its European equivalent, EN301 549
- publish an accessibility statement – this must be based on a template statement that will be provided by early 2019
The EU requires most government websites belonging to manufacturers of “essential” products and services that are sold across borders throughout EU member states to ensure their websites and mobile apps meet the common digital accessibility standards, mainly by following the four pillars of WCAG- perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. The official standard referenced is WCAG 2.1.