Target Sued over Accessibility
By Pete Freitag
This is pretty big news for web developers. Most of us are aware of Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act that requires all government related web site to make all content accessible to people with disabilities. Now there is legal precedent to hold a corporation liable for failure to make their web site accessible to persons with a disability (National Federation of the Blind VS Target Corp class action suit).
The court held: "the 'ordinary meaning' of the ADA's prohibition against discrimination in the enjoyment of goods, services, facilities or privileges, is that whatever goods or services the place provides, it cannot discriminate on the basis of disability in providing enjoyment of those goods and services." The court thus rejected Target's argument that only its physical store locations were covered by the civil rights laws, ruling instead that all services provided by Target, including its Web site, must be accessible to persons with disabilities.
I would expect that after this victory the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) will be more aggressive in persuing companies that fail to make thier web sites accessible.
The other thing that surprises me is that Target was unwilling to negotiate with the NFB, and refused to make their site accessible.
"We tried to convince Target that it should do the right thing and make its website accessible through negotiations," said Dr. Maurer. "It is unfortunate that Target took the position that it does not have to take the rights of the blind into account. The ruling in this case puts Target and other companies on notice that the blind cannot be treated like second class citizens on the Internet or in any other sphere."
Here's a link to article, http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060907/cgth051.html?.v=55 which no longer works.
Target Sued over Accessibility was first published on September 11, 2006.