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Web Accessibility Law – United States of America

News: Accessibility case against target.com declared a class action
On October 2 the case brought against US online merchant Target Corporation by Bruce Sexton Jr, president of the California Association of Blind Students, and the National Federation of the Blind alleging that the target.com website is inaccessible was certified as a nationwide class action on behalf of blind Internet users throughout the US under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Source: InternetNews.com

Federal and state laws

US web accessibility policy has a common federal basis, supported and supplemented by varying state policies. As with the EU, there is an established set of requirements that affect the public sector. The de facto standard for US web site documents is Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (see below).

Federal legislation in force

The relevant federal statutes are

The Assistive Technology Act of 1998

The Assistive Technology Act establishes a Federal grant programme to support State programmes that address the assistive technology needs of people with disabilities.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996, Section 255

The Section covers the provision of telecommunications services to people with disabilities.

The Rehabilitation Act, Section 504 (1973)

The Section "prohibits discrimination and requires employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that exceed $10,000 to take affirmative action to hire, retain, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities."

The Rehabilitation Act, Section 508 (1986, amended 1992, amended 1998)

This Section is the most relevant piece of US legislation on web accessibility, and sets out detailed requirements on accessibility of electronic and information technology that apply to all federal agencies.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1990

The Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability throughout the public sector and in private sector organisations with 15 or more employees. It includes the concept of "reasonable accommodation", which is defined as
(A) making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and
(B) job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

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