Depending on where your organization operates, not complying with accessibility legislation can have a range of implications. Usually, these penalties depend on the size and type of business (public, private, or non-profit), with the strictest standards applying to public sector organizations.
United States 🇺🇸
For those in the United States, enforcement of accessibility compliance can fall under both ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and Section 508. As these compliance standards are established as legislation, civic action groups and individuals have already taken companies to court over accessibility issues. It is critical that your site’s accessibility issues be resolved as soon as possible.
For those with organizations in Ontario, Canada, requirements fall under AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act).
AODA compliance can have the biggest consequences for any public sector organization, any non-profit, and any private sector organizations with more than 50 employees. For private sector organizations, the timeline for complying is the end of 2020 for full website compliance with AA standards.
If you don’t comply with these timelines and requirements, your organization could be subject to legal action, from either the government itself or from users who could file a case against your organization in the Human Rights Tribunal.
Although Canada-wide requirements vary across provinces, federal legislation is in progress, so it’s ideal to get a head start on compliance before future deadlines are set.
United Kingdom 🇬🇧
For organizations in the United Kingdom, accessibility compliance is covered by the Equality Act of 2010. This act requires all organizations to take reasonable actions to make their websites and communications accessible.
This is especially critical for public sector organizations, as additional requirements clarifying the need for accessibility came into law in 2018 for the public sector, and compliance must be met by September 23rd, 2020. If these regulations aren’t followed, after this date, organizations may be subject to legal action and fines.
Although private sector organizations are not yet explicitly required to comply, only to make reasonable accommodations, this legislation is expected to follow shortly after, so it’s ideal to get a head start on compliance before those deadlines are set.
In all of these cases, not complying with accessibility legislation can have legal, financial, and brand implications, and can cause you to lose out on potential customers when they are unable to access or use your website. As a result, it’s key to get ahead on fixing these issues, before it becomes a major problem for your organization.
The Essential Website Audit is here to help 🚀
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