January 19, 2024
Nate Crippes / Public Affairs Supervising Attorney
Andrew Riggle / Public Policy Advocate
(801) 363-1347 / (800) 662-9080
Good afternoon, Committee Members. I’m Nate Crippes with the Disability Law Center.
Websites have become commonplace in society. We use them to get informed on things like this body. We often use them to buy many things, including basic necessities. An inaccessible website means certain people with disabilities cannot access a business, and it is akin to a new building being built without an elevator or ramp (which unfortunately still happens, too). And when a person with a disability is denied access or encounters another ADA violation at a business, he or she is facing discrimination.
A lawsuit or threat of a lawsuit is often the only option to guarantee compliance with Title III’s equal access requirement because Congress failed to give a government agency similar oversight or enforcement power. Damages are not available under this part of the ADA, so private attorneys do sometimes seek attorney’s fees to cover the cost of protecting the rights of people with disabilities and upholding federal law.
While we appreciate the concerns small businesses have, they do not need more notice than the 30-plus years they have had with the ADA being federal law. Requiring more steps to get businesses into compliance is just a longer delay that people with disabilities will have in receiving equal access to the same things as their nondisabled peers.
A more effective approach would be to educate businesses about their obligations under the ADA.
Thank you for your time and consideration of our position.