Web Accessibility Legislation in Florida
See how your website stacks up compared to web accessibility legislation in Florida.
An Overview of Legislation in Florida
Like most states, Florida requires that government websites comply with federal Section 508 standards. These standards are based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG) that were created by the World Wide Web Accessibility Consortium (W3C).
To comply with Florida accessibility laws, state agencies must at minimum meet Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 requirements when developing, competitively procuring, maintaining, or using electronic information or information technology. They are, however, recommended to use the latest standard, WCAG 2.1 in order to promote more inclusive and user-friendly web experience.
In addition to being legally compliant, state websites in Florida must be demonstrably usable for those with disabilities or face civil action.
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What You Need To Know About Web Accessibility In Florida
Are there any other requirements related to web accessibility law in Florida?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which became law in 1990 focuses on accessibility to protect persons with disabilities against discrimination. Due to this federal law, both government offices and private businesses must ensure that any considered barriers to access are removed to provide equal opportunities to all. While accessibility rules in Florida are not wrought into the ADA, courts are increasingly referring to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for guidance regarding legal claims for online accessibility non-compliance.
Who do Florida’s Accessibility laws apply to?
In Florida, it is mandatory for all businesses and brands to ensure website ADA compliance.This also applies if a website serves to help people find a company’s physical location. If a person with a disability is unable to access your organization's website in Florida, they may file a lawsuit against you.
As yet, neither the Supreme Court nor any of the Circuit Court of Appeals has passed judgment on whether private business websites must be ADA compliant. The 11th Circuit Court, however, has previously held that Title III does extend to non-physical spaces.
What are the penalties for non-conformance?
The 1998 amendment of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that websites that are not accessible to persons with disabilities will face civil action. It is important to note, however, that an exemption exists for instances where compliance would cause an undue burden (i.e. financial hardship).
A Few Landmark Website Accessibility Cases in Florida
Gil. V. Winn-Dixie
A lawsuit was brought against supermarket chain Winn- Dixie in 2017 arguing that their website violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Gomez V. Bang & Olufsen
A lawsuit was filed against Bang & Olufsen in 2017 claiming that their website is not fully accessible for disabled users.
Adams v. Cleveland Clinic Florida
A lawsuit was filed against Cleveland Clinic Florida earlier this year alleging that their website violates the ADA.