US DOJ Intervenes in NFB et al. vs. HR Block Case
From the US Department of Justice’s ADA office:
The Justice Department announced today that it seeks to intervene in a lawsuit against HRB Digital, LLC and HRB Tax Group, Inc. (“Block”) in federal court in Boston to remedy violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The department’s proposed complaint in intervention in the lawsuit, “National Federation of the Blind v. HRB Digital LLC and HRB Tax Group, Inc.”, alleges that Block discriminates against individuals with disabilities in the full and equal enjoyment of its goods and services provided through www.hrblock.com.
The complaint is online at http://www.ada.gov/hrb-proposed-complaint.htm
The above message was posted to the WebAIM Discussion list yesterday, November 26, 2013 by Bevi Chagnon.
The history of Web Accessibility litigation is an interesting one, made more interesting by the fact that the first notable lawsuit regarding web accessibility took place 14 years ago and yet the DOJ has yet to issue specific requirements regarding the legal requirements of the public web. This lack of clarity has not stopped the somewhat steady stream of accessibility lawsuits in recent years. The DOJ has consistently stated that their position is that the Web is a place of public accommodation and that, by law, the ADA does apply. Effectively, their position has been that despite the lack of a revised Final Rule, all websites must be accessible. This latest lawsuit is just another in a series of recent actions where the DOJ is demonstrating this.
What does this mean?
As my friend and former co-worker Elle Waters likes to say, “Do you want to spend your money [on web accessibility] on your budget and timeline or on a budget and timeline dictated by someone else?” What is clear – and made more clear with each new lawsuit – is that reduction of risk makes a clear business case for accessibility.