On February 15, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the ADA Education and Reform Act (HB 620). The legislation would require that plaintiffs provide a business the opportunity to comply with the ADA before a lawsuit can be filed. Places of public accommodations, including websites and apps, would have 6 months to bring their place of public accommodation into compliance before a claimant could file a lawsuit seeking injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees.
Any employer who is also a place of public accommodation knows that lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III have long posed a problem for businesses. Businesses want to comply but are often unaware of minor issues of noncompliance at their facilities. This law, if it passes the Senate and is signed by President Trump, would allow businesses notice of the alleged issues of noncompliance and a grace period to fix the issues before they would face potential liability for attorneys’ fees and costs.
Given the recent flurry of lawsuits and demand letters regarding the accessibility of websites, the bill’s sponsors stated during their deliberations on the bill that this law would apply to website accessibility in jurisdictions where the ADA has been applied to websites.
The legislation would also require that the Department of Justice establish a program for educating governments and property owners on how to enhance accommodations for individuals with disabilities.