Is your website required to be ADA compliant even if you have fewer than 15 employees?
Though many resources might tell you otherwise, the ADA can absolutely apply to you, even if you’re a small business.
What’s behind all the confusion? It certainly has something to do with Google being littered with legal and marketing sites interpreting the law incorrectly.
What does the law really say?
To eliminate all confusion, let’s look at a summary of two ADA titles that are specific to private entities.
Title I of the ADA prohibits private employers, State and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including State and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations.
Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities, recreation facilities, and doctors’ offices)… to comply with the ADA Standards.
It’s important to remember that these are standalone titles. Title I refers to discrimination in employment and who must comply. Title III refers to discrimination in the general public sphere and who must comply.
To help bring clarity to the 15 employees myth, imagine (in a post-COVID world) you’ve started frequenting a tiny restaurant near your New York office.
The restaurant employs 14 people.
Is the restaurant required to make accommodations so its facilities are accessible to the public? Of course. If the restaurant is not accessible to patrons in wheelchairs, the restaurant is in violation of the ADA, regardless of how many employees they have.
And, now, back to you, entrepreneur / small business owner / non-profit organization with fewer than 15 employees. Does your website need to be accessible and ADA compliant? Yes.
Long story short – the current legal landscape dictates that websites, generally, are considered a place of public accommodation (the same as that restaurant you love), which means they fall under Title III of the ADA.
Need help making your website accessible? Our industry-leading Accessibility-as-a-Service platform has everything you need to achieve and maintain ADA compliance. Connect with our experts today for a complimentary assessment of your digital properties.
This post was based on Kris Rivenburgh’s ADA 15 Employees post. Kris is our Chief Accessibility & Legal Officer.