MIAMI – Though closed captioning, text to speech and sticky keys are not issues the average internet user worries about, they are for the visually impaired, which is why a group has claimed that Grubhub's website is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The case, which was filed by Open Access for All Inc. on August 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleges that the online takeout delivery service's website does not include aids for the visually impaired.
The U.S. Department of Justice says “poorly designed websites can create unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities, just as poorly designed buildings prevent some from entering.”
Along with visual cues, keyboard shortcuts and enlarged cursors, these features make it possible for those who have eyesight issues to search the web.
The Grubhub dispute is a legitimate case, Robert Sniffen, a defense lawyer and certified specialist in labor and employment law, recently told the Florida Record.
“In my experience, many businesses are not aware of the intricate website accessibility requirements of the ADA," Sniffen said. "While larger companies tend to be more out front on the issue, there has been litigation brought against large and small institutions alike."
To avoid non-compliance, the first things to consider are awareness and accessibility, Sniffen said.
“Businesses should conduct a website accessibility audit to ensure compliance with the ADA," he said. "But even if an audit is performed, periodic follow-up checkups are important.”
As for Grubhub’s settling or appeal, Sniffen said.
“Many of these cases are settled quickly and confidentially," he said. "That deprives us of a body of case law which to advise clients. However, it is understandable why settlement is a popular option. These cases are expensive to defend and there is always a risk of bad publicity.”