On October 1, 2020, Representative Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced a bill (H.R. 8478) that would amend the ADA to address “consumer facing websites and mobile applications” owned or operated by private entities. The bill, known as the Online Accessibility Act, proposes that these websites and apps meet certain standards or provide “alternative means” of “equivalent access” for people with disabilities.
Rather than proposing to amend Title III of the ADA, which applies to other aspects of private businesses, the bill proposes to add a new title to the ADA, with enforcement options different from those available under Title III. Before an individual or group of individuals with disabilities could file a private lawsuit related to websites or mobile apps, they would first have to notify the business and allow 90 days for the business to mitigate the issue; if the business fails to do so, then a complaint would need to be filed with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a copy provided to the business; the DOJ would be allowed at least 180 days to investigate, make a determination, or possibly institute legal action. Private lawsuits could be filed after these procedures were completed.
As of this writing, a copy of the bill was not yet posted to the Congressional website, but a copy is available at Rep. Budd’s website.