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In July 2010 the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) issued a final rule implementing accessibility provisions of the ADA. The DOJ is also seeking comments on proposed regulations on internet accessibility, movie captioning, and accessible equipment and furniture. In July, the Dept. of Transportation also issued ADA regulations to protect the rights of passengers with disabilities aboard passenger vessels, such as cruise ships.
Web Accessibility StandardsThe Justice Department is considering revising its existing regulations implementing Title III of the ADA to establish requirements for making the goods, services, privileges, accommodations, or advantages offered by public accommodations via the Internet or the World Wide Web (Web), accessible to individuals with disabilities. In furthering this goal, the Justice Department has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making to solicit public comments on various issues relating to the potential requirements of Web accessibility.Prior to finalizing proposed regulations, DOJ is seeking public comment on the proposed regulatory text and soliciting responses to specific questions pertaining to Web site access. One of those questions pertains to the type of Web accessibility standards that should apply as part of any Justice Department regulation. The Web accessibility initiative of the World Wide Web has created voluntary international guidelines for Web accessibility, and Web accessibility standards exist for federal government agencies under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Justice Department is considering whether it should adopt either of these existing technical standards or whether it should craft its own performance standards for achieving Web site accessibility. Other issues include the resources and services available to public accommodations to make their Web sites accessible and the effective date to require compliance with any Web accessibility standards that DOJ may promulgate.Accessible MoviesIn addition to its consideration of Web site accessibility, the Justice Department also is considering revising its Title III regulations to require movie theater owners and operators to screen movies with closed captioning or video description for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing or who are blind or have low vision. As part of its process, the Department of Justice has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making to solicit public comment on various issues relating to closed captioning and video description. [footnotes omitted]
Jonathan R. Mook is a partner with DiMuro Ginsberg, P.C. in Alexandria, VA, where his practice includes general litigation and counseling employers in all aspects of employment law. Mr. Mook is the author of two legal treatises on the Americans with Disabilities Act: ADA: Employee Rights and Employer Obligations and ADA: Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities, both published by LexisNexis Matthew Bender.
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