The ADA requires businesses and corporations to provide all their clients with access to the same services, including websites, apps, and electronic media. Aiming for level AAA compliance is ideal but being AA compliant is acceptable for most small businesses. Schools, hospitals, and publicly funded institutions must maintain AAA compliance to fully protect themselves for litigation and to protect their reputation. From a business point of view, itʼs beneficial for a company to be accessible to all potential clients and consumers. Alienating people with disabilities will only cause a business to lose potential clients.

Companies and organizations can be penalized with fines or even lawsuits for non- compliance. According to ADA.gov, businesses and organizations could also be subject to a fine up to $75,000 for a first violation and up to $150,000 for subsequent violations.

In 2018 alone, 2,285 ADA website lawsuits were filed by people with disabilities— many targeting small business owners—citing that websites did not provide them with reasonable accommodations. Lawsuits can be settled for a few thousand dollars to $20,000—or can cost business owners exponentially more if they choose to fight in court.

Large, national companies like The Home Depot, Dominos, and Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as small businesses like Island Comfort Footwear in Florida, have been sued for not providing reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

In addition to the risk of legal fees and government fines, a website that is not easily accessible by people with disabilities can cost your company in other ways:

 

1. You risk bad press as your business may not be seen as caring and inclusive of people with disabilities.
2. You lose the potential business of people who cannot access your website.
3. You risk search engine optimization losses if Google decides to penalize non- accessible websites with lower ranking search results.