Webinar: 2021 Accessibility Legal Update


audio version (opens in a new tab)



This is another blog post on the theme of assistive technology. On December 9, 2021, I attended a webinar hosted by


It is my understanding that the organization helps provide closed-captioning services. The topic was “2021 Digital Accessibility Legal Update with Lainey Feingold”. Here is a

link to webinar recording and transcript.

I wrote a blog post in March 2021 about same subject.

The article which you are currently reading         provides a legal accessibility update as of December 2021. In this blog post, I will summarize what I learned during the recent legal webinar about accessibility.


Lainey is a disability rights lawyer. There is a legal update tab on

Lainey’s web site.

Importance of Digital Accessibility

The presenter stated that people with disabilities have the right to digital access. Accessibility provides independence and inclusion. The presenter then provided an overview of U.S. disability law.


Digital Accessibility Laws


Americans with Disabilities Act

was passed in 1990. It recognizes the necessity of effective communication. For example, people who are visually impaired need access to visual information. IN 2000, the first version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines was released. In 2008, a court found for the first time in a Target case that web sites of businesses must be accessible. In 2012, IN 2012, a court determined that Netflix needed to provide accessibility for its video services.


Other Disability laws:


Air Carrier Access Act

requires accessibility. The

21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act

requires audio description of visual content. This means that a certain amount of content on broadcast television must be accessible to people with visual impairment. This law also makes clear that captioning needs to be provided to assist people with disabilities who need that information. Audio-describing visual elements and captioning for online video-streaming services can also make digital content accessible. The presenter then provided a couple of resources.



Lainey’s web site has a

global accessibility article.

It discusses accessibility laws which exist in countries around the world. The

Web Accessibility Initiative

also provides global accessibility resources. This resource is part of the

World Wide Web Consortium.

This entity develops web accessibility standards.  The next topic was legal remedies.


Legal Remedies

an accessibility problem can be fixed to avoid lawsuits. If an entity is sued, it may be required to report on progress in fixing the issue and/or paying attorney fees.

One way to enforce accessibility disability laws in individual advocacy. An entity might not know a problem exists unless a problem is reported. A second strategy is lawsuits. Accessibility lawsuits were then discussed.


Implementation Examples

The New York Attorney General brought 5 settlements in collaboration with the Department of Justice to ensure vaccination web sites are accessible. WriteAid agreed to make talking prescription labels available to ensure access for visually-impaired people. There is a lawsuit pending about the blood-work laboratory not having accessible kiosks for sign-in. Web accessibility overlays are not true accessibility for people with disabilities. The presenter referenced


Bottom line: Sufficient accessibility can help ensure everyone can use digital information.


Question for Readers

If you have encountered a digital accessibility barrier as someone with a disability, what was it and how did you handle the situation? I will return with another article.



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