In July, the Department of Justice ("DOJ") issued wide ranging regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). Now, the DOJ will hold public hearings on potential additional rules relating to electronic resources, such as web sites, used by places of public accommodation such as hotels, shopping centers, hospitals, and entertainment venues. Although no additional rules have yet been proposed, any rules relating to websites and electronic access points could have a broad effect.
The DOJ is considering establishing rules requiring places of public accommodation that have websites to make those sites more accessible to persons with disabilities. Although the DOJ’s notice explicitly relates to locales such as hotels and shopping centers, the definition of "place of public accommodation" is broad enough to potentially cover other businesses including, but not limited to, physicians offices, real estate brokers, and other service professionals. If your business has a concern about the application of the ADA to your electronic resources, consider submitting comments. Visit the ADA web site to view information about the hearings or to submit comments on the proposed rulemaking.