William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice


Ashley Cheff


In 2017, 814 lawsuits were filed alleging discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) due to website inaccessibility, up from 262 in the previous year. Beginning in July 2010, the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) considered issuing regulations under ADA Title III related to website accessibility. However, no changes have been made to date, leaving courts split over whether websites constitute places of public accommodation via the ADA. Dispositive to some jurisdictions’ holdings is whether a website has a nexus to a physical place, which may lend toward viewing the site as a public accommodation. Other jurisdictions provide that all websites are public accommodations under the ADA. The current approaches conflict with the Congressional intent of the ADA and provide little guidance to website owners. Thus, neither approach is sufficient for the uniform application of ADA protections. Absent Congressional action, courts should utilize a new “website accommodations test” (WAT) in applying the ADA to websites.