The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to provide clear guidelines on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. The organization is part of a coalition of business groups that has filed an amicus brief in the case Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer.
The case questions whether a self-proclaimed “tester” has the constitutional right under Article III to challenge a business’s website accessibility, even without plans to physically visit the business in question. NFIB had earlier filed an amicus brief urging the court to consider this case.
The potential impact on small businesses is substantial. Beth Milito, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center, voiced concerns over the lack of certainty for small businesses attempting to comply with ADA requirements, particularly as they relate to website accessibility.
Milito stated, “This case highlights the uncertainty for small businesses when complying with the ADA and the applicability of websites.” She further explained the pressing challenge faced by small businesses who, while trying to adhere to a myriad of government regulations, are exposed to potential litigation through ‘tester’ lawsuits, such as the one in question.
This appeal to the Supreme Court forms part of a wider call by small business owners for clarity in the ADA’s applicability to business websites and protection from those who might misuse the ADA for personal financial gain. In an effort to guide businesses through this legal landscape, NFIB previously released a tip sheet for small business owners. The NFIB Small Business Legal Center also published a White Paper titled, “The ADA and Small Business: Website Compliance Amid a Plethora of Uncertainty.”
The amicus brief was not only filed by NFIB, but was also supported by several other organizations, including the Restaurant Law Center, American Hotel and Lodging Association, Rhode Island Hospitality Association, Puerto Rico Restaurant Association, New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association, Massachusetts Restaurant Association, and HospitalityMaine.
NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center is known for championing the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. NFIB is currently active in over 40 cases across federal and state courts nationwide and in the U.S. Supreme Court.
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As the country awaits the Court’s decision, the potential for change looms large for small businesses. The outcome of this case could set a precedent for future ADA website compliance, with the power to reshape the legal obligations and financial implications for small businesses across the country.