AAAtraq announces the release of an ADA Audit, looking at Inclusivity across Restaurant websites in California

Apr 07 2022

[April 6th, 2022, CALIFORNIA] The latest report by InsurTech company, AAAtraq https://AAAtraq.com/ (opens in a new window) on the Inclusivity of restaurants website homepages (ADA Audit) is to be released on April 26th, 2022.

One of the most often overlooked aspects of running and managing a restaurant in today’s world is the establishment’s website – specifically, the legal obligation each business has to ensure that their website is accessible to those with disabilities. It’s an obligation made even more daunting by the complexity of following and complying with the ever-evolving regulations while still maintaining a site’s branding, artistry and representation of the business’s concept.

Online ADA compliance has become a wide-open field for opportunistic litigation as well as businesses purporting to have quick solutions to the problem. An entire secondary economy is emerging in the space capitalizing on the complexity of compliance and the need for restaurateurs and business owners to manage a difficult to understand body of law, regulation and standards.

Michael Doerr, Chief Operating Officer at California Restaurant Association https://www.calrest.org (opens in a new window) said “Website ADA compliance is a growing and real risk for restaurants in California. Recognizing the need for a proactive, ongoing process to identify website compliance issues is an essential step in serving your guests when they are online and protecting your organization from the recent onslaught of ADA claims facing the restaurant industry.”

Part of the problem is the rapid growth of digital; organizations haven’t recognized that their website is a key asset that should be risk-assessed and managed in the same way as any other important asset. Unless organizations appreciate this potential exposure and start to understand the regulatory and societal importance of not discriminating, opportunistic lawyers will continue to ride what has become a very lucrative 'gravy train'.

Restaurant owners’ managers need to have reporting that they can immediately understand, and resolutions should not be left entirely with the technical team. A 'holistic' approach, is required, adhering to basic risk management principles.

Bruno Katz, Partner of Wilson Elser’s Intellectual Property & Technology practice, said “ADA website cases are one of the fastest growing segments of litigation, up 57% in the last 4 years. Unless website operators become proactive and address accessibility now, it really is a matter of when you will be sued or receive a demand latter, rather than if.”

The ADA was enacted in 1990, with the intention of eliminating disability-based discrimination. Since its passage, billions of dollars have been spent to make public spaces more accessible to individuals with disabilities - you wouldn’t expect to find a building without a wheelchair ramp. The law doesn’t just stop at physical spaces. It extends to digital, and websites must adhere to regulations and accommodate people living with disabilities.

In terms of the ADA’s application to websites, there is generally a false sense of security with many organizations believing that they have matters in hand. However, as this risk audit demonstrates, the percentage found to be vulnerable, and at risk, exceeds 85%. With this false sense of security, it is no wonder litigation is growing exponentially.

AAAtraq has analyzed the leading restaurants website home pages in California on their compliance with the ADA and has identified their risk position.

Working together with the Californian Restaurant Association, the leading restaurant association in California with 22,000 members, and Wilson Elser https://www.wilsonelser.com/ (opens in a new window), a leading national law firm with a wealth of digital and ADA litigation experience, AAAtraq seeks to improve inclusion for the internet user, and protect the restaurant industry from unnecessary litigation.

The report will be released on April 26th, 2022. To register your interest in this report, please contact jtaylor@AAAtraq.com (opens in a new window)

The findings of the report will highlight the level of compliance the restaurant industry is currently achieving and how exposed organizations are to the risk of litigation. Lawrence Shaw, CEO of AAAtraq commented “Organizations must start thinking about ADA compliance, not just to avoid the risk of litigation and the costs and disruption associated, but also to ensure their meeting they’re D&I commitments and not discriminating.”

Ahead of the report being released, take 30 seconds to understand your own risk position – you can do it at https://AAAtraq.com/check (opens in a new window) (we don’t ask you to register or promise a report by email – the results are immediately available and understandable. Green = good - red = bad).

Notes to Editor:

About California Restaurant Association https://www.calrest.org (opens in a new window)

The California Restaurant Association promote and protect industry interests and practices through aggressive lobbying, monitoring the legislative process, initiating grassroots campaigns, boosting political action committees, and fighting for policies that support the industry at all levels of government. By eliminating damaging public policy before it becomes law, our team’s ongoing efforts have already saved the restaurant industry hundreds of millions of dollars. High labour costs, increased exposure to liability and low profit margins in a highly competitive environment leave restaurateurs particularly vulnerable to bad public policy.

About Wilson Elser https://www.wilsonelser.com/ (opens in a new window)

More than 800 attorneys strong, Wilson Elser is a law firm serving clients of all sizes, across multiple industries and around the world. Wilson Elser has 41 strategically located offices in the United States and another in London. This depth and scale have made us one of the nation’s most influential law firms, ranked in the Am Law 200 and top 53 in the National Law Journal 500.

About AAAtraq https://AAAtraq.com/ (opens in a new window)

Websites, like buildings must adhere to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Despite efforts, the majority are discriminating – resulting in distracting, expensive litigation. Offering comprehensive protection; AAAtraq combines insurance, risk clarity and continuous mitigation. Our services focus on removing cost and human limitations, ensuring digital inclusion is accessible to all.

Interested in AAAtraq? Watch our video to find out more.
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