Lawsuits regarding web accessibility have been in the news lately, and companies are increasingly aware of the risk. Web and mobile services that are inaccessible to those with disabilities leaves your company open to significant litigation. Unlike most lawsuits that seek large payouts for an injured party, web accessibility lawsuits have a much different goal: to urge companies to make improvements so that users with disabilities can enjoy equal access to web and mobile services. One way that disability rights activists are achieving this goal is through structured negotiations.
What are structured negotiations?
Structured negotiations are a collaborative process focused on solutions that resolve the dispute rather than just monetary compensation. Under this process, companies can avoid litigation while disability rights activists can enact change for the better. Once all parties have agreed to a resolution, a legally binding signed agreement is made. This process is increasingly used for advocacy and the results of such structured negotiations have made great gains for web accessibility.
Gains made for accessibility
Structured negotiations have resulted in many advancements for disability rights. Because of this process, banks like Bank Of America now have Talking ATMs and stores such as Wal-Mart now have tactile point of sale devices in their stores. Numerous structured negotiation settlements have resulted in companies making a new commitment to web accessibility. In addition to numerous banking and retailing settlements, there have been successful structured negotiations settlements with companies as diverse as Major League Baseball and Weight Watchers. Even non-profits such as the American Cancer Society have gone through this process. Disability rights legal experts Lainey Feingold have used this process for 15 years, and you can read more about the agreements at their site.