Justice Department Reaffirms Stance on Website Accessibility

Website Accessibility
The Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on Monday, announced a settlement agreement with Rite Aid Corporation that will help people with disabilities get information about COVID-19 vaccinations and book their vaccination appointments online. File photo: ShutterStock.com, licensed.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier this week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement with the national pharmacy chain Rite Aid over its inaccessible COVID-19 website pages. The agreement, which forces Rite Aid to make—and keep—its website accessible for people with disabilities, affirms the DOJ’s prior stance and sends a clear message to businesses and government entities that websites are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“Equal access to healthcare is one of the most important rights guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act,” As the nation continues its response to the COVID-19 pandemic — through booster shots, vaccinations for children under 12, and ongoing outreach to those still in need of initial doses — people with disabilities must be able to schedule potentially lifesaving vaccine appointments as easily as people without disabilities can.”

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division

Under the settlement:

  • Rite Aid has agreed to make content about the COVID-19 vaccine, including the forms for scheduling an appointment to get the vaccine, conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Version 2.1, Level AA. WCAG is a set of voluntary industry guidelines for making information on a website accessible to users with disabilities.
  • Rite Aid also must regularly test the pages of its website about vaccine scheduling and information and quickly fix any problems that keep people with disabilities from being able to use these pages.

The DOJ’s actions align with and reaffirm the advice and best practices by ADA Site Compliance based Lake Worth.

The full text of the statement and settlement agreement are available on the DOJ’s website.

Editors note: Scott Trachtenberg contributed to this report.

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