Everything On Unruh Act Compliance.
While you may be aware of how the ADA (Americans with Disability Act) can incorporate website accessibility, you may not necessarily be aware of how individual state laws can enforce compliance of website accessibility in businesses. This guide will dive deeper into California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act which was a landmark civil rights law protecting people from business discrimination or harassment within the State of California.
Who does this affect?
While the act was originally designed to protect individuals with disabilities in public or brick-and-mortar environments, online websites are now referenced and required by the following businesses including (but not limited to)
- Hotels and motels
- Non Profit organizations that have a business purpose or are a public accommodation
- Barbershops and beauty salons
- Housing accommodations
- Public agencies
- Retail establishments
The Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, language, immigration status, citizenship, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, medical condition, or genetic information. In 1992, the Unruh Act was amended to include standards created within the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) that apply to persons with disabilities. This resulted in any violation of the ADA as a violation of the Unruh Act.
One major difference between the Unruh Act and ADA is that the ADA does not allow for plaintiffs to claim damages, only attorney fees. The UNRUH act however allows for plaintiffs to claim up to 3X in damages per incident (including emotional distress), with no less than $4,000 in statutory damages.
What if I am not a California Business?
Does not mean much! Even if your website is managed and operated in another state outside of California, you may still be required to follow the Unruh Act. This includes all websites that sell or promote products and/or services within the state of California. This protects all users regardless of the business location.
How do I know if my website is compliant?
There are several fully-compliant auditing tools that are available to check your website’s accessibility. With Jib’s Free Audit, businesses can perform a complete audit within seconds.