The Disability Discrimination Act expects companies to take reasonable steps to make their sites accessible to the disabled. The companies in Knexus Community reckon they are doing what is necessary - but they lack the guidance that would give them certainty.
At a Knexus forum this month, participants from member companies including American Express, Boots, Britvic Soft Drinks, BSI, ebookers, GlaxoSmithKline, Invesco, LloydsTSB, O2, Prudential, Standard Life, Telegraph Group and William Hill met to discuss web accessibility. Uncharacteristically, the forum went public with its members’ views.
Knexus chairman Graeme Foux spoke to OUT-LAW after the event. He was keen to stress that neither he nor Knexus represents the voice of these members. But he approached us to convey the tenor of their concerns.
One member, described as a leading provider of business services, said:"We have provided the facility so customers that visit our web site can get our information either through a telephone number or request it in an alternative source."
The unnamed member added:"I would question whether we are going over the top to ensure that everything has to be made [available] on-line."
But the Disability Rights Commission does not consider it"over the top,"according to Patrick Edwards, a spokesman for the independent statutory body that monitors the effectiveness of the UK’s disability legislation.
"It’s extremely doubtful that services available on the web could possibly be translated to a telephone line without some loss in fairness to disabled people,"Edwards told OUT-LAW."Web services are available 24 hours a day and have incredibly high levels of interactivity and it is unlikely that similar type services could be duplicated on a phone line."
Edwards cited a recent High Court case which confirmed that reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act"are not about doing the minimum"but all about doing everything reasonably practical to ensure that disabled people are treated the same as non-disabled people.
"Companies holding these views on web access are acting at considerable legal risk,"concluded Edwards
PLCs hit back at complaints on web accessibility
December 23, 2004
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.