Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Positive Gains in Digital Accessibility Thanks to Legal Settlement

by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern

The settlement of a recent lawsuit, and the route pursued by the “opposing parties to get there, could do more for digital accessibility than many of the cases that came before it, some advocates say.” So stated The Wall Street Journal, reporting on the settlement reached by Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP), a human resources software company specializing in payroll and tax services, and the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, based in San Francisco. In 2020, the LightHouse sued ADP for the company’s failure to make its software and applications accessible for people who are blind or have low vision. The two parties reached a settlement using “structured negotiations,” cooperating with each other without further court litigation. LightHouse Chief Executive Bryan Bashin, stated, “’We have constructively engaged ADP, and this is going to result in a work environment that blind people anywhere who use ADP services can benefit from the same access as their sighted peers.’” Acknowledging the importance of accessibility, ADP is breaking from the tradition of making accessibility settlements confidential and has opted to make its accessibility framework public so that other companies may use it. ADP has committed to working with a web accessibility expert to make their products more user-friendly for people who have low or no vision. They also plan to train all employees to provide customer service to people who use screen reading software and agreed to stop using screen overlays and automated accessibility services which are rife with problems for users with vision loss. Gina Bhawalkar, a principal analyst from Forrester Research Inc., says that, “This should serve as a reminder to all businesses to make accessibility a priority when purchasing technology so all their employees, including those with disabilities, can do their jobs effectively.” Read more in The Wall Street Journal article: ADP Settlement Offers Framework for Future Digital-Accessibility Agreements.