Resolution Agreements and Lawsuits

Universities work with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ). The OCR and US DOJ may audit and provide universities with additional guidance to current information technology (IT) accessibility program plans. These are enforceable under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 and 508 (Section 504, Section 508).

University of Washington provides a good summary of resolution agreements and lawsuits within the education industry. Items brought up in those resolution agreements and lawsuits:

  • Accessibility audit and corrective action strategy
  • Policy
  • Training and education
  • Procurement
  • Websites
  • Learning management systems
  • Classroom technologies (podiums, display equipment, and "clickers")
  • Banks and ATMs
  • Grievance procedure
  • Captioning
  • Ownership of accessibility

Comprehensive lists of legal cases

Given the thousands of legal cases, there is no single, fully comprehensive list. These links go to more publicized legal cases or those that set certain precedents.

Recent legal cases in higher education

  • Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) - 2023 May 26
    • Population affected: Visual
    • Items of concern
      • procurement/use of accessible course materials and accessible software
      • accommodation policies and procedures
      • alternative course material procedures
    • Known costs to university: $240,000 in compensatory damages to two students
  • City University of New York (CUNY) - US DOJ, 2023 April 12
    • Population affected: Visual
    • Items of concern
      • accommodation policies and procedures
      • procurement/use of online learning product
      • alternative accessible textbooks and other course materials
    • Agreement:
      • systemwide policies to improve digital accessibility
      • training of faculty and staff
      • effective reasonable accommodation and complaint procedures
      • adoption of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
      • accessibility review of IT procured/used
    • Known costs to university: $10,000 in compensatory damages to the student

Guidance from the US DOJ