[Athen] Section 508 Refresh - Now In Effect?

S A. Marositz SAMAROSITZ at pasadena.edu
Tue Mar 21 13:00:46 PDT 2017

Hi All

The recent case against LACCD got me thinking, what reason would an individual not first file a complaint with The Office of Civil Rights before fileing a suit?

Stephen Alexander Marositz J.D.
Assistive Technology Specialist, Pasadena City College
Phone: (626) 585-7242

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of steve.noble at louisville.edu
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 12:18 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Section 508 Refresh - Now In Effect?

I would suspect the link to 508-related lawsuits in a post-secondary setting would be either through:

(1) Suits brought under state law (only a few states, like Kentucky, have these) which mandate compliance with Section 508 and give individuals the right to sue state-supported institutions for injunctive relief; or

(2) Breach-of-contract suits brought by institutions against vendors who certified their products as compliant with Section 508, when the product was later found to be non-compliant.

A suit brought against a university by an individual with a disability concerning inaccessible technology would normally be constructed around the ADA and Section 504, although it would be expected that part of the evidence provided would be lack of compliance with "generally accepted" accessibility standards, such as WCAG and Section 508.

--Steve Noble
steve.noble at louisville.edu<mailto:steve.noble at louisville.edu>

From: athen-list [athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] on behalf of Jennifer Sutton [jsuttondc at gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 1:51 PM
To: chagnon at pubcom.com<mailto:chagnon at pubcom.com>; Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] Section 508 Refresh - Now In Effect?

Perhaps some of you who know 508 (both new and old) better than I do can clarify this for me. But I'm a little concerned at the mention of "lawsuits" below, especially since there's already plenty of fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the higher ed. space, due to lawsuits . . .

Are there really likely to be 508-related lawsuits? As I understood things, it would take a *long* time for anything 508-related to turn into a lawsuit. Mostly, they're complaints that people with disabilities must file, and then, the Federal agency (or other institution, if it falls under 508) must take action, etc. In other words, I don't think 508 functions like filing something against a company or institution that turns into a DoJ agreement (if the organization doesn't take satisfactory action, of course).

I hope this is clear, and that someone else can clarify further. I'm not saying 508 isn't important; I'm just not so sure it's going to result in a deluge of lawsuits beginning in 2018.

Does anybody have a list of the lawsuits that have happened under the old 508? I'd be interested to see it.



On 3/21/2017 9:31 AM, Chagnon | PubCom wrote:
Yes, Sec. 508 goes into effect today, March 21.
It becomes enforceable on January 18, 2018.

Translation: All ICT (information communication technology) published from January 18 and forward must be compliant. The lawsuits will begin on January 18, 2018. You have 9 months to get your act together.

See: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/03/02/2017-04059/information-and-communication-technology-ict-standards-and-guidelines<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.federalregister.gov_documents_2017_03_02_2017-2D04059_information-2Dand-2Dcommunication-2Dtechnology-2Dict-2Dstandards-2Dand-2Dguidelines&d=AwMDaQ&c=SgMrq23dbjbGX6e0ZsSHgEZX6A4IAf1SO3AJ2bNrHlk&r=4WMck1ZVLo4tV0IVllcBNKXCSGU6lUERtx_4HD4DqmE&m=e9GPfqS2Zsu_QJYY04S9snLxbUSmbvQLtAfEdSpdTpk&s=YIu1Q4jJX8fSzT3gDVpnytVRJDPTGj_oD1qiULIAkj0&e=>

Quoted from the Federal Register:
The effective date of the final rule published on January 18, 2017 at 82 FR 5790 is delayed to March 21, 2017. However, compliance with the section 508-based standards is not required until January 18, 2018, which is one year after the final rule's original publication date. Compliance with the section 255-based guidelines is not required until the guidelines are adopted by the Federal Communications Commission. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the final rule published on January 18, 2017 at 82 FR 5790 is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of March 21, 2017."

If you are a US-based institution, then yes, Sec. 508 is the law you must follow.

However, understand the difference between laws and standards.

This law does not define the standards for accessibility for some ICT but does for others:

* For websites, digital media, and documents like Word and PDFs, the law "includes by reference" the international accessibility standards WCAG 2.0 and PDF/UA-1.
* For Sec. 255 technologies, especially telecom, cell phones, kiosks, and software, it defines the standards but they are currently delayed.

We recommend that our clients follow WCAG 2.0 for all website information.

Document-based ICT, including PDFs that are posted on websites, is more accessible if you follow PDF/UA (PDF Universal Accessibility) guidelines as the WCAG guidelines really don't work for PDFs. PDF and HTML technologies are not the same. A recent blog explains the differences between these two technologies and standards: http://www.pubcom.com/blog/2017-01-03/wcag-pdf-standards.html<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.pubcom.com_blog_2017-2D01-2D03_wcag-2Dpdf-2Dstandards.html&d=AwMDaQ&c=SgMrq23dbjbGX6e0ZsSHgEZX6A4IAf1SO3AJ2bNrHlk&r=4WMck1ZVLo4tV0IVllcBNKXCSGU6lUERtx_4HD4DqmE&m=e9GPfqS2Zsu_QJYY04S9snLxbUSmbvQLtAfEdSpdTpk&s=NPqurNazLb_fysGkqFrOQENUn4R6ERsFmybcQ6jzIo8&e=>

--Bevi Chagnon

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Kressin, Lori L. (llk2t)
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 11:52 AM
To: ATHEN <athen-list at u.washington.edu><mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Section 508 Refresh - Now In Effect?

Good morning all,

Here we are on March 21, 2017. Does that mean that the refresh of Section 508 is now in effect?

I have not heard anything to contrary, but I certainly could have missed something.

What is the general thought - is this the standard that you and your institution will now follow?

Thanks for your input,


Lori Kressin
Coordinator of Academic Accessibility
Office of the Executive VP and Provost * Univ. of Virginia
102 Cresap Rd * POB 400199 * Charlottesville, VA * 22903
[434] 982-5784


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