Website Liability Under US Accessibility Laws

Handouts Media

Presented at 3:30pm in Westminster II on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.



  • Ken Nakata, Director of Accessibility Consulting Practice, Cyxtera

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Do you understand how disability laws affect websites? This presentation reviews the most important accessibility laws for US-based organizations and universities and offer approaches to avoid serious fines and penalties. We will also introduce the roles of enforcement agencies and private litigants—and steps to take to avoid their scrutiny.


If you are new to web accessibility or a seasoned veteran, understanding important civil rights laws like the American Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 and 508, and California’s Unruh Act is vital. But the tapestry of evolving Federal, State and industry-specific laws can be confusing. Join Ken Nakata, a former Senior Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice who spearheaded the Department’s efforts in web and IT accessibility for a discusses that covers topics such as: 1. Changing accessibility laws like Section 504, 508, ADA Title III and California Unruh Act 2. How DOJ and private litigants have interpreted applying accessibility laws to the internet 3. How enforcement agencies and private litigants differ in what they tend to look for— and how to stay off their radar. 4. What it means for a website to be “accessible” NOTE: As this is a foundational presentation, audience members will benefit most from having this session early in the overall conference program.


  1. Understand how different accessibility laws work.
  2. Understand which accessibility laws apply to my organization.
  3. Understand how to avoid liability for our organization’s website.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Legal, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Ken Nakata

Ken Nakata is an attorney in the area of IT accessibility and works as the Director of Accessibility Practices for Cyxtera. His work focuses on web and software accessibility from both a legal and technical perspective. He also helps organizations manage the change towards accessibility in all aspects-including crafting policies, developing stakeholder ownership, and forging awareness and commitment to the legal and business case supporting accessibility.

Ken worked for twelve years as a Senior Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. He has argued on behalf of the United States government many times before the federal courts and has helped shape the government’s policies for the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. In addition to litigation, he also helped developed many of the Department’s policies, including Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities available at and which reflects the Department’s current view towards ADA compliance for state and local government websites. Ken is a frequent speaker on both law and technology and is equally adept at conducting one-on-one workshops with programmers and developers as well as explaining law and policy to large audiences.