The restrictions placed on indoor occupancy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have forced businesses to think creatively in order to stay open.
Businesses across all sectors have turned to technology in adapting to their respective locality’s regulations, including implementing remote work, holding meetings through videoconference, and offering online methods of commerce.
One sector that had to be especially creative is the restaurant and eatery sector, a sector that relies heavily on in-person dining. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants that implemented robust online resources, such as easy online or mobile ordering, have seen a significant uptick in customer engagement.
Not only is this because most restaurants are limited when it comes to indoor dining options during the pandemic, but also because demand for delivery and takeout services has skyrocketed due to more individuals working and entertaining more at home. Therefore, the restaurants that have seen the most success are those that increased their digital presence.
However, restaurants have not gone unscathed by doing this. Rather, by offering more ways to access their services online, restaurants have opened themselves up to potential liability under federal and state access discrimination laws.
In this article we discuss how litigants have expanded the scope of their access discrimination lawsuits to now include website accessibility and how courts determine which websites are subject to these laws.
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Alden Parker is the managing partner of the firm's Sacramento office and the co-chair of the Hospitality Industry Group. Alden represents employers in all facets of employment law matters. He has considerable experience defending employers in litigation involving claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California’s wage and hour laws, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Alden has also defended employers against whistleblowing and retaliation claims, including claims under the California Whistleblower Act and various provisions of the California Labor Code.
Alden has extensive experience defending employers in federal and state court, as well as in investigations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), United States Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).