In 2006, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) sued Target Corporation alleging that the retailer’s website was inaccessible to the blind, in violation of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and various California statutes. Target eventually settled the case for US$9.7 million. The Target case presents an interesting dilemma to private sector healthcare providers. What corporate strategy is appropriate in the case of web accessibility? US Federal and state laws do not specifically require a private company to make its website accessible to customers with disabilities. However, the adverse media exposure from a private class action suit by a disability group can significantly damage a company’s reputation for corporate social responsibility (CSR).
We develop a model of corporate web accessibility behavior based on literature linking CSR activities to corporate financial performance. We test its use within the healthcare industry focusing on private-sector companies that deliver online healthcare information. We compare our sample to a group of non-healthcare companies with a reputation for corporate social responsibility for the years before and after the onset of the Target litigation. Results reveal significant differences in the way healthcare corporations choose to address web accessibility.
Frank, Jonathan; Segal, Lydia; and Weismann, Miriam, "Healthcare Web Accessibility: Litigation Avoidance or Strategic Opportunity?" (2010). AMCIS 2010 Proceedings. 461.