Web Accessibility

Legislation in Washington

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Illustration of the profile of the state of Washington with accessibility and compliance graphics

An Overview of Legislation in Washington

Washington State IT Accessibility Policy 188 is a state-wide web accessibility policy intended to ensure equal access to IT information and data for people with disabilities. Modeled after Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, it establishes the expectation for state agencies that people with disabilities have access to and use of information and data and be provided access to the same services and content that is available to persons without disabilities.

Exemptions to Policy 188 do exist; For example, in instances where providing direct access would not be possible due to technical or legal limitations.


The information in this article is made available by Acquia Inc. and/or its subsidiaries and affiliates and is for informational purposes only so as to provide its customers with a general understanding of current legal developments. It should not be construed as providing specific legal advice, and you acknowledge that no attorney/client relationship exists between you or any third party and Acquia Inc. and/or its subsidiaries and affiliates. This article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed lawyer in your jurisdiction.

What You Need To Know About Web Accessibility in Washington

  • What are the requirements related to Policy 188?

    The minimum level of compliance referenced in Policy 188 is Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. This standard applies to all Washington state offices, who must be Section 508 compliant both internally and externally. The same standard applies to Washington colleges and universities, who must take steps to ensure that all eLearning content is designed inclusively.

  • Who do Policy 188’s requirements apply to?

    Policy 188 applies to all technology procured, developed, maintained, and used state agencies. Exceptions are made on rare occasions, for example if meeting accessibility standards would create an undue burden on the agency.

  • What are the penalties for non-conformance with Policy 188?

    It is important to note that compliance with Policy 188 does not relieve agencies from their responsibility to otherwise comply with state and federal law, including but not limited to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disability Act.

    As such, non compliant websites can potentially face fines of up to $55,000 for the first violation and $110,000 for each subsequent violation. Those who receive Federal funding could also have those funds revoked for being in non-compliance.

A Few Landmark Cases in Washington


United States

Viers V. Cinetopia, LLC

On April 25, 2019, a Complaint in Washington Federal court was filed against Cinetopia LLC alleging that www.amctheatres.com is not accessible.

More on the Case

United States

Sullivan V. Walker Construction

In 2019 a New York plaintiff brought an ADA class action suit against the Washington based construction company.

More on the Case

United States

ADA Lawsuits and Disability Rights Washington

Ongoing legal challenges in the state continue to press for further legislation accusing local government bodies of ADA violations.

More on the Case

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