Corporate Employment Law Issues Update: Princeton University Must Agree to Make Electronic Book Readers Fully Accessible to Visually Impaired
Apr 21, 2010
By Maria Elena Abate, Shareholder
Capitol to Courthouse Corporate Employment Law Update
The U.S. Department of Justice agreed to cease an investigation of Princeton University (“University”) for an alleged violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 though the classroom use of the Kindle DX, a hand-held electronic book reader that is not accessible to students with visual impairments.
The initial complaints were filed by the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind with the Department of Justice on behalf of the organizations and their members who are current and prospective college students.
In a letter to Princeton, the Department of Justice agreed to close its investigation if the University agrees to certain actions, including:
- The University will not require, purchase, or incorporate in its curriculum the Kindle DX or any other dedicated electronic book reader for use by students in its classes or other coursework unless or until such electronic book reader is fully accessible to individuals with visual impairments.
- The phrase “other dedicated electronic book reader” means any wireless, hand-held, electronic book reader that has been or will in the future be produced or offered by Amazon.com or any other corporation, such as but not limited to the Barnes and Noble nook, the Sony PRS-600, PRS-700, PRS 505 or upcoming Sony Daily Edition, and others.
- Princeton University agrees that its commitments will, take effect on the date following the last day of the pilot project with Amazon.com, Inc., which will terminate no later than the conclusion of the fall 2009 semester and will remain in effect through June 30, 2012.
- As a reasonable modification, the University may provide its students with visual impairments with a dedicated electronic book reader that ensures that individuals who are blind or have low vision are able to access and acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as sighted individuals with substantially equivalent ease of use.
To view the complete Department of Justice letter, click here.