EFFECTIVE DATE: 12/18/19
AUTHORITY: Southwest Health and Human Services Joint Governing Board
— Web Accessibility and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 —
Section 1 – Purpose
- The purpose of this policy is to assure that as a government agency that all members of the public have access to public information. Visitors, customers, and employees have the right to obtain agency information and services as independently and conveniently as possible. Southwest Health and Human Services (SWHHS) will strive always to provide its services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We pledge to develop and maintain access to SWHHS Web pages and services so that they are accessible.
Section 2 – Policy Statement
- SWHHS will ensure, whenever possible, that all Electronic and Information Technology (“EIT”) products and services it develops, purchases, maintains, or uses are accessible to individuals with disabilities by complying with the U.S. Access Board’s Section 508 EIT Accessibility Standards (36 C.F.R. pt. 1194), unless it is an undue burden to do so. If accessibility would constitute an “undue burden”, the information and data shall be provided by an alternate method or format within a reasonable time [typically within 1-3 business days] after a request is made. In addition, data classified as private or non-public or confidential or protected non-public is also not required to be made Section 508 compliant.
- This policy does not apply to documents created prior to December 18, 2019.
Section 3 – Associated Laws and Regulations
- This policy is based upon requirements set forth in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C 794d), as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-220) and Minnesota Statutes Section 363A.42, as subsequently amended and interpreted, which apply to federal, state and local government entities to ensure that any EIT they develop, procure, use or maintain is accessible to both (1) government employees and (2) members of the public with disabilities.
- In addition, Minnesota law states that the “records” the Agency is obligated to make Section 508 compliant are “any publicly available information that is collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated…” by the Agency, “regardless of physical form or storage”. This is understood to include but is not limited to web pages, government documents in paper or electronic form, audio for which a transcript could be provided, and video which could be modified to contain closed captioning”.
Section 4 – Authority, Roles, Responsibilities and Related Information
- Section 508 conformance and accessibility is a responsibility of all employees. Also, contractors or potential contractors providing information to the County are responsible to ensure that their data will be available in a Section 508 compatible format.
- With the guidance of the state’s Compliance Standards, we are making progress toward our commitment. We are continually monitoring pages and documents on our website and making necessary modifications to remove accessibility obstacles.