News from Northwest ADA Center – Idaho
Closed Captioning in Public Places
When the ADA was signed into law 31 years ago, closed captioning wasn’t even an option. Washington State is moving forward with a law to provide closed captioning on television in places of public accommodation. This new requirement went into effect in July but businesses must be in compliance by October 23, 2021.
Basically, if you have a television on in a public area of a business, you must provide closed captioning. If you have multiple televisions, half must have the closed captioning on.
There is an exception if a person who is visually impaired requests the closed captioning be turned off so they can see the screen better. It can be turned off while the person is present in the business.
There are a number of reasons why having the captions helps. Some soundtracks are just too loud to hear the dialogue, and people with ADHD can process better with captions. For best results the closed captioning should be white text in a black background as this is more easily readable.
First, you must see if the television is able to display closed captioning. If it isn’t, make a note in case someone makes a complaint. You may find it time to upgrade to a TV that is able to display closed captioning before October.
There is a fine of $75 that the WA State Human Rights Commission can issue if the business fails to turn them on within 30 days of the complaint.
This is just good business. Who hasn’t enjoyed being able to read the captions when a venue is too noisy to hear the audio? For more information you can see the guidance on the website of the WA State Human Rights Commission.
For more information about the ADA contact:
Dana Gover, MPA, and ACTCP Certification, ADA Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator
For more information about ADA Technical Assistance visit the NW ADA Center Idaho website: nwadacenter.org/idaho
Phone: Voice and Text 208-841-9422
Idaho Relay Service: 7