Undue Burden Exemption from Section 508
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Now, there are exceptions. When doesn't it apply? Well, first of all you have to look at this financial situation called undue burden. Now you may remember, those of you who have contact is that when they did the telecom accessibility stuff, they lowered the standard for compliance to readily achievable. That meant industry had to do it if it was not a significant expense or inconvenience. 508 uses a much higher bar, and that is undue burden, which is a significant burden on the unit that is wanting to purchase the item. If this, well let's say CUDA, the center, wanted to buy something and a 508 product was going to be outrageously expensive, well, unfortunately, they can't say, I don't think they can, I don't know what the problem is, we have the whole Cal State budget from the whole state to pull from. We know that's not practical generally, that everybody has their own budget and where this came up of course was the defense department because there is an exception, that when technology is part of a military system, I'm paraphrasing, or a cryptological system, or is involved with the management of people in battle, that those products are 508 exempt. It also says that non-combat related, such as administrative office, payroll, that doesn't have to be, that is not exempt. The idea of something that is, what we say, ancillary to the contract, that is, when you have equipment that is ancillary to the product, that means that it is not part of the deliverable, it is something the contractor is using in their office and it never gets delivered to the purchasing agency, then that product does not have to, under the law, meet 508.
Can you give an example?
Sure, I'm hired to develop a whiz-bang website for maybe some section of the university down here, and I'm a private contractor. So, I go out, get a couple of guys and good, smart women and we pick out the computers we want and I have some people who are really great in graphics and they like to drag and drop everything they see, and their computers are really a disaster as far as accessibility. Makes no difference. What they deliver to the purchasing agency must meet 508, not the equipment they use to make it.