Businesses with Televisions: Did you know?

Beginning July 25, 2021, any person owning or managing a place of public accommodation with a closed-captioned television in a public area must activate the closed captioned programming. Senate Bill 5027 requires limits language option displays to the language of the audio program, or the default option where a TV displays only one language. Language display must be in white text color with a black background and in a style and size that is readable to people with low vision.


Exemptions apply for television sets that are incapable of displaying closed captioning or where the place of public accommodation is otherwise exempt under state or federal law.

Closed captioning may be deactivated at the request of a person who has a visual impairment.

Limited exemptions are authorized for up to 50 percent of TVs in public areas where the TVs clearly display they do not have volume or are on mute.


Violators are subject to fines up to $75 and up to $150 for subsequent violations. Written notice of the violation must be provided, and a violator must be given an opportunity to cure the violation prior to being subject to a fine. If the person demonstrates compliance with the requirement within 30 days of delivery of the notice, the initial violation must be dismissed.

A violation of this law is a violation of WLAD. The Human Rights Commission must prepare an educational pamphlet advising employers and employees of their duty and liability. The pamphlet should be available online. Employers must provide employees with training on this law.

Contact Althauser Rayan Abbarno in Centralia or Olympia

Althauser Rayan Abbarno has been representing businesses for more than 75 years. To consult with an Althauser Rayan Abbarno attorney in Centralia or Olympia, call (360) 736-1301 or visit