Guillermo Robles, who is blind, said that he was not able to successfully order a pizza from Domino’s website or mobile app because of his disability.
So, Robles sued.
And Domino’s is not the only major retailer to be called out for not being disability-friendly. Beyoncé’s website has been targeted and so have art galleries in New York. Approximately 2,250 federal suits asserting Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) violations based on website inaccessibility were filed in 2018, nearly triple the number from the year before, according to Domino’s.
To make a point, the National Retail Federation told the Supreme Court that its own website doesn’t comply with industry standards, either. The federation ran supremecourt.gov through a free online resource that applies Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) developed by private parties and found “19 ‘known problems’ and 411 “potential problems” for disabled people.
Instead of trying to understand how to better serve disabled customers, Domino’s is fighting back and it has some powerful allies, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the nation’s largest retailers, according to The Washington Post.
Domino’s wants the case to go to the Supreme Court so it can decide whether the ADA applies equally to the Internet in the way that it does to the physical landscape.
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Domino’s excuse is that when the ADA was first written, websites were just starting out.
The ADA “says nothing about the accessibility of websites or applications on smartphones, whether standing alone or in connection with restaurants, stores, or any other brick-and-mortar establishments that qualify as public accommodations… When Congress passed the ADA in 1990, websites were in their infancy, and apps did not yet exist,” wrote Washington lawyer Lisa S. Blatt, who represents Domino’s.
But earlier this year, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit disagreed with Domino’s.
“At least since 1996, Domino’s has been on notice that its online offerings must effectively communicate with its disabled customers and facilitate ‘full and equal enjoyment’ of Domino’s goods and services,” Circuit Judge John B. Owens wrote.
“While we understand why Domino’s wants DOJ to issue specific guidelines for website and app accessibility, the Constitution only requires that Domino’s receive fair notice of its legal duties, not a blueprint for compliance with its statutory obligations.”