If the issue of digital accessibility is on your radar, you may be closely following the now-infamous Domino’s digital accessibility case. If not, let’s get you up to speed…
Three years ago, Guillermo Robles, who is blind, filed suit against Domino’s claiming its website and mobile app are not accessible to those who rely on a screen reader to navigate online content. Robles claims inaccessible online content equates to a violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADA Title III is a regulation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations. Today, many courts are interpreting “places of public accommodations” to include the Internet – arguably the world’s largest infrastructure.
After years of arguments and appeals, Domino’s petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case after the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in favor of Mr. Robles, back in January. And, just this week, the Supreme Court denied Domino’s petition.
So what does this mean for digital accessibility?
This affirms the Ninth Circuit’s decision, which held that the “alleged inaccessibility of Domino’s website and app impedes access to the goods and services of its physical pizza franchises—which are places of public accommodation.”
What does this mean for you, a business owner with a website?
Here’s what we know:
The rule of law can be confusing. While the ADA doesn’t explicitly mention the Internet, overwhelmingly, courts are ruling in favor of accessibility. And plaintiffs are suing by the thousands. In 2018, there were more than 2,250 digital accessibility lawsuits filed, nearly triple the number from 2017.
2019 is shaping up to exceed that number. The majority of defendants are online retailers, but no industry is immune. In fact, lawsuits aimed at specific industry vertical, such as the automotive industry and restaurants, have skyrocketed. The tsunami of legal activity is likely only gaining strength given the Domino’s case development.
By denying Domino’s petition to hear whether its website is required to be accessible, the Supreme Court is essentially maintaining what has been the status quo, which, we believe, means more lawsuits for the foreseeable future.
Lawsuits are costly and time consuming. Let’s work together to avoid risk. But most importantly, let’s support individuals of all abilities to ensure they can fully interact with your online information, purchase your products and utilize your services – without barrier.
It’s AudioEye’s belief that failure to provide unimpeded access to online information is like failure to provide ramps and rails at your physical location. That’s why we’ve committed to eradicating digital access barriers. All digital access barriers. Period.
To get started, find out if your site is compliant by requesting our free site accessibility analysis. We’ll work with you on a customized digital accessibility solution that’s best for your business… and your customers.