The Supreme Court has rejected Domino’s appeal in a landmark ADA website compliance case. The decision could set a precedent and have widespread effects on any business or organization that operates a website in the United States, as they would be required to satisfy reasonable accommodations for website accessibility.
The ADA was signed into law in 1990 and requires that all businesses serving as “places of public accommodation” must remove any barriers to access for people with disabilities and other physical impairments. Under the ADA, places of public accommodation include restaurants, theaters, retail stores and now increasingly, websites.
The Domino’s case hinged on a blind man, Guillermo Robles, who sued Domino’s Pizza for their website Dominos.com not being accessible via his disability user software. His suit has followed several thousand others over the past two years, some of which have ended up in federal court with the bench deciding that corporations and even private educational sources are required to satisfy basic accessibility standards on their sites.
The significance of the court defeat is difficult to overstate. Even though case law is relatively new, it is clear that a wave of lawsuits is coming and at this time there is no requirement for individuals to notify businesses they intend to sue of any accessibility issues they are encountering. Currently, the onus is on the website owner to provide an accessible site.
Both website owners and developers are recommended to work with a WCAG compliance consulting firm to update their website and related web apps to accessibility standards. Although there is no legal definition for web accessibility, federal courts have determined a certain level of WCAG compliance is an industry best practice and is the best defense for any business or website to dodge potential compliance problems, while also increasing their website’s visibility to more users worldwide.
Xivic provides both a guide for developers and business owners on the risks and solutions for ADA compliance and WCAG accessibility upgrades, both at the full turnkey development suite level and also with general consulting and guidance, including auditing tools for planning and scoping of projects. Contact us ASAP with any questions you may have regarding your site’s accessibility.