We’ve all been watching closely for the Domino’s verdict, and it’s finally in. Despite Domino’s challenging the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling about whether or not the ADA applies to a business’ website, the Supreme Court upheld the initial decision. This lawsuit has been hotly debated because Domino’s pushed back.
The decision was several years in the making, as Guillermo Robles sued Domino’s back in 2016. Robles, who is blind, alleged that he wasn’t able to order a pizza using the pizza chain’s mobile application as well as their website. If you have ever used Domino’s online platforms to order pizza, then you know that there are many buttons to click, options to select, and a wide range of choices to make. We at UserWay have not assessed the 2016 version of Domino’s website, but apparently the pizza builder part of Domino’s digital offerings were not compatible with screen reader software.
While many businesses agree that digital accessibility is necessary, they also have concerns about enforcing compliance through litigation. The fear is that if anyone can sue based on regulations that are not clear-cut, then accessibility lawsuits might become commonplace. However, without strict regulations, achieving compliance is likely not going to happen.
Domino’s disagreed with the idea that a potential patron should be able to sue them based on accessibility, “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,’ wrote Washington lawyer Lisa S. Blatt, who represents Domino’s,” Robert Barnes for the Washington Post. This stance was a very controversial one, leaving many to wonder why Domino’s was taking such a public stand on the topic.
Hopefully, this will act as an even bigger incentive for websites to overhaul their inaccessible features. We will watch to see if it does, in fact, cause a spike in lawsuits as some businesses fear. The best pathway to creating a fully accessible internet is still being debated, but for the time being, lawsuits of this type will be permitted. It remains to be seen what this will do to Domino’s public image.
If you’re interested in learning more about the case, here are a few links that might help: