The Supreme Court hands a big win to disability advocates
In yesterday’s decision, the Supreme Court declined to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision from earlier this year. In that decision, the Ninth Circuit court held that Domino’s website must be compliant with screen readers, which was a defeat to Domino’s since they argued the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) did not extend to websites.
The ruling now means that Domino’s Pizza must make its website and mobile app accessible to disabled users.
There were two key decisions from the Ninth Circuit’s deliberation on January 15th of this year. The first decision defines a place of public accommodation, and the second covers due process.
Regarding a place of public accommodations, Judge Owens from the Ninth Circuit wrote: “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 accommodations.”
Concerning due process, the court also ruled that imposing liability on Domino’s does not violate the company’s due process rights because of 1. The Americas with Disabilities Act became law in 1990 and 2. The Department of Justices stated in 1996 that the same protection extends to websites.
What does this mean for business?
Any company with a physical location and website is required to be accessible. It is clear that a physical location is a place of public accommodation, and this decision now extends that classification to websites.
A company does not have to receive notice before damages. There have been countless articles demonstrating that a company should have up to 120 days to make fixes before they are held liable. With today’s decision, companies are liable and are not given time to fix violations since the guidelines have been around for over 20 years now.