Today, the Supreme Court declares that all restaurants and stores MUST make their businesses accessible PWDs online. The move includes transforming every store’s online outlets convenient to PWDs and cater to all types of people.
In recent innovations, it has been deemed that with the rapid development of technology, we cannot leave people with disabilities behind, and technology has to innovate along with them. This was displayed in a case where the Supreme Court denied a petition from pizza giant Domino’s on Monday to hear whether its website is required to be accessible to the disabled, leaving in place a lower court decision against the company.
The lower court decision being referred to is a case between a blind man who filed a lawsuit against Domino’s because he cannot place an online order.
Guillermo Robles, the blind plaintiff, filed a suit in Los Angeles three years ago complaining that he can’t order pizza online because the Domino’s website lacked the software that would allow him to communicate. Robles cited the Americans With Disabilities Act, which guarantees to persons with a disability “full and equal enjoyment of the goods and services … of any place of public accommodations.”
Domino’s, on the other hand, refuted that the law was valid only for their physical outlets and should not include their website.
The justices, in siding with the plaintiff, turned down the appeal from Domino’s and let stand a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling holding that the ADA protects access not just to restaurants and stores but also to the websites and apps of those businesses.
“The ADA mandates that places of public accommodation, like Domino’s, provide auxiliary aids and services to make visual materials available to individuals who are blind,” the appeals court said in January.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and business groups that said they represented 500,000 restaurants and 300,000 businesses joined in an appeal urging the high court to review the 9th Circuit’s decision. They complained that the ADA does not apply to online platforms that were not envisioned when the law was passed in 1990. Also, the group said that there are currently no clear rules that exist for how to make their platforms properly accessible.
The high court, in steadfast, continued to refuse to give comment or dissent on Monday but said it would not hear the case of Domino’s Pizza vs. Robles.
Overall, the decision not to hear the case is a loss for the company and a win for disability advocates, who have argued that if businesses do not have to maintain accessible sites, disabled people could be effectively shut out of substantial portions of the economy.
Joseph R. Manning Jr., a Newport Beach lawyer who represented Robles, said the high court made “the right call in all levels, There can be no debate that the blind and visually impaired require accessible websites and mobile apps to function on an equal footing in the modern world.”
Mark Whitley, president of Easterseals Southern California, praised the high court for “supporting the values … the ADA was built upon.”
Domino’s and the National Retail Federation issued statements saying they were disappointed in the court’s refusal to hear the case.
“We look forward to presenting our case at the trial court. We also remain steadfast in our belief in the need for federal standards for everyone to follow in making their websites and mobile apps accessible,” Domino’s said its statement.