UPDATED APRIL 14, 2021:
A federal appeals court in California has held that the protections of the ADA do not apply to websites. Its ruling also finds that Title III applies to tangible, physical places. It does not apply to intangible places such as a website. The case is: Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., No. 17-13467 (11th Cir. 4/7/2021). Not all the circuits agree with this result, so SCOTUS will eventually have to look at the matter.
October 22, 2019: I have previously reminded business owners that their websites must be ADA compliant in a post titled: “Is Your Website ADA Compliant”. And a recent (non) decision by the U.S. Supreme Court affirms that position.
As a followup to this post, the U.S. Supreme Court recently declined a petition for certiorari in Domino’s Pizza v. Guillermo Robles, letting stand the Ninth Circuit’s decision holding that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applied to websites and mobile applications for businesses with physical locations. In the Domino’s Pizza case a blind customer asserted he could not order a custom pizza from Domino’s website or mobile application, even while using screen reading software. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ADA applied to Domino’s website and mobile application because the ADA mandates that places of public accommodation provide auxiliary aids and services to disabled individuals. The Appeals court stated that “Domino’s website and app facilitate access to the goods and services of a place of public accommodation – Domino’s physical restaurants.”
Now the Supreme Court’s declining to hear the case essentially affirms the holding and subjects Domino’s Pizza for liability for not having its web site ADA compliant.
This means that business owners must make sure that their websites are accessible to the handicapped such as blind persons. Some businesses have already provided the ability to use screen reader software, but that is not a guaranty of accessibility .
There is some good news for business owners. The U.S. Department of Justice has stated that voluntary compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 and the newly implemented WCAG 2.1) is a helpful – though not necessarily decisive – indication of compliance.