With the recent changes in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance opening up the floodgates for litigation, it is important now more than ever to understand what changes occurred, and how you can protect your firm from the rising tide of lawsuits.
On January 15, 2019, the initial ruling made in the soon-to-be-landmark case Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, Inc, was reversed, now stating that,
“Even though customers primarily accessed the website and app away from Domino’s physical restaurants, the panel stated that the ADA applies to the services of a public accommodation, not services in a place of public accommodation. The panel stated that the website and app connected customers to the goods and services of Domino’s physical restaurants.”
This means that websites and apps connected to a service who were initially governed by ADA Title I—which dealt with accessibility during the employment process—are now also governed by ADA Title III, which,
“prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by covered public accommodations and requires places of public accommodation* and commercial facilities to be designed, constructed, and altered in compliance with the accessibility standards established by this part.”
Already, this new ruling has proved problematic to many, many high-profile businesses and entities, including Target.com, Netflix, Major League Baseball, and even colleges such as Harvard University. It is imperative for lawyers to understand this ruling, and to quickly have their websites in compliance with Title III accessibility requirements** lest their firms face rapidly approaching litigation.
So how can you protect your firm?
Domino’s Pizza faces a very real dilemma, claiming that retooling their websites to comply to ADA Title III could cost up to 3 million per website, due to their pizza-tracking app being coded in a very ridged, unconventional way. This is why it is important to build your website in a way that either already complies, or at the very least, find a solution that converts your website’s functionality without breaking everything in the process.
Userway is one such tool that we highly recommend for it’s ability to save your time, money, and greatly streamlines your website. How does it work? You may have noticed the blue, circular symbol in the top right corner of the page. Userway is a widget that connects to a supported platforms like Shopify or WordPress, and enables accessibility controls, such as text-to-speech, text enlargement, tooltips, keyboard navigation, keyword highlights, high contrast, and many other functionalities.
What makes Userway so unique—and the reason we recommend it above all other solutions—is that it’s all self-contained, it provides these functions without requiring your website’s code to be rewritten. Many companies and firms facing litigation are having to rebuild their websites, apps, and various online tools entirely from scratch, but through Userway, your firm’s website can increase Title III compliance in mere moments.
The best thing to do right is is to of course, learn all you can about ADA Title III compliance, follow it, as it is bound to change numerous times by the beginning of next year as a new standard is created. Many lawyers are already speaking out through Webinars, presentations, and speaking events, and it’s imperative now more than ever to attend these. As until a legal standard is established, your firm could be in danger.
* “Places of Public Accommodation” in this case does include “offices of an accountant or lawyer, and insurance offices”
** A general overview of standardized requirements by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), can be found here.