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Supreme Court's Domino's denial is big win for disability rights

No matter which part of Milwaukee you live or work in, there's a Domino's Pizza franchise near you. If it feels as if the popular pizza chain is everywhere, it's not an illusion. Domino's has for several years been running ads touting the ease with which you can order its food online.

Not everyone is able to use the company's website or app, however. The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced it would not hear Domino's petition to appeal a decision in a disability discrimination lawsuit that the company must make its site and app accessible to people with disabilities. The high court's denial is widely hailed as a victory for disability rights advocates who argue that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites and other digital platforms.

Three years ago, a blind man named Guillermo Robles filed the lawsuit, claiming that he couldn't order a Domino's pizza because he couldn't see the Domino's website or app, even with screen-reading software.

In his suit, Robles pointed out that Title III of the ADA states that buildings that are open to the public - including restaurants - must be accessible to those with disabilities. He argued that if websites and apps are inaccessible to people with disabilities, they will effectively be locked out of the growing digital economy.

Domino's countered that 1990's ADA was written before the spread of the internet and that the landmark legislation does not apply to nonphysical spaces such as websites and apps. It should be noted that Domino's has also stated that they're not opposed to making their site accessible, but that there are currently no clear federal accessibility standards for them and others to follow.

Last year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that retailers such as Domino's must make their digital platforms accessible to people with disabilities. With its petition to the Supreme Court, Domino's hoped to challenge that decision.

Now Domino's must contend with Robles in a lower court. The company says it's disappointed in the high court's decision, but "we look forward to presenting our case at the trial court."

While the Supreme Court's decision is a big win for disability rights, the fight for equality is far from over. If a Milwaukee employer has discriminated against you on the basis of a disability in hiring, firing, promotion, a request for a reasonable accommodation or wages, contact the law office of Alan C. Olson and Associates.

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