Mon, Oct 23, 2017
While the courts are divided on whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites, you should take action now to ensure your credit union’s website is ADA compliant. The Association is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, November 8, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. to offer credit unions guidance. John Bredehoft from Kaufman & Canoles, and Ken Otsuka from CUNA Mutual Group, will discuss what the ADA means for credit unions with a digital presence, as well as how to make sure your website is compliant to avoid legal issues down the road. The webinar will be moderated by E. Andy Keeney, Esq., Kaufman & Canoles and John Bratsakis, CEO, MD|DC Credit Union Association. The webinar will conclude with a legislative update on the issue.
You can register here for the webinar.
Push for Regulatory Guidance
If your credit union has received a letter from a law firm threatening legal action related to ADA compliance of your website, you are not alone. As recently reported by the Credit Union Times, at least nine credit unions have been sued in recent weeks because their websites allegedly violate the ADA, joining more than 100 credit unions in California that have already been sued.
Though the ADA does not specifically address website issues, many courts have interpreted the term “public accommodation” in the act’s Title III to include Internet companies. Clear rules for applying the ADA to websites were shelved in 2010, and the U.S. Department of Justice doesn’t plan on proposing any standards until at least 2018. That leaves credit unions open to lawsuits.
What Can Credit Unions Do To Get Ahead Of Potential Website ADA Violation Claims?
- There are basic guidelines on website accessibility that credit unions should follow to help make their websites more accessible to members and potential members with disabilities:
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, sets out minimum requirements your credit union’s website should follow.
- “Best Practices” Guidelines for Government Websites, found on the ADA website, sets out how the non-discrimination requirements of the ADA apply to government websites.
- A letter to Attorney General Sessions is being circulated to fellow members of Congress by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Ron DeSaintis (R-FL). The letter urges the DOJ to restart the process of issuing regulatory guidance regarding the Internet under Title III of the ADA. The Association is reaching out to the MD and DC delegation for support.
- The leagues and CUNA are urging Congress to expand proposed legislation, which address litigation abuse under the ADA, to include website accessibility.
If your credit union receives or has received a demand from a consumer rights attorney regarding website accessibility, immediately consult your credit union’s legal counsel and CUNA Mutual Group or your bond insurer.