As credit unions continue to receive demand letters threatening class action litigation concerning website accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, CUNA remains engaged with Congress and the Department of Justice (DoJ) to seek relief on this issue. CUNA and CUNA Mutual Group have been working closely to update credit unions on information regarding ADA Web Compliance lawsuits after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has rescinded two Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) related to website accessibility under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applicable to state and local governments and under Title III applicable to private businesses open to the public.
The result has been frivolous lawsuits affecting credit unions. Next week, CUNA will meet with senior counsel of the House Judiciary Committee to again discuss how to curtail such suits. CUNA also plans to have a breakout session at this year’s GAC to help credit union understand the steps they need to take to avoid these lawsuits.
In 2010, the DOJ issued the proposal concerning how the ADA applies to website accessibility. Since this regulation was considered but never finalized, credit unions and other businesses are seeing a drastic increase in frivolous demand letters alleging claims of failure to comply with the ADA. The lack of clarity has also allowed courts to take liberties in their interpretations of required standards for website accessibility. Just over the past week, credit unions have seen predatory litigation in this area skyrocket.
In reference to its decision to withdraw the rule, the DOJ stated that it is, “evaluating whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of Web information and services is necessary and appropriate. Such an evaluation will be informed by additional review of data and further analysis. The Department will continue to assess whether specific technical standards are necessary and appropriate to assist covered entities with complying with the ADA.”
CUNA appreciates the DOJ’s stated willingness to further examine and analyze this issue, something we have been asking them to do for several months. Notably, a lack of clarity on this issue remains and credit unions should continue to review CUNA’s compliance resources.
The LSCU will keep you updated as more as learned. CUNA offers several posts about Advocacy efforts here.