Removing Barriers Blog

CUNA Continues to Advocate for Protection Against Frivolous ADA Class Action Litigation
Posted December 21, 2017 by CUNA Advocacy

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.  

Following a meeting with DoJ Assistant Attorney General John Gore, CUNA outlined steps the DoJ should take to limit litigation threats to credit unions for website accessibility under the cover of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  

The letter noted that if credit unions were approached with ways to increase access to any product or service for members with disabilities, they would take appropriate steps necessary to address those concerns. However, as discussed in the meeting, credit unions have instead been barraged with demand letters immediately threatening litigation brought under the ADA that targets highly technical alleged violations, based on unclear requirements for compliance.   

CUNA asked for the following relief:  

  • It would be helpful for credit unions to have clear rules for which they must comply.   
  • It is also essential to know if the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 is the required standard as some courts have held, and if credit unions must come into compliance with any new WGAC, including likely changes in 2018.  
  • Credit unions need clarity about whether websites are in fact considered a public accommodation since there has been conflicting case law on this issue.  
  • If the DoJ is unable to finalize its regulation, it should provide immediate clarification that the DoJ ANPR is inapplicable and no court should rely on its content.   
  • Through other less formal guidance than a regulation, the DoJ could go further to provide credit unions and other businesses and financial service providers with much needed clarity about their stance on this issue.
  • Credit unions' concerns with ADA lawsuit abuse surrounding website accessibility could be greatly ameliorated if the DoJ provided more clarity about whether there are specific requirements.  

CUNA is also reviewing opportunities to engage in legal advocacy efforts on this issue. Credit unions should continue to review CUNA’s compliance resources surrounding ADA compliance. 

WCAG 2.0 – A, AA or AAA? (11/3/17) 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (10/16/17) 

ADA Accessibility: Common Problems & Solutions (2/8/17)