Removing Barriers Blog

Letter to DOJ Outlines Recommendations to Ameliorate Website Accessibility Litigation Threats
Posted November 10,2017 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA sent a letter following a meeting with Assistant Attorney General John Gore, outlining 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, they 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. 

  • Additionally, 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, we ask that it provide immediate clarification that the DoJ ANPR is inapplicable and no court should rely on its content.  

  • Furthermore, 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. 

The letter told the DoJ that 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. We will continue to push for this.