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Below is an exclusive peek inside an article from our January 2018 issue. This article is on ADA Compliance, a very hot topic right now. We thought it would be helpful in clearing up all the fog surrounding this issue.
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ADA Website ANPR Rescission
We’ve been hearing a lot lately about lawsuits citing credit unions for non-compliance with website accessibility guidelines. Plaintiffs have claimed that credit union websites are public places that are subject to ADA accessibility rules, but it’s never been clear that that’s the case. In 2010, the Department of Justice (DoJ) issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) relating to website accessibility and concerns about how the ADA applies. That ANPR has been the basis for the flurry of lawsuits. But there has never been any real agreement on whether the public accommodations provisions apply or, if they do, what standards are necessary.
The national credit union trade associations have been pushing, on your behalf, for a final rule with clearly stated guidelines. Instead, the DoJ has decided to rescind the ANPR. They will continue to assess whether specific technical standards are necessary, and may introduce regulations sometime in the future. But don’t count on that any time soon. In the meantime, we recommend credit unions continue to make reasonable accommodations whenever possible. As we know from recent experience, a regulation isn’t necessary for someone to file a lawsuit. You can be sued any time for anything. But it will be harder for folks to make a case that your website is discriminatory now that the ANPR has been taken off the table.