WASHINGTON—NAFCU, CUNA and CU representatives joined a roundtable this week at the Small Business Administration with the Justice Department (DOJ) at which the associations again called for the department to offer guidance and standards for website accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The roundtable focused on ADA accessibility concerns. NAFCU noted that it has been working to obtain guidance from the DOJ on website accessibility standards for more than a year, and continues to defend credit unions facing meritless lawsuits as a result of ambiguities in the law.
Representatives from the DOJ's Disability Rights Section provided an overview of issues small business face related to ADA requirements. Attendees also had an opportunity to share their experiences on the issues.
“We thank the DOJ for their time and attention today and CUNA, leagues and credit unions were able to directly highlight how ambiguity in the ADA is negatively impacting credit unions and the members they serve,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “As part of our 360-degree advocacy, CUNA has defended credit unions in court, met with members of Congress and worked with the DOJ and other regulators to ensure credit unions aren’t taken advantage of by predatory lawsuits taking advantage of a law that protects the disabled. This meeting is a part of that advocacy, and hopefully is a step toward a solution.”
NAFCU noted that it has engaged with the Justice Department and Congress to provide guidance on this issue. In September, a group of senators – led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to the DOJ urging that it provide clarity on this issue.
‘Clear Guidance’ Needed
In October, NAFCU attended oral arguments for the Department of Labor Federal Credit Union (DOLFCU) held by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The association has filed 16 amicus briefs, including two at the appellate level (one for DOLFCU), in seven different states to support credit unions targeted by ADA website accessibility litigation.
“While NAFCU and its members strongly support the protections of the ADA, (the association) believes that these efforts are best achieved through clear guidance and standards for website compliance, not through meritless and costly lawsuits,” NAFCU stated.