ADA Compliance: What’s the deal with websites?

Hello, compliance friends! The NAFCU Compliance Team has recently noticed an increase in questions related to potential Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website requirements. Credit unions are always eager to help their members, and we’ve had many credit unions asking about the status of ADA regulations, especially for websites. Today’s blog post is meant to provide a very high-level overview of the statutory framework, rulemaking and enforcement activity, and potential for litigation with regard to ADA website compliance.

How the ADA Applies to Credit Unions

Generally, the ADA is intended “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities” and “to provide clear, strong, consistent enforceable standards” addressing such discrimination. See, 42 U.S.C. § 12101(b). The ADA is a complex, fact-specific area of law, and some states have their own statutes addressing similar issues, so consulting with counsel may be necessary to fully assess ADA legal issues and risks. One way the ADA applies to credit unions is through Title III of the Act, which sets standards for certain “public accommodations.” Public accommodations include banks and other “service establishments,” so these provisions have been interpreted to apply to credit unions. As a result, the ADA requires credit unions to meet standards for “newly constructed or altered places” and has wide-ranging implications that impact how to communicate with persons with disabilities, which ultimately impacts the issue of website accessibility.

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