Another month has passed and another round of credit unions are scrambling to deal with demand letters regarding the ADA compliance of their website.
As credit unions large and small from coast to coast have learned, the lack of formal regulation from the Department of Justice has not prevented attorneys from seeking damages on behalf of unnamed clients in their state.
Since making a site ADA compliant takes time – and sometimes requires an entirely new site build – you may be wondering what to do next.
(Note: I am not an attorney and the advice given here is based on my experience with this issue and should not be considered binding legal advice)
- Talk to your website company or find a new company that can either update your current site to bring it up to compliance standards or can build you a new compliant site. Sometimes it is easier and more cost effective to start over than to try and retroactively update a site.
- Add language to your site that directs visually impaired users to call. This won’t guarantee you won’t receive a demand letter but it shows you are proactively working to make your site accessible for all. Make sure the text is on each page and accessible by text readers. This suggestion stems from a step taken after the so-called “Domino’s ruling” which you can read more about here.
- Reach out to your state credit union league for advice. From our experience, leagues nationwide are actively dealing with this issue and ready to help. In fact, many leagues are holding round table discussions and CEO forums to work on strategies for dealing with demand letters.
All of us in the credit union industry want to be inclusive and make our branches, ATMs and websites accessible. The issue isn’t that we don’t want to help visually, cognitively or hearing impaired members and potential members. It is that there is a lot of uncertainty and potential cost in making updates to websites. And without a clearly defined outline of what makes a site compliant, there is uncertainty that changes we make now won’t be enough in the future. For now, the best suggestion is to use what we know about the standards, look to legal precedents set in other industries and move forward in good faith to make the sites accessible to as many people as possible.
If you are looking for a new, ADA compliant website or have questions about updating your existing site, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.