CUNA wrote in support of legislation Monday that CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle called an important step forward in addressing the threat of litigation under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) was introduced by Reps. Ted Poe. (R-Texas), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Mike Conaway (R-Texas).
CUNA urged the legislators to consider how credit unions are being impacted by frivolous ADA related litigation including a recent rise in the number of demand letters surrounding website accessibility.
“If a business is providing a public accommodation that is not in compliance with the ADA, the first stop should be an aggrieved party identifying the concern with the business, not racing to the courthouse,” Nussle wrote.
CUNA’s support for the bill comes as it pursues guidance relating to the ADA’s application to websites, which has led to lawsuits against many credit unions because of ambiguities surrounding compliance. CUNA and leagues around the country are urging the Department of Justice to address this issue by providing clear compliance standards.
The DOJ issued an Advanced Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking in 2010 to address the topic, but did not complete the rulemaking process.
In his release about the legislation, Rep. Poe states, "The ADA is a critical law that is designed to make American businesses and facilities more accessible to the disabled,” said Congressman Ted Poe. “However, the integrity of this important law is being threatened by those who wish to make a quick buck off the backs of others. The vast majority of small businesses in America strive to serve their customers to the best of their ability – relying on the ADA as another tool to help ensure that customers with disabilities can enjoy the services that they provide."
Nussle’s letter of support for H.R. 620 mentions the 2010 rulemaking, and he called the bill an “important step forward” in addressing litigation threats under the ADA and urges consideration of expanding it to other issues such as website compliance.