November 01, 2017

NAFCU advances ADA issues on the Hill

NAFCU's Allyson Browning met yesterday with Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, to further discuss legislative action to address the rise of frivolous lawsuits stemming from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Many credit unions have been targeted by trial attorneys with litigation related to ADA website compliance.

Browning, NAFCU's associate director of legislative affairs, thanked Poe for his ongoing efforts to address this issue and reiterated NAFCU's support of his bill – the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620). If passed, the bill would set conditions for filing civil actions over the failure to remove an architectural barrier to an existing public place, among other things.

Although the legislation only applies to physical location compliance, NAFCU has been working with Poe on further efforts to also cover website compliance. The House Judiciary Committee cleared the bill in September, and NAFCU recently sent a letter to the committee urging members to support additional legislation to clarify the ADA's website access requirements.

"This legislation provides businesses a timeframe to fix alleged infractions before a lawsuit can proceed, so that the access and accommodation needs of consumers with disabilities are met before trial attorneys have a chance to benefit," NAFCU stated in the letter. "We would support legislative efforts to address frivolous lawsuits for virtual barriers as well."

The association also continues to monitor the Department of Justice's approach to the ADA – NAFCU commented on its rulemaking efforts related to "public accommodations" last year – but the issue is not currently on the DOJ's formal regulatory agenda.

NAFCU has many resources related to ADA compliance available to credit unions:

  • Today is the final day to register with early-bird savings for NAFCU's Nov. 9 webcast, "Mitigating Risk: Recent Developments in ADA Accessibility Compliance for Credit Unions."
  • In the past month, NAFCU Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt and Vice President of Regulatory Compliance Brandy Bruyere have reached out to credit unions facing litigation to offer some options other credit unions have taken when faced with similar lawsuits.
  • Bruyere also covered the issue in the association's compliance publication in March to try to help member credit unions identify the risks involved so they could make informed business decisions. The article is now available on NAFCU's website to both members and nonmembers.