Senators to Sessions: Resolve Uncertainty Around Websites and ADA

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and five others ask the Attorney General for clarity in an effort to prevent exploitive lawsuits.

9/11/18

Senator Mike Crapo headshot.

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo.

A delegation of U.S. Senators is asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to help resolve uncertainty regarding whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites. Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and five of his Senate colleagues sent a letter to Sessions late last week.

“For nearly 30 years, the ADA has protected countless individuals with disabilities, ensuring physical access to any place of public accommodation,” the senators wrote. “We support the ADA and all that it stands for.”

They added that for the ADA to be effective, its objectives need to be clear. The senators pointed out that it is not currently clear whether the ADA applies to websites. That has left the door open, the senators wrote, for plaintiffs’ lawyers to file hundreds of lawsuits against banks, credit unions, retail stores, and restaurants.

“Businesses would rather invest in making sure they can serve their disabled customers, instead of pay money to avoid a shakedown by trail lawyers who do not have the interests of the disabled at heart,” the letter stated.

In addition to Sen. Crapo, the following Senators signed the letter:

  • Charles Grassley (R-IA)
  • Thom Tillis (R-NC)
  • John Cornyn (R-TX)
  • M. Michael Rounds (R-SD)
  • Joni Ernst (R-IA)

“We appreciate Sen. Crapo and his colleagues for bringing this important matter to Attorney General Sessions’ attention,” said Samantha Beeler, Northwest Credit Union Association AVP, Advocacy. “The uncertainty around website accessibility under the ADA act must be clear so credit unions can comply and best serve their ADA members.” Beeler noted that NWCUA collaborated with CUNA and CUNA Mutual to gain congressional understanding of the issue and support for the letter.