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Course description

Congress has repeatedly exerted pressure on the DOJ to issue digital accessibility regulations. For example, in June 2018, 103 members of the House of Representatives asked the DOJ to “provide guidance and clarity with regard to website accessibility under the … [Americans with Disabilities Act] ADA.” Likewise, in its 2019 Appropriations bill, the House Appropriations Committee included a provision directing “the Department to clarify standards for website accessibility requirements pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act in fiscal year 2019."

While Congress is applying pressure to the DOJ, the federal courts continue to face an influx of ADA lawsuits targeting banks and credit unions. Although district courts have disagreed about whether the ADA applies to websites and mobile applications, proponents argue that these digital platforms are "places of public accommodation" and, therefore, cannot discriminate against individuals on the basis of disability. Without explicit regulatory guidance from the DOJ, lawyers are empowered to freely interpret the ADA, which means they will continue filing claims alleging website accessibility discrimination.

Rather than waiting for the DOJ to clarify standards about digital accessibility, prudent banks are taking precautionary measures to ensure that their websites and mobile applications are accessible to individuals with disabilities, which also helps fend off website discrimination allegations from greedy plaintiffs' attorneys. 

In this webinar, you will discover strategies to make your website and mobile apps more accessible and mitigate legal risks. We will review the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which are widely acknowledged to be a good benchmark for measuring website accessibility. By fulfilling the WCAG, your bank's website can work to accommodate the needs of a wide range of people with various disabilities. We will examine other ADA website-compliance strategies, including the merits of: posting an online notice to inform visitors that your bank is in the process of updating its website to ensure accessibility and usability by differently-abled people; enlisting focus groups to test your pages for ease of use; and, analyzing alternative accessible ways for the public to use your bank's programs and services. 

You will learn how to conduct a self-audit of your website and apps for ADA compliance. We will discuss various insurance policies, and emphasize the importance of reviewing your policy to ensure there are no terms that bar coverage for an ADA website claim. Questions you'll need to ask include: Do You Have an Employment Practices Liability Policy and/or a Media Liability Policy? If so, do these Policies Extend Coverage to Third-Parties? 

We will examine case law, pending litigation, and open questions of law. For example, even though the DOJ stated that a 24/7 staffed telephone line could provide a compliant alternative to an accessible website, courts have allowed cases to move forward on this issue; further, there has been no decision addressing the viability of having a 24/7 telephone option in lieu of an accessible website! If gray areas and conflicting judicial decisions make you nervous, then this webinar will alleviate (at least some of) your anxiety. That's because we will take a hard look at these unresolved legal issues, and create a "best practices" action plan for your bank to implement in order to combat open questions and conflicting case law.

After attending this session, you will be better prepared – either internally or with the assistance of a website developer – to improve the accessibility of your website and mobile applications, while simultaneously fighting off demand letters and litigation.

Covered Topics

  • ADA Legislative and Regulatory Action 

    • Overview of ADA
    • ADA Title III and Accessibility of Websites & Mobile Applications 
      • How Websites & Phone Apps Qualify as "Places of Public Accommodation"
      • Examples of Non-Compliant Web Content 
    • Recent Actions by the DOJ, Congress, and State Attorneys General
    • Case Law, including Robles v. Domino's
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0/2.1 AA)
  • Digital Accessibility - Demand Letters, Litigation, & Open Legal Questions
    • Case Law & Pending Lawsuits
    • Open Questions of Law
    • How to Prevent Being Targeted by Plaintiffs
  • Conduct a Self-Audit of Your Website for ADA Compliance
    • Identify Potential ADA Violations Based On "Access Barries" on Your Website(s) & Apps 
  • Action Plan For Providing an Accessible Website
    • Meet WCAG Standards (Appropriate Benchmark for ADA Compliance) & Consider Adopting Options, Including:
      • Text Alternatives. (Using large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.) 
      • Pre-recorded Audio-only or Video-only Content
      • Color Distinctions by Separating the Foreground from the Background
    • Insurance Policies.
    • Online Policy Posting About Accessibility
    • Focus Group Testing
    • Alternative Access for Programs & Services


Carly Souther

Carly Souther is General Counsel and COO at iTrain OnDemand (iTod), where she provides guidance on legal and compliance issues for clients in the U.S. financial industry. She formerly served as Chief of Regulation at ECigIntelligence and was the Assistant General Counsel at Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration. Carly has published on a wide range of issues in both legal and medical journals, including the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy and the University of Iowa's Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems. She is a member of the Florida Bar, and holds an M.A. from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; a J.D. from the Florida State University College of Law; and a B.A. from Mercer University.

Course curriculum

  • 1


    • Access Webinar

  • 2


    • Demand Letter

    • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

    • Slides

    • Questions and Answers