On August 2, 2016, San Francisco Federal Credit Union based in San Francisco (“Credit Union”) and Disability Rights Advocates based in Berkeley (“DRA”) announced a precedent-setting settlement agreement which resolved threatened claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) and the California Unruh Act. Q2 Software, Inc. (“Q2”), based in Austin, Texas, a digital banking services leader, was also a party to the agreement.
Joseph & Cohen, San Francisco, CA, acted as outside counsel for the Credit Union. Pursuant to the agreement, the Credit Union and Q2 agreed to work together with DRA to ensure that the Credit Union’s website, online banking services and mobile apps are accessible to people who are blind or have vision disabilities.
The parties agreed upon a remediation plan which is expected to be implemented in several phases through 2019 by conforming to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 AA (“WCAG 2.0 AA”) standards published by the World Wide Web Consortium, better known as W3C. The WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility guidelines are available at www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/.
These accessibility standards ensure that blind people can use websites and online banking services. Many blind and low vision individuals use assistive software called screen readers to navigate digital content on computers and mobile phones. The software converts screen text into audible speech or digital braille, and once website and online banking applications have been coded properly, the Credit Union’s website, online banking services, and mobile apps will be accessible to individuals with vision disabilities.
Jonathan D. Joseph and Jonathan Cohen represented San Francisco Federal Credit and were responsible for negotiating and settling the matter.
For additional information, links to the initial Press Release and Settlement Agreement are below:
Press Release: San Francisco Federal Credit Union Leads the Way to Transform Online Banking to Better Serve Customers with Vision Disabilities
Settlement Agreement: Mediation Settlement Agreement and Release
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