Justice Department Secures Agreement with Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, to Ensure Access for People with Disabilities
The Justice Department today entered into an agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Columbus, Ohio. The department reached the agreement with Badrivishal LLC, which owns and operates the hotel. The agreement requires a series of modifications to provide better access for customers with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs.
The Civil Rights Division launched an investigation after it received a complaint from a couple who claimed that they reserved accessible rooms after being told by hotel staff that the rooms had accessible “roll-in” showers fitted for wheelchairs. Upon arrival during the Thanksgiving holiday, neither of the bathrooms had a roll-in shower and the couple were forced to find a different hotel.
The ADA requires that hotels provide access to individuals with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs. After conducting an architectural assessment, the department alleged that the hotel here failed to comply with the accessibility standards under the ADA and presented barriers for people using wheelchairs. These barriers prevented such individuals from entering showers in the room, safely transferring into beds, enjoying the breakfast offered at the hotel, accessing the front desk and getting from accessible parking into the hotel.
“As the country reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic and people travel with more frequency, people who use wheelchairs should not face barriers at hotels because of their disabilities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to enforcing the rights of people with disabilities so that they may travel worry-free and enjoy access to hotels.”
Under the agreement, the hotel will remove these barriers by modifying parking spaces, building entrances, public restrooms, the front desk, drinking fountains and routes within the hotel to ensure that they are accessible. The hotel will also ensure that its rooms, including bathrooms, that are required and advertised as accessible to people who use wheelchairs are, in fact, accessible. The agreement further requires the hotel’s managers, front desk personnel and reservations staff undergo training regarding the ADA’s requirements to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Finally, the hotel will pay $20,000 in damages to the couple harmed by the discrimination.
People interested in finding out more about the agreement, or the ADA can call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access the ADA website at http://www.ada.gov.