The Justice Department reached an agreement with Hilton Worldwide Inc. over ADA violations at Hilton Hotels and Major Hotel Chains owned by Hilton.
The Justice Department released a press release on November 9th regarding the agreement:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into an agreement with Hilton Worldwide Inc to settle an Americans with Disabilities Act Title III complaint. Under the agreement, Hilton agreed to provide accessible hotel rooms and to allow people with disabilities to make reservations for accessible rooms over the phone or internet. The agreement applies to all Hilton hotels as well as Hilton-owned brands including Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood Suites, the Waldorf Astoria and Home2Suites. This is the first time DOJ has required a franchisor to certify that all franchised or managed hotels comply with the ADA. It also is the first time DOJ has required a hotel chain to make its online reservations system accessible and to provide on its website current data about accessible features in guest rooms throughout the chain.
Under the agreement:
- All owned and joint venture hotels built after Jan. 26, 1993 will be surveyed and brought into compliance with Department of Justice ADA title III regulations, including dispersing accessible rooms among the various classes of available accommodations, providing accessible rooms with roll-in showers and tub seats, and providing accessible rooms for guests with hearing impairments;
- For franchised and managed hotels built after Jan. 26, 1993, where Hilton enters into a new franchise or management agreement, renews or extends an agreement for more than six months, or agrees to a change of ownership, Hilton will require the owners to survey their hotels for compliance with specified provisions of the ADA, and where necessary, bring their hotels into compliance;
- Hotels constructed in the future will be required to comply with the ADA;
- Specific ADA training will be provided for staff;
- Hilton’s reservations system will be improved so individuals with disabilities can reserve accessible rooms with specific available options and amenities, and have the same opportunity to guarantee a reservation for an accessible room as that offered for any other reservation;
- Hilton will improve the accessibility of its websites;
- Hilton will appoint a national ADA compliance officer responsible for Hilton’s compliance with the ADA and the consent decree;
- Hilton will appoint ADA on-site contact persons at each hotel responsible for resolving ADA-related complaints at the local level; and
- Hilton will pay a civil penalty of $50,000 to the United States.
“The ADA protects the right of people with disabilities to stay in accessible hotel rooms, and to reserve those hotel rooms through the same convenient systems as everyone else,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. “Persons with disabilities who travel for pleasure or business must be able to count on getting the accessible room they reserved, and the hotel must provide the choice of amenities that everyone comes to expect from a major national hotel chain like Hilton.”
The ADA continues to improve conditions for the traveling disability community in Richmond and across the nation.
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