Weighing in on Disability Rights: Can Hotels be Sued After Online Searches?
The United States Supreme Court recently heard arguments from disability activists on whether or not they should be allowed to sue hotels in the event they have encountered an inaccessible online booking process. The case has prompted a larger discussion surrounding the rights of individuals with disabilities and their ability to easily access online services. In this particular case, the disability activists are protesting that they are unable to book a hotel room online due to various accommodations not being available, such as properly sized bathrooms, wide doors, or ramps to accommodate wheelchairs. The Supreme Court justices were reportedly sympathetic towards the argument of the disability activists after hearing the case. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 includes a clause that states discrimination is prohibited against individuals with disabilities in any place of public accommodation. This clause is especially important since the enactment of the ADA and it sets a clear framework for those that are seeking protection based on their disabilities. It is a key provision that ensures that hotels are held to the same standard that other places of public accommodation must meet. The court is expected to make a ruling in the coming months, which will have clear implications for the rights of individuals with disabilities. It is expected that the ruling could potentially expand the Secton of the ADA, providing additional protection for those that face discrimination when they are seeking to access public accommodations. It remains to be seen how this particular case will play out, but it is clear that it has the potential to become a landmark ruling. Regardless of the outcome, the issue of access to online services and the rights of those with disabilities is certainly one that will need to be addressed in the near future.