Extended Stay America, Inc. and subsidiary ESH Hospitality, Inc. are named in a proposed class action lawsuit that claims the companies’ hotels violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because they fail to meet the needs of disabled guests with regard to both room options and amenities.
The case states that the ADA’s 2010 accessibility guidelines require hotels to make a certain number of guest rooms accessible to the disabled. According to the statute, accessible accommodations are to be “dispersed among the various classes of guest rooms” and should offer ADA-protected individuals a choice of “types of guest rooms, number of beds, and other amenities comparable to the choices provided to other guests.” The ADA, according to the case, also requires hotels to provide an approved reservation service that permits individuals with disabilities to independently assess whether the available rooms meet their specific needs and allows such accommodations to be booked “during the same hours and in the same manner as individuals who do not need accessible rooms.”
Despite the defendants’ claims that their “spacious suites are meticulously planned to provide for [guests’] every need,” the complaint alleges that the companies fail to meet the needs of people with disabilities. The case claims that this issue is widespread at Extended Stay America hotels and that accessible guest rooms offer only the most basic options that are not comparable to the choice of rooms and amenities offered to non-disabled guests. From the complaint:
“For example, of the investigated hotels listed above, despite a variety of options offered to guests who do not need an accessible guest room, 20 locations, or approximately 71%, only offer accessible guest rooms with a single queen-size bed; 2 locations, or approximately 1%, offer accessible guest rooms with two queen-size beds; 5 locations, or approximately 18%, offer accessible guest rooms with a king-size bed; and only 6 locations, or approximately 21%, offer two different options, and the remainder only offer one option.”
Furthermore, the lawsuit claims the defendants’ online descriptions of their hotel rooms are too vague in that they include information about generally available features yet lack details on the specific amenities within each room. According to the complaint, this made it difficult for the plaintiff to decide whether the room in question properly accommodated his needs.
The lead plaintiff in the case, a double-leg amputee, reports that he attempted to book a wheelchair-accessible room with a king-sized bed at the defendants’ hotel in Pittsburgh. Upon his arrival, however, he was informed that the only accessible rooms on premises had queen-sized beds despite the ADA requirement that hotels offer disabled patrons multiple options of accessible rooms based on size, number of beds and other factors.
The case claims the aforementioned practices constitute illegal discrimination against those with disabilities. The suit seeks a permanent injunction that would require the defendants to stop their allegedly discriminatory policies, take necessary steps to ensure their hotels and online reservation tools are fully accessible, and allow the plaintiff’s representatives to monitor their hotels to ensure they remain ADA compliant.