Hilton agrees to make hotel rooms accessible, pay fine

By Reuters
Posted Nov. 9, 2010 at 12:38 p.m.

Hilton Worldwide Inc. agreed to settle charges that it violated requirements that its hotels be accessible to people with disabilities and agreed to bring them into compliance, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

The settlement covers about 900 hotels in the United States built after Jan. 26, 1993, including those owned as part of franchises, and Hilton will also pay a $50,000 civil penalty, the department said.

“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,” said Thomas Perez, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

Hilton was accused of failing to provide accessible rooms to those with disabilities despite reservations and did not have the required number of accessible rooms, the Justice Department said.

The hotel chain also failed to provide those with disabilities the ability to reserve accessible rooms online or through telephone reservation systems.

The hotel chain agreed to review all of the hotels it owns outright or in joint ventures built after January 1993 for compliance with the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act.

Hilton agreed to bring into compliance any of those hotels that were not, including ensuring that accessible rooms have roll-in showers and tubs as well as providing accessible rooms to those who have impaired hearing.

For hotels that are franchise-owned or managed, when those agreements are renewed Hilton agreed to require the owners to survey the properties for compliance with the Disabilities Act’s requirements.

“Hilton Worldwide is pleased to take further steps to provide our guests with disabilities the accessibility in accommodations they expect from an industry leader,” Christopher Nassetta, Hilton Worldwide president and chief executive, said in a statement.

The company also agreed to build future hotels in compliance with the 1990 law and regulations.

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