Disability Rights Coalition Announces Hotel Boycott

In light of a recent decision by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to postpone implementation of the new pool lift regulations until Jan. 31, 2013, the American Association of People with Disabilities, The National Disability Rights Network, the National Council on Independent Living and ADAPT have banded together to protest the matter.

The initial protest calls for a boycott of properties represented on the boards of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)  and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) – two groups that lobbied heavily for the postponement of the regulations. Hotels and hotel chains represented on these boards include Kimpton and Radisson, as well as many other national hotel chains and several smaller, independent hotels. Next week, the boycott will escalate to a much broader range of hotels and hotel chains, which will be accompanied by an online public awareness campaign

Although the regulations that require pool lifts were released over two years ago, the hotel industry requested a clarification about fixed and portable lifts earlier this year. When the DOJ confirmed that fixed lifts would be required — to allows guests maximum  independence — the AHLA began to actively protest the rules. Subsequently they lobbied to DOJ to change the wording in the regulations to let properties use portable pool lifts. The DOJ responded by again emphasizing that fixed lifts would be required, but later postponed the implementation of the pool loft regulations.

And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the disability community.

Let’s face it, it’s silly to have another delay. Supporters of the delay claim that pool lift manufacturers won’t be able to keep up with the demand, and properties will be penalized for something they can’t control. Nothing could be further from the truth, as if pool lifts aren’t available, then compliance at that time would not be seen as readily achievable by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In any case, the disability coalition plans to put some pressure on the hotel industry, and with some broad support it could definitely hit them square in the pocketbook.

Stay tuned, with the upcoming anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I have a feeling that more announcements will be forthcoming.