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NJ Hotel Faces Legal Action for Failing to Accommodate Spina Bifida Guests


By: Richard L. Smith 

The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR), led by Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, has issued Findings of Probable Cause against the Crowne Plaza Edison hotel for violating the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD).AdThe charges stem from the hotel's failure to provide accessible public restrooms during a conference for individuals with spina bifida and other disabilities, hosted by the non-profit Spina Bifida Resource Network.

The complaints arose from two individuals who attended the conference and highlighted the hotel's lack of reasonable accommodations for many attendees who use wheelchairs, directly impacting their equal access to the hotel’s restroom facilities.

Despite prior notifications from the Spina Bifida Resource Network about the needs of their attendees, the hotel did not make a wheelchair-accessible restroom available on the first floor where the conference was held.

On the conference day, the only accessible restroom on that floor was under renovation and not available to attendees.

DCR’s investigation further revealed that the hotel's proposed solution—redirecting attendees to use a restroom that was not accessible for wheelchair users or to locked private guest rooms on other floors—did not constitute reasonable accommodation.

This arrangement infringed upon the rights of the conference attendees to equal access to the hotel’s facilities and did not prove to be an undue hardship for the hotel's operations.AdAttorney General Platkin emphasized the inadmissibility of denying individuals with disabilities equal access to facilities, especially in a setting meant to advocate for their rights.

DCR Director Sundeep Iyer reiterated the commitment to holding entities accountable for such barriers that prevent equal access for people with disabilities.

The issuance of Findings of Probable Cause is not a final judgment but indicates that DCR’s preliminary investigation found enough evidence to suspect a violation of the LAD.AdThe case now moves towards conciliation to attempt a voluntary resolution or, failing that, prosecution through legal channels.