Being “Polite” Does Not Ensure Access

DREDF The Blog,, August 18, 2023

On October 4, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Acheson Hotels LLC v. Laufer, a case that will decide whether testers – disabled people who investigate compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – can sue businesses for discrimination when their rights under that law are violated.

DREDF filed a brief in support of Deborah Laufer, the disabled person who discovered that the hotel run by Acheson Hotels was out of compliance with the ADA. You can read DREDF’s brief here.

The hotel and its supporters argue that businesses are willing to comply with ADA requirements and do so voluntarily. All a disabled person has to do if they encounter an inadvertent barrier is ask that it be removed.


Acheson Hotels told the Supreme Court that “a simple phone call reminding a hotel owner of its obligations” is better and more effective than a lawsuit. “A polite phone call or email will frequently be more effective at persuading” a business to comply with the law, Acheson said. Its supporters the Retail Litigation Center and National Retail Federation similarly told the Court that businesses are “willing to make changes” to comply with the ADA and access issues can be resolved with a “quick” or “simple phone call.”


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