Suppose a hotelfor a meeting does not include an Americans with Disabilities Act clause. Either the meeting planner or the hotel may say, “That's OK. We don't need an ADA clause because it's the law anyway, and compliance is required with or without a clause in the contract.” True, but omitting this important clause from a contract is not good business practice, and here's why.
Although Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to any public accommodation including hotels (and often to meetings themselves) regardless of contract language, it is still a good idea to include an ADA clause that specifies the responsibilities of both the hotel and the meeting planner including:
- the readily achievable removal of physical barriers;
- the provision of auxiliary aids and services;
- the modification of policies, practices, and procedures; and
- cooperation in identifying and accommodating attendees with disabilities.
An example of when omitting this clause could be problematic is when a hotel is not legally required to meet the ADA accessibility standards (for example, a hotel built prior to the enactment date of the ADA or a historic hotel not required to meet full compliance guidelines). Including this clause in contract negotiations will at least prompt an important discussion of hotel features that may pose physical barriers to attendees with disabilities, and will allow the parties to customize the clause and the services with full knowledge of the limitations.
Tyra W. Hilliard, J.D., CMP (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an associate professor of meeting and event management at The University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
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