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a "reasonable accommodation" question

a "reasonable accommodation" question

Old Nov 27, 2013, 11:51 am
  #1  
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a "reasonable accommodation" question

We travel with liquid prescription medication which must be refrigerated. Our favorite chain of hotels has recently started charging $10/night extra for an in-room fridge, which formerly had been free. Considering how many nights/year we spend (or used to spend...) in this chain, I'm thinking of contacting their HQ and phrasing my question on fridge charges as an ADA accommodation, i.e. getting the charge waived.

Do you think that is reasonable?
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Old Nov 27, 2013, 5:56 pm
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"Reasonable accommodation", as used in the ADA, is related to employment (i.e., Title I), not Title III, which is the portion of the ADA that covers non-discrimination in public accommodations like hotels.

That said, I wouldn't hesitate to point the problem out to the property and ask them to comp you the fridge.
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Old Nov 27, 2013, 7:08 pm
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Stay away from legalisms because you are wrong and any property knows exactly what it's obligated to do, e.g., wheelchair ramps and so on.

That said, it doesn't hurt to simply say, "all I'm doing is storing medication, is there a chance you could discount that a bit." Maybe they comp it, maybe they knock it down to $5. Whatever they do, thank them.
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Old Nov 27, 2013, 8:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Katja
"Reasonable accommodation", as used in the ADA, is related to employment (i.e., Title I), not Title III, which is the portion of the ADA that covers non-discrimination in public accommodations like hotels.
The phrase also appears in Title III - I've checked - and in a substantial amount of case law relating to the ADA, housing, lodging and access to public facilities which I read prior to asking this question. It appears in documents sent to me by the Justice Department in response to specific questions relating to public facilities. It is also commonly used in IDEA documents. In general it appears to mean "accommodate a customer with a disability without a significant change in the nature of the business or undue expense" and that is, of course, a paraphrase, not a cut and paste of a literal definition.

Originally Posted by Often1
Stay away from legalisms because you are wrong and any property knows exactly what it's obligated to do, e.g., wheelchair ramps and so on.
Wanna take bets on that? My personal experience is that many businesses haven't a clue what their obligations are, especially if you're dealing with the evening desk clerk at a mid-range hotel. That's why I carry certain letters from the Justice Department with me on trips. The supplemental charge for the fridge is a new question, and one I might just ask them next week, after the holiday, seeing as I'm not getting a fact based answer here.

Originally Posted by Often1
That said, it doesn't hurt to simply say, "all I'm doing is storing medication, is there a chance you could discount that a bit." Maybe they comp it, maybe they knock it down to $5. Whatever they do, thank them.
Gee, I really needed to be reminded to say thank you.
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Old Nov 29, 2013, 12:11 pm
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler
We travel with liquid prescription medication which must be refrigerated. Our favorite chain of hotels has recently started charging $10/night extra for an in-room fridge, which formerly had been free. Considering how many nights/year we spend (or used to spend...) in this chain, I'm thinking of contacting their HQ and phrasing my question on fridge charges as an ADA accommodation, i.e. getting the charge waived.

Do you think that is reasonable?
I'm not sure. However, it would not hurt to ask.
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Old Dec 1, 2013, 10:59 am
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My understanding of the ADA Title III Requirement is the Hotel is only required to make available to you the same service as it provides to all it's other guest without additional charge. Since the Hotel is charging able-bodied persons to pay the $10, they can charge the disabled person $10. Much the same as your room. Everyone pays for their room, and they cannot charge extra to a person with disabilities. Having said this, I've gotten Hilton Hotels to waive the Refrigerator fee before.

ADA Title III Technical Assistance Manual. Section III-3.0000 General Requirements
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Old Dec 31, 2013, 1:19 am
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I have medical reasons to need a fridge in my room for medications.
I have had, with few exceptions, all of the rooms that I stayed in that did not have a fridge comp the fridge when it had to be placed in the room at the IGH hotels in their chain. I also had Fairmont Hotels, Best Western, and many others comp the fridge also.
For that kind of room reservation when I am booking I will put a note under the special request " Refrigerator for medical reasons".
I will then call the hotel in the morning before I check in to confirm that a fridge will be in my room.
I ask if there will be a charge. If I am told there will be, I remind them it is for medical reasons. If I am still being charged, I will ask to talk to a manager and this usually quickly resolves it and I am not charged.
I must mention that am in the IHG Rewards Club, have Platinum Elite status and have been for many years, so I do believe that helps with this issue in their chain. I am also a member of quite a few other programs.
I would recommend joining the loyalty program of the chains you stay so that a hotel staff member or manager can see in their computer that you are a loyalty member when they look up your reservation and check in.
I would call the hotel ahead of time to arrange the fridge, just the way you would confirm the details of a reservation. In some hotels there are only a few fridges, so I would make sure you explain it's for medical reasons so that they have one set aside for your needs.
Politely letting the hotel know what you need and why.
Perhaps you could call and check on a hotel's fridge in the room policy prior to making a reservation. Also make a few calls to see if other hotels in the area you need to be would consider comping the fridge based on your need before you book so there are no misunderstandings.
I don't think making ADA demands for a blanket " no charge" request to their corporate offices is a good idea.
With the ADA for most things, if the accommodation legally has to be made, the person requesting it still has to pay for the accommodation or modification, such as is the case of rental housing and shower bars being affixed to the wall.
Hotels and their staff will be very happy to be helpful, they just need to know what you need and have enough time to accommodate the request.

Last edited by Suite Disposition; Jan 4, 2014 at 3:34 am
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Old Dec 31, 2013, 1:45 am
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It's a tricky question. "Reasonable" is one of those words that should never be used in legislation. It is entirely subjective.
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Old Feb 20, 2014, 6:33 pm
  #9  
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Follow-up to original question

OP here.

I've hesitated to come back and post a follow-up because the replies to my initial question were less than helpful bordering on downright rude, but I thought I would do so to help those with a similar concern.

I contacted Guest Services via the corporate website with my question regarding getting the charge for the fridge for medication waived and they could not have been more helpful. Yes, they considered that such a request constituted reasonable accommodation, and corporate contacted the property and set it up with them. [They also put a microwave in the room, although that was not part of my request.] I'm sure it didn't hurt that we have status with this chain most years, but the Guest Services rep was extremely helpful and pleasant to deal with.

Once at the property we received excellent service from check-in to check-out, even though we were 45 minutes late leaving because the cat would not come out from inside the box spring. At least once a day the manager checked with us to make sure we had what we needed.

So making a polite request to corporate for help with a medical issue worked out very well for us.
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Old Feb 21, 2014, 10:12 am
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler
OP here.

I've hesitated to come back and post a follow-up because the replies to my initial question were less than helpful bordering on downright rude, but I thought I would do so to help those with a similar concern.

I contacted Guest Services via the corporate website with my question regarding getting the charge for the fridge for medication waived and they could not have been more helpful. Yes, they considered that such a request constituted reasonable accommodation, and corporate contacted the property and set it up with them. [They also put a microwave in the room, although that was not part of my request.] I'm sure it didn't hurt that we have status with this chain most years, but the Guest Services rep was extremely helpful and pleasant to deal with.

Once at the property we received excellent service from check-in to check-out, even though we were 45 minutes late leaving because the cat would not come out from inside the box spring. At least once a day the manager checked with us to make sure we had what we needed.

So making a polite request to corporate for help with a medical issue worked out very well for us.
Thank you for reporting back. Glad it worked out for you.
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Old Feb 22, 2014, 3:40 pm
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That's great! Glad they did what they could for you.
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