Luxury New York Hotel Ordered to Pay $42,000 in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

NEW YORK CITY – Library Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel in New York City, has been ordered to pay $42,000 to a former front desk employee in a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The lawsuit alleged that the hotel denied the employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation for their disability, which made it difficult for them to stand for long periods of time. Instead of granting the request, the hotel offered alternative accommodations that the EEOC deemed insufficient. As a result, the employee was forced to resign due to the deterioration of their physical health.

The lawsuit argued that Library Hotel’s actions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from failing to reasonably accommodate qualifying disabilities, unless it causes undue hardship. After attempting to reach a settlement through conciliation, the EEOC filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In addition to the monetary relief for the employee, the consent decree also includes provisions to ensure that Library Hotel does not enforce a “standing only” policy against employees with disabilities who are unable to stand for their entire work shift. The decree requires the hotel to revise and reissue its ADA accommodations policy, provide training on the ADA for management and employees, issue annual messages on equal employment opportunity policies, include EEO language on its career page and employment application, provide periodic reports to the EEOC, and post EEOC notices in the workplace.

EEOC Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein emphasized the importance of this case as a warning to employers, stating that a company’s internal policy does not override its obligations under the ADA. Yaw Gyebi Jr., director of the EEOC’s New York District Office, urged the hotel industry to pay attention, highlighting that inflexible employment policies that disregard the ADA’s reasonable accommodation mandate likely violate federal law.

The New York office of the EEOC is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administering enforcement, and conducting litigation in several states including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont.