U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Office of the Assistant Attorney General Washington D.C.

20530

Oct 25 1996 The Honorable Vernon J. Ehlers Member, United States House of Representatives 166 Federal Building Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503 Dear Congressman Ehlers: This is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Mrs. Sharon R. Brinks, regarding whether hotels can require deposits for auxiliary aids and services such as assistive listening devices. A hotel is considered a public accommodation and is covered under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Please excuse our delay in responding. The ADA requires public accommodations, including hotels, to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals without disabilities because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services. Specifically, your constituent inquires whether a hotel can require credit card imprints before auxiliary aids such as an assistive listening device would be provided. Section 36.301 of the title III regulations prohibits a public accommodation from imposing a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the cost of measures that are required to provide that individual or group with the nondiscriminatory treatment required by the ADA. It is the Department's view, however, that reasonable, completely refundable, deposits are not prohibited by this section. Requiring deposits is an important means by which an entity can ensure the availability of equipment to meet the cc: Records, chrono, Wodatch, Magagna, Deykes, McDowney,

FOIA:dhj T. 10/4/96 udd\Deykes\Congrls\Ehlers 202-38-0

-2auxiliary aids requirement with future patrons. Therefore, the requirement of a credit card imprint would not be considered an unreasonable deposit. Further discussion of the meaning of surcharges and deposits may be found in the appendix to the enclosed regulation on page 305. For your information, I am enclosing a copy of the title III regulation and the Department's Title III Technical Assistance Manual. I hope this information will be helpful to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely, Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures BRINKS & ASSOCIATES Sharon R. Brinks ATTORNEY AT LAW July 31, 1996

AUG 01 1996

Rep. Vern Ehlers 110 Michigan NW Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Dear Representative Ehlers: I am a Board Member for the Legal Network for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In that capacity, we as a Board try to stay abreast of issues involving communication access throughout the country and to be a resource to various individuals involved with the Americans with Disabilities Act issues, etc.

On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I discovered that two of the hotels, the Sheraton Desert Inn and the Flamingo Hilton, both required credit card imprints before they would permit me to check out an assistive listening device. The normal procedure in place throughout the United States has been to require some sort of a deposit (such as a driver's license) in order to assure that the assistive listening device would be returned. These are the first times that I had encountered a request for a blank credit card commitment by myself in order to obtain the rights due pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act. I am wondering if you could inquire from the EEOC what their position is on this particular point. As I perceive the intent of the act as well as the legislation as drafted, requiring "financial security" is not appropriate. It has the potential to make communication access non-existent for some individuals. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter. Sincerely yours, Allegan 217 Hubbard St. Allegan, MI 49010 PH: (616) 686-0243 FAX: (616)454-3709 BRINKS & ASSOCIATES

Sharon R. Brinks Grand Rapids (Main Office) Riverfront Plaza Building SRB/hms Suite 40, 55 Campau, NW Grand Rapids, MI 49503 PH: (616) 454-5547 TTY: (616) 454-8321 FAX: (616) 454-3709