Home News New Jersey hotel hosting disability conference lacked wheelchair-accessible bathrooms

New Jersey hotel hosting disability conference lacked wheelchair-accessible bathrooms

The Crowne Plaza Edison hotel is accused of violating the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by failing to provide wheelchair-accessible bathrooms during a conference for people with disabilities, including spina bifida.

“Prior to the conference, representatives of the Spina Bifida Resource Network notified hotel staff that the conference would be attended by several dozen people with wheelchairs,” the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office said in a statement on Wednesday. “On the day of the conference, the lone wheelchair-accessible restroom on the first floor of the hotel was under renovation and unavailable to conference attendees.”

According to Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, prosecutors found just cause to pursue two complaints against the hotel, filed by attendees of the conference. It’s unclear when the conference took place.

Event attendees allege the other bathrooms available to them were equipped with stalls too narrow to accommodate wheelchairs. In order to relieve themselves, conference-goers said they ultimately had to be escorted to private hotel rooms on other floors — many of which were unavailable because they were occupied by Crowne Plaza Edison guests.

“It’s shocking to imagine that a venue hosting a conference for disability advocates would fail to provide an adequate wheelchair-accessible restroom to the attendees,” AG Platkin said.

The issue now goes to conciliation, giving the hotel and the complainants an opportunity to negotiate a voluntary resolution, the AG’s office said. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, a deputy attorney general will be appointed to prosecute the matter.

Neither the hotel nor the Spina Bifida Resource Network could be reached for comment.

The CDC describes spina bifida as a condition affecting the spine, which causes “physical and intellectual disabilities that range from mild to severe.”


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