Lawsuit Alert- Hotels Renting to Minors

In recent days, CH&LA and AAHOA members in California have been receiving demand letters for refusing to rent to unaccompanied minors. The person at the center of these claims (Jonathan Asselin-Normand) is continuing his long-running campaign against California hoteliers.

This time the complainant seems to be targeting properties through third party online booking sites. In most cases, a demand letter is accompanied by a draft lawsuit. Please be on the lookout for mail or an email from this person.

Both the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit blanket policies denying accommodations to people solely because they are unaccompanied minors. Violations can result in monetary damages and the payment of attorneys' fees.

Here are some things you can do to protect your business:

  • Ensure your policies comply with California law and do not have a clause against accommodating unaccompanied minors.
  • Audit your website to make sure it does not include any age restrictions.
  • Ensure staff is properly trained to handle calls and walk-ins about accepting unaccompanied minors.
  • Check with your OTAs to see what they say about your hotel's policies involving minors and children, and ensure they comply with the law.
  • Check with your Brands to see what their policies are involving minors and children, and ensure they comply with the law.
  • Consider utilizing a written form with a responsible party acknowledging their liability for the minor. 

Please contact CH&LA's Member Legal Advisor Jim Abrams at jim@calodging.com with any questions.