The Missouri Human Rights Act provides that after an investigation where the Executive Director finds Probable Cause that discrimination has occurred, and after the case is not resolved in the conciliation process, the Chairperson may set the case for hearing before the Administrative Hearings Commission (AHC). An administrative judge (Commissioner) with the AHC serves as hearing examiner to hear the case and make a recommended finding after hearing all of the evidence from both parties. A panel of three MCHR commissioners makes the final finding.
Recent Hearing Panel Orders of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights are listed below.
11/1/2021 State of Missouri ex rel. Roger L. Middleton vs. Combs Hospitality, Inc. d/b/a Radisson Hotel Branson and Kendal Combs, Principal
Mr. Middleton, a person with a disability who uses a wheelchair for mobility. Mr. Middleton alleged that the Radisson and Combs failed to reasonably accommodate his disability at their place of public accommodation. In particular the Middleton’s reserved a hotel room in advance via phone, with a roll in shower to accommodate Middleton’s disability. When they arrived at hotel they were asked if they had a wheelchair accessible room with a roll in shower and were told yes. When they got to the room there was a two inch lip on the shower and was not roll-in shower. When Middleton went back to the front desk to complain they state the hotel clerk was dismissive and rude. Because the room wouldn’t accommodate Middleton’s disability, the Middleton’s spent the next hour looking for other nearby hotels that could accommodate them, but none were located. They went back to the Radisson to discuss options to find a hotel room. The hotel manager found them something but not as nice and farther away from the attractions and shows and much older.
On November 1, 2021, the hearing panel determined Respondents violated section 213.065 RSMo. And, therefore, shall take necessary measures to retrofit at least four of its guest rooms to be equipped with a roll-in shower to accommodate guests with disabilities who require a roll-in shower. Respondents shall complete the retrofitting of these rooms within one year of the date of this order. Respondents shall provide proof of the retrofit to the MHRC. Such proof shall be in the form of a notarized affidavit attesting to the completion of the four rooms’ retrofit in accordance with all applicable laws. Respondent shall develop an ongoing training program to ensure that their employees accurately communicate with the public about what types of accessibility it offers for those with disabilities, including those requiring a wheelchair. Including training on the requirements of the ADA and the MHRA for all current staff and new employees who will be taking reservations for working the front desk and/or supervising. The Respondents pay $5000 to Middleton as a result of the actual damage he incurred due to the suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, and inconvenience caused when they were not provided accommodations guaranteed under the MHRA.