Equal Rights Center Joins Other Leading Civil Rights Organizations in Civil Rights Testing Related Amicus Effort

August 10, 2023

Yesterday, the ERC joined the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and seven other civil rights organizations to file an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Acheson Hotels, LLC vs Laufer.

From LDF’s press release about the filing, “The case focuses on whether ‘testers’ whose rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are violated by virtue of a hotel’s failure to provide disability accessibility information have standing to challenge that violation of their rights when they do not personally plan to stay at the hotel.” The amicus brief argues that “under longstanding precedent, people who have personally experienced unlawful discrimination suffer dignitary harm that gives them standing to sue in federal court. Further, the brief pushes back on the argument that dignitary harms from discrimination can be ‘self-inflicted,’ and unequivocally argues that the person who discriminates is always the one who inflicts the harm.” Furthermore, the brief emphasizes that “a ‘tester’ seeking to enforce the ADA or any other antidiscrimination statute has standing under Article III to challenge a place of public accommodation’s failure to comply with federal law, as discrimination by its very nature injures the personal dignity of those who experience it.”

The ERC conducts civil rights testing in housing, employment, and public accommodations. ERC Executive Director Kate Scott notes, “Testing is a powerful tool for ensuring civil rights laws are effectively enforced, but it does not come without harm to testers. For decades, the Supreme Court has acknowledged this fact through decisions like Havens, and we hope that the amicus effort we joined alongside partners like LDF will encourage the current court to continue recognizing tester standing under anti-discrimination laws.”

Full press release from LDF about the amicus filing.

Amicus brief.

Docket for Acheson Hotels, LLC vs Laufer.


The ERC is a civil rights organization that identifies and seeks to eliminate unlawful and unfair discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations in its home community of Greater Washington DC and nationwide. The ERC’s core strategy for identifying unlawful and unfair discrimination is civil rights testing. When the ERC identifies discrimination, it seeks to eliminate it through the use of testing data to educate the public and business community, support policy advocacy, conduct compliance testing and training, and, if necessary, take enforcement action. For more information, please visit www.equalrightscenter.org

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