Airbnb Vows to Rid Site of Racism, But Then Forces Clients to Waive Their Rights to Sue in Case of Discrimination

The Chief Executive of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, is making a vow to end racism on their site. Great, right? Well, it comes with a catch.

Brian told the company last year, “We will be revisiting the design of our site from end to end to see how we can create a more inclusive platform.”

And yet, as he says this, he continues to maintain a clause in the user contract forbidding them from suing or forming a class-action. So, who’s keeping the company honest then? Nobody is.

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“Class-action cases have been the only effective way to prove and remedy systemic discrimination because you can’t prove a pattern of behavior with individually filed cases,” Executive Director of New York Law School’s Center for Justice and Democracy Joanne Doroshow told The New York Times.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 5.18.07 PM
Credit: Airbnb

But ask Airbnb and they’ll tell you they don’t have any plans to take out the waiver anytime soon, calling these kinds of waivers “common” in their line of work.

“Airbnb can say it doesn’t condone racism and even has an anti-discrimination policy, but right now that policy doesn’t have teeth if the company is legally insulated from having to comply with the same anti-discrimination laws that real estate brokers must comply with,” Associate professor of law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City Jamila Jefferson-Jones told NYT.

So is Airbnb’s vow to rid the site of discrimination meaningless in the end? We’re not sure, honestly. But if Airbnb’s clients continue to suffer from racism, you can bet that the company will be forced to take action if they want to keep their customers.


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