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In order to develop a 'world-class anti-discrimination policy,' Airbnb recently hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. This move follows rather coincidentally after the company became tangled up in a lawsuit alleging discrimination by hosts against guests based on their sex or ethnicity.
Users will have to get ready to read through new terms of service agreements put out by the more beefed up Airbnb after the company has come under fire for some PR pummeling stories about discrimination by hosts. Hosts will now have to sign that they have read and will comply with the company's new anti-discrimination policies.
Airbnb's head blogged recently that the problem of discrimination (with emphasis on racism) is the "greatest challenge [AIRbnb] face[s] as a company," and pledged that the issue would not be addressed simply by doing "the least required for liability and PR purposes."
It looks like Airbnb is throwing some muscle behind the rhetoric. On top of hiring Holder, the company has also drawn man-power from the ACLU to address inter-company discriminatory behavior. Employees are already being outfitted with responsibilities simply focused on "detect[ing[ and address[ing]" discrimination in all of its forms.
Hosts are potentially liable for discrimination against potential guests in their home, so, to take a cynical tone, they had best watch their language. In a recent incident, a transgender woman was denied a room with the suggestion that her gender placed the mother on edge. "I really appreciate your honesty. I'll have to pass though, but thank you. I have a 13 year old boy going through puberty. I don't want him to feel any discomforts in his own home."
Given this type of incident, it's no wonder Airbnb has taken ambitious measures to update its policies.
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